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Marcelo Alonso

Marcelo Alonso was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, being raised in the Copacabana area, nearby the Carlson Gracie academy. When growing up, Marcelo used to play a lot with Junior, Master Carlson Gracie‘s son. It was through this close friendship that Marcelo started training jiu jitsu. Although Alonso’s parents did not have the means to pay for the academy fees at the time, the Gracie Master agreed to coach Marcelo for a token amount, and so he started, at the age of 12.

For the first 3 years, Master Carlson did not allow Marcelo to compete. This was part of the iconic Gracie’s coaching method, put in place to allow the students to get a solid knowledge of the jiu jitsu basics before entering a tournament, for this reason Alonso’s first competition was at the age of 15 (early 1980’s) carrying his competitor life until his mid 20’s.

In 1985, due to his school schedule, Marcelo Alonso left the Carlson Gracie Academy and carried on learning jiu jitsu at the Gracie Barra academy, having Rigan Machado as his coach, and sharing the mats with many of GB’s top students. Alonso would return to the Zona Sul of Rio de Janeiro to complete his law degree, being accepted with open arms back into his old team. He also became one of the instructors at the CGA gym in 1989.

There is an interesting story which was told by Marcelo Alonso on his old website (now extinct) of how he asked his instructor, after a few years as a brown belt and a very favourable competitive record, how long it would take until he was worthy of a black belt, to which Master Carlson replied: “you talk too much, wait two more years”.

Master Carlson eventually awarded Marcelo Alonso with his black belt in 1995. Marcelo became one of the head instructors of the CGA during this period, but by 1997 he left Brazil to try his chance at a better life in the United States, settling in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in the Seattle area.

In Seattle Marcelo quickly became a reference for the local jiu jitsu community, producing great talent and pushing for the development of the sport in the area.

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