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Philippe Balmant

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Gordon Ryan Guard Passing Instructional

Philippe Balmant, often referenced as “Philzinho” is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Marcelo Garcia and a well respected instructor at Alliance Jiu Jitsu New York (MGA). As a coach Philippe Balmant is often praised for his half guard game and his approach to the the sport, particularly in regards to longevity training methodology for grappling. Balmant is also known for his former struggle with drug addiction, one he conquered through BJJ.

Philippe Balmant Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Philippe E. Balmant

Nickname: “inho” is a common suffix in the Portuguese language, usually used to pronounce someone’s name in an endearing manner. “Philzinho” is an adaptation of this rule. The name was started by fellow MGA instructor Paul Schriener, who came up with “Philzinho” as a play on Balmant’s American name (Phil) and his Brazilian heritage.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Fabio Gurgel > Marcelo Garcia > Philippe Balmant

Main Achievements:

  • IBJJF Pans No-Gi Champion (2014 brown Master 1)
  • IBJJF New York BJJ Pro Champion (2014* brown Master 1)
  • IBJJF New York International Open Champion (2013 brown Master)
  • IBJJF New York Summer International Open Champion (2014 brown Master 1)
  • IBJJF New York Summer No-Gi International Open Champion (2016 black Master 1)
  • IBJJF New York Spring International Open Champion (2016 black Master 2, 2015/2014 brown Master 1)
  • IBJJF Boston International Open Champion (2013 brown Masters 1)
  • IBJJF New York Spring No-Gi International Open Champion (2016 black Master 2)
  • IBJJF New York Summer International Open runner-up (2016 black Master 2, 2013 brown Master 1)
  • IBJJF New York International Open Runner-up (2011/2012 purple Master)
  • IBJJF Pans No-Gi Championship 3rd Place (2016 black Master 2)

* Absolute
** Weight and absolute

Favorite Position/Technique: Half Guard

Weight Division: Meio Pesado (88,30 kg / 195.0 lbs)

Team/Association: Alliance NYC / Marcelo Garcia Academy

Philippe Balmant Biography

Philippe Balmant was born on May 4th, 1979 in Manhattan, New York City – United States of America, son of two Brazilian immigrants, growing up in the neighbouring borough of Queens.

Balmant had his first experience with martial arts through taekwondo at the age of 11/12, an activity he carried out until the brown belt level. While growing up Philippe also played other sports such as skateboarding, basketball and even football – all trending interests for a 90’s New York teenager.

2002 was the year when Philippe decided to take on jiu jitsu. Being of Brazilian heritage Balmant was aware of BJJ since early on, but had never given it too much though. His regular talks with a few gym buddies who were mixed martial arts (MMA) enthusiasts would entice him to look for a grappling gym, particularly after he was shown the famous Rickson Gracie documentary “Choke”.

Choke gave Balmant a sense that jiu jitsu could be more than a sport, that it could help him develop a heightened sense of awareness. This was one of the core reasons behind the decision of joining Renzo Gracie‘s Academy in New York. Philippe would later decide to move to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he lived for 2 years (2004/2005) and earned his blue belt – from Carlos Gracie Jr.

By the end of 2003 Philippe Balmant started struggling with cocaine dependence symptoms. His affliction grew stronger upon his homecoming to America, particularly once he stopped training but remained active even when he returned to the jiu jitsu with coach Marcos Santos in 2008 – from whom he received his purple belt (February 28, 2009).

Within a year’s time Marcos Santos decided to move from New York, closing his academy on October 21, 2009. This coincided with Marcelo Garcia‘s own academy opening, which took place on October 22. Being a massive fan of Garcia, Philippe Balmant did not miss his chance of learning from his idol, becoming one the first students on the mat during MGA’s day 1 (a 6pm Thursday night No-Gi class).

The close proximity with Marcelo and positive energy fed through that relationship was a big influence in Philippe’s overcoming of his addiction. In time Philzinho went from 240 lbs (109 kg) to 195 lbs (88 kg), while also earning his brown belt from Marcelinho on February 13, 2013 – this way becoming Marcelo’s first brown belt.

As time went by Philippe Balmant’s position inside Marcelo Garcia’s Academy grew, and by 2013 he started teaching there in addition to his job as the gym’s facility manager. Balmant is known as an elite half guard player, and being one of the oldest members of the team, his teaching methods aimed at maintaining longevity in training while also being competitive in the classroom and tournament scene.

On August 19, 2015 Philippe’s efforts on the mats were rewarded by coach Garcia with his black belt. This way becoming Marcelo’s 13th black belt.

Philippe Balmant 2015 Highlight

Philippe Balmant’s black belt promotion

5050 Guard Instructional by Lachlan Giles

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