One of the most exciting grapplers to have ever stepped on a mat, Antonio Schembri also known as “Nino” Schembri is a highly skilled and decorated jiu jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior. Nino Schembri blasted into the BJJ scene in the mid 1990′s competing for the Gracie Barra academy, quickly making a name for himself as the king of the omoplata, a game he developed making better use of his highly flexible and offensive guard game. He is considered by many (BJJ Heroes included) as one of the best guard players to have ever competed in BJJ.
Nino Schembri Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: António Schembri
Nickname: Nino is short for Antonio in Portuguese (Schembri’s first name), as for Elvis, it comes from Schembri’s love for Elvis Presley, the King of Rock n´Roll, and the fact that he tries to mimic some of the King’s moves in celebrating his victories.
- 2x World champion (1997 and 1998)*
- Brazilian National Champion (1996 absolute)
* Closed final with team mate
Favorite Technique: Omoplata.
Weight Division: Peso Medio 82kg-181lbs.
Association/Team: Formerly with Gracie-Barra
Nino Schembri Biography
Nino Schembri,was born on the 1st of June 1974 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nino’s image is the complete opposite of the traditional BJJ troublemaker of the 1990’s. An image that terrorized jiu jitsu sponsors for years due to the wrong doing of many Rio de Janeiro gangs who used the gentle art to cause trouble on the streets. Antonio Schembri was one of the many good names in the sport who fought against this bad image of the “jiujiteiro” (jiu jitsu practitioner).
Coming from a traditional Italian family (his father was born in the European country), Nino Schembri worked on the street market helping his father with the duvet selling business, and always found it hard to get through life in the sport of BJJ without the resources of some of the more upper class competitors who worked on their game full time.
Known for his creativity and amazing flexibility, Nino was a true revolutionary of the sport, famous for the use of the guard as an offensive tool, being the Omoplata (shoulder blade lock) and the Gogoplata (choke) or even an early approach to the now called “rubber guard” some of his more famous moves.
Antonio Schembri took his first stab at a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career in 2001, a fight he won against the veteran Luta Livre fighter Johil de Oliveira in the (at the time) biggest fighting organization in the world, Pride FC. It was at around this same time that “Elvis” Schembri stepped away from his Gracie Barra family to join the famous Chute-Boxe MMA Academy. He trained with the Thai Boxing specialists for many years being their Grappling coach while learning striking from Rafael Cordeiro. In his time at Chute Boxe Academy he awarded Mauricio “Shogun” Rua his nlack belt, after Rua’s win at the Pride FC middleweight Gran Prix Final.
In 2004 Schembri’s father took his own life in Brazil, leaving Antonio devastated. For the following 6 years Nino dwelled with this terrible ordeal, though still competing in MMA to pay his bills. During this period Schembri’s focus was totally off and he could not train consistently in preparation for the fights, this caused him to lose some fights he could/should have won, settling an unflattering record of 5-5-0 by the end of 2008.
In 2010 Schembri returned to the Jiu Jitsu mats winning the Fabio Santos open stating in an interview to the Fightworks Podcast that he was finally recovered mentally from his fathers tragic ending.
Nino Schembri vs Fernando Pontes “Margarida”
Nino Schembro vs Steve Rosenberg
Antonio Schembri highlight
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)