At a very young age, Helio Gracie learned traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques from his older brother, Carlos. In the late 1920s, he began to modify these techniques to accommodate his frail physique with the objective of developing a system that would enable him to defend himself against larger opponents. After years of refinement, he proved his art’s effectiveness by routinely defeating larger and stronger opponents, some of whom outweighed him by as much as 100 pounds. As a result, Helio’s techniques quickly became the new expression of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil and set the stage for a worldwide revolution in martial arts. In 1967, under Grand Master Helio Gracie’s guidance, jiu-jitsu practitioners established the first Federation of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil to host recreational competitions in which they could test their self-defense skills in a safe setting. An unintended by-product of this development was a shift from jiu-jitsu for self-defense purposes to sport-focused techniques and applications.
Marcelo Garcia was born in a small town called Formiga (which means “Ant” in English) in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil (1983). He realized he wanted to pursue Martial Arts at a very young age by watching 1980’s blockbusters as a child, movies like the Karate Kid or older films like Enter the Dragon were amongst his favourites. Even though Marcelinho lived in a Brazilian town, Jiu Jitsu was not available as it was famous mainly in the big cities (in fact Marcelo didn’t hear about BJJ until years later).
His love for Judo grew strong helped by some good tournament wins. Getting more familiar with his coach, Marcelo found that he was also a Jiu Jitsu enthusiast, training BJJ 3 times a week in a neighbouring city called Devinopolis. Eager to follow his master’s footsteps, Marcelinho asked him if he could also attend one of these Jiu Jitsu sessions to which Fabiano agreed, and so on the next opportunity Marcelo made it to his first class under Rickson Gracie black belt Iran Brasileiro accompanied by his Judo instructor de Souza.
Soon Marcelo started adding Jiu Jitsu classes to his regular training routine, making 3 trips every week to Iran Brasileiro’s academy. His first BJJ competition didn’t go as planned as he lost on the first match, but that didn’t put out his fire to compete again. He began buying BJJ magazines to learn new techniques, practicing them with his training partners.
With his intense training program, Marcelo started winning championships, first the State championships and later his first Mundials (World Championships) victory. After his first Mundial victory he realised all his potential and really started believing in his potential. His (now) girlfriend, Tatiana, convinced him that his career would benefit a lot from a move to a bigger team in Sao Paulo, and so after an invitation by Alliance’s Fernando Augusto “Terere” to be an assistant coach at his academy, he left to Sao Paulo one of the biggest Jiu Jitsu centres in the World.
His successful run at both BJJ and Submission Wrestling continued as he won both the World Championships, Submission de Campos and ADCC once again. Having won every major title in submission grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Marcelinho engajed in a new challenge, trying his chance on a career as a fighter in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) joining the Florida MMA academy, American Top Team. Even though Garcia had set his eyes on this new venture, he was still an avid competitor on the major grappling tournaments and always under the Alliance banner.
In 2009 Marcelo opened an academy in New York, starting to distance himself from his MMA Career, dedicating full time to his new academy and his students. Having lost its spark for MMA, he stated openly in an interview on March 2010, that he would no longer compete in MMA, also announcing his decision to return to BJJ, which he did later that year, winning the World Championships once again.
In 2013 Marcelo asked his friend Joao Luz to join the Marcelo Garcia Association and so marks the beginning of Marcelo Garcia Association BJJ Connecticut, Managed by Black Belt, Joao Luz.
Thank you for visiting the Marcelo Garcia Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Bridgeport CT Academy. If you’re looking to add BJJ to your MMA game then come down and take our free trial. We train both adults and kids. We are located in Bridgeport Connecticut and serve students living in Bridgeport, Milford, Orange, Stratford, Shelton, and Trumbull CT.