Soul Rebel: Getting to know Enrico Cocco

I recently wrote an article for the number one internet news source of BJJ and Grappling website JiuJitsutimes.com on my friend and fellow grappler Enrico Cocco. Evolution Grappling Academy hosted Enrico for a seminar last September. All of the students at our Beacon Jiu Jitsu school, will be cheering on Enrico as he gets set to compete in the ADCC World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. So without further a due, enjoy this article.

Here’s the link to the original article

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Soul Rebel: Getting to know Enrico Cocco

After being dubbed the “Teenage Phenom” at the youthful age of 16, Enrico Cocco’s ascent to the highest levels of No Gi Submission grappling continues today. An exciting fighter, Enrico possesses the thrilling style of grappling necessary to attract the eyes of a potential fan base responsible for the growth of Professional Jiu Jitsu. With the rise of Professional Jiu Jitsu events on the BJJ scene thanks to organizations like Metamoris, EBI and Polaris, grapplers like Enrico are finally provided with more frequent opportunities of pay days, given the platform to showcase the skill-set they’ve spent thousands of hours mastering. There’s no debate of the fact that No Gi Jiu Jitsu is visually more attractive to the casual fan then the Gi. While battles in the Gi are very technical, the methodical and slower paced nature of the Gi requires the viewer to at least have some knowledge or understanding of what is happening.

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At 27 years old, Enrico Cocco is already a 3x ADCC North American Trials Champion. In 2009 at 21, Enrico won the ADCC North American West Coast trials submitting three of his four opponents including UFC Veteran Jacob Volkmann in the finals in just over a minute via Toehold. At the 2009 ADCC World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Enrico would draw Kron Gracie in the first round catching Kron in a very deep inverted Heel hook that many others would have tapped to. Always smooth, Kron sailed through the crux of the match to pullout the victory via RNC. In 2011, Cocco would find himself invited back to ADCC World Championships in Nottingham, England after winning the invitation at the trials beating out names like Renzo Gracie Blackbelt standout Sean Williams in the semi’s and Cesar Gracie Blackbelt Jason Manly in the finals. At the 2011 ADCC World Championships, Enrico would come up short in the first round against eventual Silver medalist and Checkmat Co-Founder Leo Vieira.

Taking sometime off to focus on MMA, Enrico would resurface in 2014 taking Silver at the IBJJF No Gi Pan Ams, and Bronze a week later at the No-Gi Worlds. A month later Enrico found himself at the 2014 ADCC North American Trials in West Virginia. On his way to earning the Gold Medal and an invitation to next months ADCC World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Enrico would come out victorious against Matt Skaff, Nathan Orchard and in the finals against Eddie Cummings. With his victories over Matt Skaff and Nathan Orchard who are both 10th Planet alumni Enrico would also receive an invite to EBI 3, Eddie Bravo’s Invitational for Professional Jiu Jitsu. When asked about Enrico Cocco, Eddie Bravo said “I would say he’s top 3 in EBI, beating Cummings at the ADCC trials says a lot. Plus he had Kron in a deep heel hook in ADCC 2009.”

I recently went down to Miami myself to compete at the second ADCC Trials. On a grappler’s budget, I hit up Enrico Cocco. Not only could I prepare at his gym (Zen Jiu Jitsu) but he offered me to stay at his house to save money. While down there I was blown away at Enrico’s humility, passion and lifestyle. While many other Martial Artists boast about themselves or their accolades Enrico is quite the opposite, he’s a bit reserved and doesn’t like to be “in your face” with his accomplishments, humble and genuine are the words that come to mind. At the trials, I spoke with Surfing World Champion, Pan Am Champion and ADCC vet Joel Tudor about Enrico. “The kid is bad ass man, he’s constantly evolving when I watch him.” Tudor said.

A blackbelt under Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Enrico is well known for being a strictly No Gi grappler. While in Miami, I learned a lot of interesting things about Enrico and his lifestyle. A Blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do under his father, he comes from an entire family of Martial Artists. Both of his parents are Blackbelts, as well as his 3 siblings and himself. Enrico runs Zen Jiu Jitsu within his parents’ Dojo. When I asked Enrico “How awesome is it to be born into a family of Martial Artists?” he said “I feel blessed man, to be born into a family of Martial Artists, my siblings all being Blackbelts, I’m happy it turned out that way. When I started BJJ my family was totally supportive which is awesome.” A vegan for 8 years, I asked Enrico if that choice is a sacrifice, he said “I’m a vegan by choice, it’s good for the planet, the animals and my body.”

The Jiu Jitsu life can often be a sacrifice for many, I know personally it was for me, when I decided to quit my job and pursue my dreams of Jiu Jitsu the closest ones to me thought I was crazy and initially didn’t support my decision. I’ve always believed in the quote by Napolean Hill “Great achievment is usually born of great sacrifice…”. Knowing Enrico, I asked him about his sacrifice in pursuit of Gold at ADCC. “Job security is great for people that need it or want it but I don’t see anything in my life as a sacrifice because I chose it. I chose this lifestyle because I love it. My goal since I was 13 years old has been to get the Gold Medal at ADCC. Being there and having that experience is special to me. The thrill of being apart of an event where the top competitors in the world are all flown in to compete for a chance to become the Champion of the Olympics of Submission Grappling has this Bloodsport type feeling to it, I want to be apart of that, I want to be at the top of it.”

Enrico will get his chance to battle for ADCC Gold once again next month in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 28th, 29th, and 30th.

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