MARCOS ESCOBAR JIU-JITSU
After the 1st Brazilian Nationals Championship in 1993, Jiu-Jitsu has started to get more popularity in Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro was "The Mecca" of this sport at that time with all big names and big clubs based in this city. That was when I first got in touch with the art. I went to a Jiu-Jitsu academy near my house in Rio de Janeiro, where I met my master Leo Castello Branco and in 1994, I officially started training like everyone else : - as a brand new white belt.
Very fast Jiu-Jitsu was a big part of my life and I embraced the lifestyle very seriously. I didn't know by then but at that moment my life was about to change forever.
1 year later in 1995 I was awarded the Blue Belt. At this point, even still new at the sport, I already knew it was what I wanted to do for my life, was already assisting my Master in classes and decided change my University career from Architecture to Sports Science / Physical Education. At the blue belt I was considered one of the top ranked athletes and had the privilege to train at the same team and compete alongside with some of the bests in the business, as such as Leo Vieira, Marcelo Garcia, Demian Maia, Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros, Fernando "Terere", Reinaldo Ribeiro and many others.
During my first year as a blue belt I got positive results winning several tournaments including the State Championship in Rio and getting 3rd at the Brazilian Nationals guaranteeing my spot at the 1st Jiu-Jitsu World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro in 1996. I young me had no idea but I was living history at that very moment.
After winning several tournaments I was, among the Jiu-Jitsu community and specialized media considered a top ranked Blue Belt in my division and not too long after, in 1997 I was awarded my Purple Belt.
After more good results I was quickly awarded the Brown Belt in 1998.
My Brown belt promotion was very unexpectedly and just a few days before an important competition. I had a victorious debut against other experienced athletes. It was also in 1999 that I started teaching my own students at my own Dojo academy in the suburbs of Rio. In 99 I competed for the 1st time ever at the IBJJF Pan-Ams where I got 3rd place. It was my first time traveling overseas and an amazing experience overall. At that moment I cemented my path to the Black Belt which I was awarded in 2000, after 6-7 years of hard work and training - the so called 'blood, swear and tears'. At that moment a whole new chapter was about to be written. I was part of the Elite of the sport - a 'Faixa-Preta de Jiu-Jitsu' - and until today I have no words to describe such feeling... I believe 'Only a fighter knows the feeling...".
No long after, in 2001, I also got my University Degree in Physical Education under one of the best institutions in Brazil (UFRJ). I started to pursuit financial stability and on top of my Jiu-Jitsu classes, I started to dedicate some time and enter the Fitness and Personal Training Industry.
In this same year occurred Team Alliance's Split what generated the creation on a brand new BJJ team called Brasa.
Also in 2001 I was invited to compete at the ADCC in Abu Dhabi what would be my very first Black Belt competition. It was one of the most inspiring experiences I've ever had. I saw myself surrounded by the bests in the world, I won the tournament and for the first time in my life I got genuinely paid to compete.
Right after returning from the ADCC when the future was expected to be bright I suffered a motorcycle accident and a shock of reality when I had to pull out from the mats for an unpredictable time.
During this time off I had to take to recover from my injuries, I dedicated myself a lot more in studying and in my P.E. career. Started doing more personal training and fitness coaching parallel to my recovery treatment. "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano" and I kept myself focused and positive and after a lot of intensive care and hundreds of rehab sessions, one year later, in 2002, I was slowly back on the mats against the doctors advice but always trusting my physiotherapist and it didn't take long before I retur to the competitions placing 3rd in the absolute division at the Brazilian Cup and winning the Wrestling State Championship. Better than titles was the feeling of getting back on the mats for real proving the odds were wrong.
In 2003 I received my 1st Degree in the Black belt and decided, for working reasons and to pursuit higher goals, to move to Sao Paulo where I continued training with my friend and team mate Prof. Leo Vieira.
After a couple of years living and working in Sao Paulo, I received an invitation to move to Asia to work in the biggest Fitness company in South East Asia (SEA). My destination was Malaysia, most precisely: - Kuala Lumpur. Again I had no idea that my life was about change forever. I was about to not only make history but to be part of it by officially bringing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Malaysia becoming the pioneer and ambassador of the sport in the country. It was one of the hardest challenges I ever faced but surely one of the most rewarding ones either.
In 2006 I was awarded the 2nd Degree in the Black Belt.
In 2008 I and a good friend and student (Raul Tapia III) organized the very first BJJ Camp in Asia leaded by 3 Black Belts (myself, Prof. Chico Mendes and Prof. Cristiano 'Alemao" Carvalho. At that point my goal was to show Jiu-Jitsu to Malaysia and let everyone else in Asia know we existed. I started to receive more messages countries and cities and I then realize it was time to work on the sport's growth and I needed to look outside Kuala Lumpur and to introduce other regions to Jiu-Jitsu. It was when I introduced the gentle art officially to places like Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Brunei etc.
In 2009 I was awarded the 3rd Degree in the Black Belt.
I officially started my own school with the help of my student Aaron Goh and later on I found my own association: - MEBJJ Association in Asia.
I started to travel to other regions of South East Asia (SEA) with my students for competitions and we started to win important recognition and to bring our team and Malaysia to higher standards in the fighting scene in Asia.
In 2011, MMA started to exponentially grow in Singapore and inevitably started to make waves in Malaysia. It was when I got invited and signed a contract to fight for the biggest MMA organization in Asia: - One Championship.
I then started to fully dedicate my time and training to my MMA career and decided to approach and join the best MMA team in Brazil and one of the bests in the World by far - Team Nova União under the eyes of master André "Dede" Pederneiras.
In 2012 I had an overwhelming debut at "Destiny of Warriors" event, pulling a great win via submission at the welterweight division. (One-FC-4-Destiny-of-Warriors).
Having One Championship taking too long to offer me another fight and having in my mind I wasn't getting any younger and all I wanted was to challenge myself and test my limits. I then decided to cut down to lightweight (155lbs) and sign with the biggest MMA event in South America - Shooto Brasil 38 - where I pulled another great win via submission in the 1st Round
In 2014 I was awarded the 4th Degree in the Black Belt.
I got invited to stay 3 months based in California to help a friend with his training camp and competitions. It was a great experience where I could closely see the Cali lifestyle, visit different academies, put on hold the roughness of MMA camps and get back to the major BJJ tournaments in the US... fortunately making to the podium in all of them. It was an important experience which made me decide to get my stuff together and to go back doing Jiu-Jitsu full time. I had a short but brilliant MMA experience and when I look back now I know that it was the right call.
With the support of my family and friends and specially from my good friend Prof. Rodrigo Comprido, in 2017 I moved with my family to the USA arriving in Chicago-IL with the unique goal of competing and refereeing in the biggest tournaments under the biggest federations of the sport. I was hungry to pursuing the titles missing in my cartel, contributing with the development and fortification of my team in the region and starting my own academy in America.
I had another brilliant competition year making to the podium in every single competition I participated. The most important accomplishments for this year were both Gi and NO-Gi Worlds which I won in my divisions in two of the biggest federations - IBJJF & SJJIF.
In 2018 I became partner with Prof. Comprido in a brand new school in Lake County - IL where I started developing and testing a different approach and methodology in classes.
After 1 year running the school in Chicago and sure it was moving in the right path I then decided to pursue my dreams and moved to Weston, Florida where I am currently based with my family and working full time to make this same dreams turn into reality! I am not even close to accomplish everything I have planned. It's definitely an endless journey and I thanks God everyday for keeping me healthy with the strength and will power I need. I thanks my family and friends who are always by my side and without them I surely would not be where I am. Last but never least a huge thanks to all my students and training partners who trusted me and my work with their 100%. You're a not only my friends but a second family Jiu-Jitsu has given me!