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Fabio Clemente

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Fabio Clemente is an important jiu-jitsu player and coach, particularly for New York’s grappling circuit, as he founded one of the very first Brazilian jiu-jitsu academies in the area, a workgroup he’s successfully run since the mid-1990s. Fabio Clemente earned his black belt from Jean Jacques Machado and was a member of the Machado Association before joining the Alliance team in 1998, a partnership that lasted until 2017 when he joined Checkmat. Clemente was also responsible for bringing Marcelo Garcia to the US during the mid-2000s.

Fabio Clemente Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: Fábio Toscano Clemente

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie JrJean Jacques Machado > Fabio Clemente

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2007, 2006** Master 3)
  • 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship NoGi Champion (2010 Master 3)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2004 Master 2)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF International Masters & Seniors Championship (2005 / 2003)

Favorite Technique: N/A

Weight Division: Pesado & Pesadissimo

Team/Association:  Checkmat

Fabio Clemente Biography

Fabio Clemente was born in 1965 and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fabio’s father was a football/soccer coach who also practiced jiu-jitsu, making competition a big part of the Clemente family. Fabio started his sporting activities from an early age, by practicing several disciplines such as judo (which he started at the age of 9) and rowing. Around 1983 through a conversation with a friend, who was at the time a BJJ brown belt, Clemente was convinced to try the Brazilian style of grappling.

Fabio Clemente’s first class was at the Gracie Academy, the gym’s facilities were shared between Carlson Gracie and Carlos Gracie Junior (who had replaced Rolls Gracie after his death, which had happened only recently). Fabio’s first coach was “Carlinhos” Gracie’s right-hand man, Rigan Machado. Fabio Clemente thoroughly enjoyed his jiu-jitsu class and kept at it, later moving with the team to Barra da Tijuca, in the birth of Gracie Barra, being mainly trained by Rigan Machado.

After a few years of training with Rigan, Fabio moved to Paris with his wife, staying there for 4 years. As there was no jiu jitsu in Paris in those days, Clemente went back to judo, trying to do as much randori (ground-work) as possible there. Clemente’s wife was a model, and when she got a visa to come and work in California Fabio, once again, came along. In California Clemente had the chance to return to grappling, rejoining his old instructors, the Machados brothers.

In 1995 Fabio moved to the East Coast, more specifically to New York City where he finally settled and opened his own BJJ academy, during the same week when Renzo Gracie Academy opened its doors, making Fabio Clemente’s gym one of the oldest BJJ academies in the “Big Apple”.

Fabio was a brown belt when he opened his academy; he would receive his black belt after two consecutive wins at the Pan American Championships in the brown belt adult division. Around 1998, and after Clemente severed his bond with the Machado Jiu-Jitsu Association, Fabio Gurgel invited Clemente to become part of the  Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Academy. The deal suited both parties, and Clemente jumped on board, making his gym the original Alliance headquarters in New York.

In 2006 Fabio Clemente sponsored Marcelo Garcia’s visa, so he could come to New York and train at Clemente’s Studio-X (Fabio’s former gym). The experience was very successful, and the gym’s medal tally in major competitions grew from the close contact with the jiu-jitsu legend. By 2007, when Marcelinho’s contract was up for renewal, a strange turn of events had the BJJ community in an uproar and the Clemente-Garcia duo had to be broken due to pressure from one of Clemente’s former students (Josh Griffiths) and Clemente’s partner at Studio X. With these tribulations, Fabio Clemente opened his own gym and Marcelo Garcia left New York, though he returned a couple of years later.

Fabio Clemente @ International Masters and Seniors, 2005

Submission Back Attacks Instructional by John Danaher

4 Comments

  • Jay says:

    His academy was the first in new york city!

  • fern says:

    Fabio Clemente and his academy is no longer affiliated with Alliance. This news was delivered personally by Fabio Clemente and Babs Olusanmokun to their entire academy on March 6, 2015, the day of his 20th anniversary of teaching bjj in New York City. His new and personal project/association is "Jiu Jitsu for the People".

  • Guest says:

    Your account of the Marcelo/Fabio account couldnt be more innacurate as painting Josh as an instigator. At the time there were plans to open a new academy for Studio X that would partner Josh/Fabio and an investor. Fabio took it upon himself to make an empty promise to Garcia that would have included Garcia in the new academy along with a salary. When the other investors didnt agree upon this Fabio decided to severe the ties with Josh and the investor and him and Babs began their slander campaign on the internet. Marcelo moved to Florida to join Top Team and upon returning opened his own academy rather than aligning himself again with Fabio, a decision that has led NYC Alliance instructors and their devoted alumni to state "Marcelo is dead to them". Josh opened his own school, many Alliance students left to join the new venture and many left to join Marcelos, if not for former students with their own academy bringing students to their 20th anniversary celebration there wouldnt have been more than 50 ppl there. The version many know of this story is Fabio and Babs version, one that continues to backfire on them considering to this day Josh and Marcelo have a congenial, respectful relationship with each other and both are widely respected in the BJJ Community by their peers while Fabio is known to be associated with drama. Fabio has for many years ran a dishonest team, he has sandbagged competitors on purpose, having purples and blues compete at a level beneath them and continues to burn bridges as he has with past students, the Machados, Marcelo, and most recently Alliance.

    • Steven says:

      Clearly your are from Josh's camp. Fabio and Babs are the furthest thing from dishonest. They are the most caring people in the BJJ community. And to say they sand bag competitions, that just makes you look like you either lost to someone from their camp in a comp or you are just a troll. While the school is not a giant academy, where they try to nickle and dime every dollar from your pocket, Fabio's school has a very personal feel and family atmosphere. Everyone in there always feels comfortable and safe. You wont find that atmosphere in those larger schools.

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