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Doug Pelinkovic

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Drgut Pelinkovic, commonly known as Doug Pelinkovic is a 5th dan in shōtōkan karate, as well as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under John Danaher and Renzo Gracie. One of the foremost karate players in the sport during the 1990s, a time when he was a part of the United States Karate National Squad, Pelinkovic later become a well respected and sought out grappling coach in the East Coast area, responsible for developing talented no-gi grapplers such as Frank Rosenthal and Stanley Rosa.

Doug Pelinkovic Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: Drgut Pelinkovic

Nickname: “Doug” due to the name’s phonetic resemblance to Drugut.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > C. Gracie > H. Gracie > C. Gracie Jr > Renzo Gracie > John Danaher > Doug Pelinkovic

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place IBJJF World NoGi Championship (2019 Master 4)

Favorite Position/Technique: ‘Chicken Wing’ Armlock From Back Control

Weight Division: Super Pesado (100,50 kg / 222.0 lbs)

Team/Association: Renzo Gracie Academy

Doug Pelinkovic Biography

Doug Pelinkovic was born on October 18, 1969, in Italy, being the son of Montenegrin parents. Pelinkovic spent most of his early childhood in the United States (New York), but would later move to Montenegro (then called Serbia and Montenegro) where he spent his teenage years.

After reaching adulthood, at the age of 18, Pelinkovic moved back to the United States and settled there. It was while living in New York that Doug decided to give martial arts a try, after an unsuccessful karate venture during his early teenage years.

Pelinkovic’s start in martial arts proved just how talented the young Balkan was, as he fastly developed into a prolific striker. During his career Pelinkovic competed extensively under the Shōtōkan rule-set, earning his black belt in 1996 and representing the USA with the country’s national team on various international tournaments for a number of years.

Always curious about different martial arts, Pelinkovic heard good things about jiu-jitsu and decided to give grappling a try, being introduced to Renzo Gracie by Gene Dunn in late 2001 and then trying his first class. This first group session proved to be a test to Doug’s ego, as he was dominated by a man half his size, but instead of running from the challenge the 32-year-old immediately fell in love with BJJ and the strength of its techniques.

Learning under Shawn Williams and John Danaher, Doug received his blue belt grade, with most of his instruction falling under Danaher’s umbrella from then onwards. It was the New Zealander who awarded Pelinkovic all his belts, with the black belt being approved by both John and Master Renzo Gracie in 2008.

While developing his skillset, Doug would often fill in as the mourning instructor at the famous ‘Blue Basement’ (the nickname given to the training room at Renzo Gracie’s NY Academy), particularly when Danaher was away for events and workshops. As time went by, the idea of one day earning a living from his work as a coach grew, and Doug started looking for a place worthy of him opening a gym. After a few years of research, the opportunity finally presented itself, and Pelinkovic was able to open his (now) famous Bronx Martial Arts Academy. An inauguration that took place in March 2010.

With the growing success of his Bronx gym, in 2018 Doug Pelinkovic opened another academy, namely RGA Bayside (Queens).

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One Comment

  • Adrian Hamblin says:

    One of the best decisions of my life was to train under Doug. His dedication to Jiu-Jitsu, his technique, teaching, students and dojo is truly admirable. I am so much better for it.

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