Prof. Leonardo Xavier Biography
Leonardo Xavier is a Brazilian-born American martial artist and a fourth degree black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. A former instructor at the birthplace of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and a multiple time world medalist, he has over 20 years of experience teaching jiu-jitsu at such legendary schools as the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu and Gracie Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He is the only jiu-jitsu professor in the Houston area certified to teach by the original and most traditional jiu-jitsu school in the world, the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, now known as the Gracie Humaitá Academy. Recognized in the martial arts world and the jiu-jitsu community as a world-class authority of the art and one of its most charismatic professors, few people can match his ability to combine his deep technical knowledge with his passion and enthusiasm for teaching.
Professor Xavier, also known as “The Wizard”, (a nickname given to him by the world renowned author and black belt, Kid Peligro) has dedicated his adult life to sharing the core values of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as they were taught to him by the most prominent members of the legendary Gracie family. As the founder and head professor of LX Jiu-Jitsu his mission is to continue the legacy of his instructors by preserving and sharing the principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with the community as a complete self-defense system that can benefit anyone, regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.
Professor Xavier’s lifelong commitment to excellence was recognized when he was promoted to a fourth degree black belt by his mentor and teacher, the legendary Master Rickson Gracie in June 2013, an honor he considers to be the highest of his career.
Black Belt and Professor Diploma Awarded by the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu
The quality of instruction, mentoring and preparation that Professor Xavier received through a lifetime of study has put him amongst a very elite and small group of people that are recognized as being the most qualified and competent instructors of this system of self-defense.
Professor Xavier earned his black belt and completed the prestigious Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Professor certification course under the guidance of his instructors, the legendary Masters Royler and Rolker Gracie, at the Gracie Humaitá Academy, the birth place of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The highly respected professor course was supervised by Grand Master Helio Gracie’s sons to ensure that the quality of jiu-jitsu instruction and the character of the professors at the academy were held to the Grand Master’s highest standards. Grand Master Helio Gracie, the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, believed, as noted in his book Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, that “Good athletes are not necessarily good trainers.” He felt that before a practitioner could even be invited to be an instructor they had to meet the moral and ethical standards expected of a professor at the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu in addition to being an elite practitioner of the art.
From the beginning of Professor Xavier’s journey in the art, he showed great promise as a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. His dedicated work ethic, natural skill, and indomitable fighting spirit caught the attention of his instructors, the legendary Royler Gracie, Rolker Gracie and multiple-time world champion Saulo Ribeiro. Over time, “The Wizard’s” natural ability as a gifted teacher was recognized and he was entrusted with helping to teach the daily classes at Gracie Tijuca as part of the first ever world class competition team and at Gracie Humaitá, the cradle of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He was one of the very first people outside of the Gracie family to be allowed the distinctive and rare honor of being a full time instructor at the Academia Gracie working under Masters Rolker and Royler Gracie, sons of Grand Master Helio Gracie.
After years of being Royler, Rolker and Saulo’s assistant instructor and proving his dedication to the principles and philosophies of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, they awarded Professor Xavier both his Black Belt, in recognition of his technical skills and his Professor Diploma, in recognition of his teaching abilities, in 1999.
Growing up with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Leonardo Xavier was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil into a family of natural athletes. His father was interested in the martial arts and was an accomplished track athlete, cyclist and volleyball player. By his family exposing him to a love of athletic activities, Leo grew up appreciating a healthy lifestyle and was set on a path early in life to pursue the martial arts. Leo was first exposed to Judo at the young age of five, but his life changed forever when a good friend invited him to join a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class when he was 15 years old. Leo enrolled in the school the next day, falling completely in love with every aspect of the sport and the martial spirit behind the teachings of the Gracie Family. From that day forward he dedicated his life to learning, competing, and teaching the art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
While being groomed and mentored to become an instructor, Leo also developed into a world-class competitor representing the famous Gracie Humaitá competition team successfully in various prestigious events. Leo’s many accolades include Multiple-time Medalist at the World Championship or Mundials, Pan-American Champion, 2x Brazilian National Champion and multiple time Rio de Janeiro state champion. “The Wizard’s” success as an active competitor was even more remarkable in light of the fact that his primary commitment was always to be an instructor. Teaching for up to 10 hours per day at the Academia did not leave the young martial artist with much time to prepare for competitions but his technical skill allowed him to compete at the highest levels.
Professor Leonardo Xavier, “The Wizard” Establishes Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Sugar Land, Texas
Professor Xavier was invited to the United States for a series of seminars across several states by a spectator who watched his performance at the 1999 Mundials (World Championship). The spectator soon became a regular student and Professor Xavier eventually transitioned from being a guest-instructor to being permanently based in the United States. During his time traveling for seminars, “The Wizard” had the opportunity to visit many places. One of the places visited included Sugar Land, TX, where he was drawn by the family-friendly environment and active, healthy lifestyle of the area. In 2003 he opened the first and only authentic Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy in Sugar Land, TX with the mission of sharing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with the community. Over a decade later Professor Xavier continues his mission in Sugar Land, where he and his family affectionately call home.
Professor Xavier is committed to providing the highest level of instruction to his students. In addition to continuously working to improve his own technique and teaching methods, he also regularly invites his instructors to teach seminars at the LX Jiu-Jitsu Academy. LX Jiu-Jitsu holds the great honor of being the only school in the state of Texas to ever host a seminar by the legendary Master Rickson Gracie. The academy has also had the honor of hosting seminars by the legendary Masters Royler and Rolker Gracie.
Always striving towards perfection and improved understanding of the art, Professor Xavier regularly travels to learn from Master Rickson and often returns to his roots to train at the Gracie Humaitá Academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- 4th-Degree Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt – promoted by the Legendary Master Rickson Gracie
- Only Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Professor in the Houston area recognized by Masters Rickson, Royler, and Rolker Gracie
- The only certified Professor in the Houston area to receive their black belt and to have completed the prestigious Professor course at the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Gracie Humaitá Academy)
- The only Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Professor in the Houston Area to also serve as an instructor at the Gracie Tijuca and the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Multiple-time World Championship medalist
- 2006 Pan American Champion
- Multiple times Pan American Medalist
- 2 X Time Brazilian National Champion
- Multiple Time Rio de Janeiro State Champion
- Instructor of many International and Pan American Champions
- First and only Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Professor to regularly host Master Rickson Gracie seminars in Texas
- The first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Professor to host Royler Gracie seminars in Texas
- Introduced Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to Sugar Land Police Department as the Ground Survival Tactics Instructor
- 4th degree black belt Professor of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as recognized by the Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation (JJGF)