I began studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2000 at the world famous Renzo Gracie academy in New York City, where I was awarded my blue belt in 2001. While I quickly became enamored with this fascinating martial art, I trained sporadically for the next few years, as I was busy juggling a new family (3 young children!), as well working full time and attending Business School.
In 2006, I received news that Marcelo Garcia, the world famous multiple time BJJ champion was moving to NYC. Marcelo was my favorite BJJ competitor, as I was astonished by his skill and technique- often times defeating people much larger and heavier than him. As soon as he moved to NYC, I immediately participated in one of his first classes. Throughout the class, I could not believe that I shared the mats with Marcelo, as he led the class and participated in the warm ups, drills, and sparring sessions with each of us. Afterall, this was similar to playing 1 on 1 basketball with Michael Jordan (or Lebron James) in his prime!
By late 2006, I received my MBA, and was able to devote more time to practicing BJJ. Because Marcelo had made such a huge impact on me during our initial class, I decided to become a student of his. I received my purple belt on April 22, 2010, my brown belt on January 16, 2015, and my black belt on December 18, 2019. While these belts are a huge honor for me, I am even more delighted to consider Marcelo one of of my closest friends. In addition to his impeccable teaching and skills on the mat, he is an unique example of a humble, kind, and gracious person.
It is my sincere hope that my BJJ academy, the Marcelo Garcia Jiu Jitsu Association of Gainesville, will continue to extend Marcelo’s legacy of world class bjj teaching, as well as being a fun, safe, encouraging, and welcoming place for everyone.