Although he is only 31 years old, Marcelo has as much wisdom in BJJ as someone twice his age. He currently holds the rank of third degree black belt from Fabio Gurgel at Team Alliance. For those who don’t know, the Mundials is also known as the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and it is one of the most prestigious championships in the world. Past winners are the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Roger Gracie, Andre Galvao, and many other well known BJJ practitioners. That is something that Garcia has won five times from 2004-2011.
Outside of the world of competition, Garcia is a lifelong martial artist that started at age 8 with karate which he trained for four years until he could not see the reason for continuing since it did not show the benefits to real life applications. At age 9, he then started to train Judo which lead him eventually to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but he did not have the money to pay for the gym fees that would help elevate his game. He moved into the gym at age 16, away from his parents, and paid for classes by doing chores for the gym owner. He trained four times a day with the first class being at 6 AM and the last at 7 PM. This dedication to the sport lead to him becoming one of the best BJJ practitioners to grace the mats.
One of Garcia’s greatest contributions to the sport was his popularization of the X-Guard. This is something that had been used before but like many other positions in BJJ it took time for someone to use it competitively to make it widely used. He has multiple books and DVDs that cover this position for people that want to learn from the master. His ability on the mats and through the X-Guard came to be known when he entered the ADCC, but lost the trails by one point. He was given the opportunity to compete at the finals when another competitor fell out of the competition and made the most of his opportunity by taking out Renzo Gracie and Vitor Ribeiro to win the tournament title.
With the win, he finally realized his dream of using his BJJ to live a successful life. Leaving Brazil, he moved to New York and opened an affiliate of the Alliance gym he has trained at for a long time. After a brief dalliance with MMA, he has rededicated himself to BJJ which included his first black belt students in 2011. Even though he is only 31, he has done more in the sport than most people do in a lifetime.