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#91 Fabio Clemente

Having opened one of the very first BJJ academies in New York, Fabio Clemente is a true pioneer in east coast Jiu Jitsu, and one could argue the United States. Professor Fabio was only a Brown Belt when at the urging of his instructor Rigan Machado he opened his academy, Studio X BJJ in 1995. This was quite an amazing accomplishment considering that at the time Fabio wasn't planning on a career in Jiu Jitsu.

Fabio was a fairly recent immigrant to the United States but having studied photography in Italy, and having worked in Paris he was used to being on his own in a new country. This was during the mid-1990s and the photography industry was changing and Fabio wasn't sure if he wanted to follow along in this digital revolution. Fabio had just bought a loft in the Tribeca neighborhood of NYC and had two young children to take care of and the idea of a little extra income was intriguing. Having traveled to California and reunited with his Jiu Jitsu instructors from Brazil, the famous Machado brothers, Fabio decided to hold a seminar hosting Rigan Machado when he returned home to New York.

This was prior to the internet, so Fabio took out ads in The Village Voice magazine, and posted flyers around the neighborhood. Fabio received about a hundred calls from interested people and about twenty-five showed up for Rigan's seminar. After the seminar, people wanted to know if Fabio was going to continue teaching in the area. So, seeing an opportunity, Fabio rented a room from a local fitness gym, put down some mats, and began teaching Jiu Jitsu. Within a year Fabio opened Studio X BJJ one of the very first Jiu Jitsu academies in NYC. Studio X has been affiliated with some of the biggest teams in Jiu Jitsu including Alliance and Checkmat. In 2006 Fabio sponsored the legend Marcelo Garcia's visa, a move that would once again change the landscape of Jiu Jitsu on the east coast.

Professor Fabio has dedicated almost three decades to instructing Jiu Jitsu and spreading its culture. Professor Fabio is now about to become a sixth-degree Black Belt, he is planning a cross country road trip with his daughter where they will hold seminars from New York to Alaska blogging about their adventures, and he is looking forward to competing again after a long layoff due to injuries and major knee surgery.


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