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Marcelo Garcia promotes 21st blackbelt, Chris Civello of Sakura BJJ

Chris Civello, owner of Sakura BJJ in Dover, New Jersey, was promoted to the rank of black belt, May 11. Civello is the 21st student to have been promoted to black belt by Marcelo Garcia, who is widely considered to be one of the best grapplers and arguably the best pound for pound submission grappler in the world.

Sakura BJJ is an affiliate school of Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York where the promotion took place.

Marcelo Garcia promotes Chris Civello to black belt
Marcelo Garcia promotes Chris Civello to black belt

Garcia also promoted three other Jiu-Jitsu aces to black belt along with Civello on Thursday.

#19 Scott Kaplan
#20 David O’Brien
#21 Chris Civello
#22 Tyler Steppe

Chris Civello, black belt, Marcelo Garcia
Chris Civello of Sakura BJJ (Blue gi) was one of four students promoted to black belt by Marcelo Garcia, May 11.

Garcia a third degree black belt and is a five-time World Champion and four-time ADCC Champion.

When asked what the promotion meant to him, Civello responded, “Everything.”

The video playing above was filmed about a month before Civello’s promotion, when he was still a brown belt.  In the interview Civello talks about how he came into the sport of Jiu-Jitsu, changes that have been made in both training and competition over the years, how students can find the right school, and much more.

Sakura BJJ is located at 87 Bassett Hwy, Dover, NJ 07801.


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Eric Kowal

Eric Kowal

Owner/Editor/Journalist at MyMMANews
Founder of - After writing for Ultimate MMA magazine and serving as the editor for U.S. Combat Sports, both of which went on hiatus, I decided to venture out on my own and enlist a staff of writers and photographers that could help me achieve my goal of telling stories that would otherwise go untold. We pride ourselves in taking a deeper look into the fighter, and understanding what makes them tick. - #1 Dad, Marine Corps Veteran, 80's and 90's Pro Wrestling Fan, MMA Commentator, Beer Lover, and avid movie watcher. Seriously..... I watch a lot of movies.

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