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BJJ Fanatics One on One with Marcelo Cohen

BJJ Fanatics One on One with Marcelo Cohen


A few years ago, I found myself surfing YouTube to see if I could dig up some details on the kimura. That’s when I found a clip of Marcelo Cohen breaking down a kimura finish from an EBI performance. The lock was beautifully executed and I immediately added this particular variation to my game. Cohen’s kimura from that night has become one of my favorite attacks and I still continue to attempt it quite often in my training. Cohen later released Kimura System with BJJ Fanatics, sharing his concepts and blueprints for the submission with the masses and giving us insight into his unique take on the submission. 

Cohen is one of the hardest working grapplers on the planet. His resume is quite extensive, and includes appearances at EBI, Fight to Win, IBJJF, and Xtreme Fighting Nation, where Cohen was recently crowned combat grappling champion at 125lbs. Cohen is incredibly active as a competitor and still remains as a highly sought-after head instructor at his home base in Jupiter Florida, The Armory. We got a chance to catch up with Cohen and pick his brain on a variety of topics ranging from his thoughts on the future of combat jiu-jitsu, to BJJ instructionals, and future plans for competition! 

Combat jiu-jitsu is definitely beginning to gain more traction. This new take on competitive grappling adds in the element of open hand strikes to make things more interesting. It forces combatants to tighten up their jiu-jitsu and creates a more realistic fight setting where you must adapt your grappling to defend strikes. On the subject of combat jiu-jitsu, we asked Cohen what he enjoys about the format and where he sees for the future of the sport. 

BJJF: What do you like about combat jiu-jitsu and what do you see for the future of this type of grappling?

MC: “I like that it exposes holes in our jiu-jitsu game. When someone is striking you, it’s very similar to a self- defense, street fight scenario. It gives you the opportunity to adapt your jiu-jitsu and tighten your game. I see CJJ growing.  With large organizations such as UFC fight pass supporting the fight style there will be the opportunity to spread the sport and grow the audience. I could also see more organizations creating events and shows with cash prizes.”

Cohen has plans to grow his instructional library. With the release of Kimura System, we were able to gain some perspective on one of Cohens most dangerous submissions. But Cohen is no one trick pony. He has plans to release more material in the future. 

BJJF: What instructional would you like to film next? What aspect of your game are you eager to share with the masses?

MC: “Next, I would like to film an escape DVD series. I’ve been working on some great escapes that I displayed at my last EBI in the overtime rounds. I have so much more to share. I want to prove to everyone that my game is applicable against people of every size. Big, small, male, female it doesn’t matter. If someone my size can do it everyone can do it.”

Instructionals are becoming a force in the BJJ community. With access to the greatest BJJ athletes and coaches on the planet, we can’t help but wonder how this new dynamic will affect the learning BJJ learning process. 

BJJF: Do you think instructional materials are changing the way we learn jiu-jitsu?

“Yes, definitely. It allows people from everywhere around the world to have access to high level techniques and mindsets from the biggest names in BJJ. It allows people to share techniques that work and have been tested.”

An inquiry into the training regimen of a high level BJJ athlete is always interesting. With a schedule like his, Cohen has to stay sharp. 

BJJF: How often do you train to stay at your level and what does your training consist of?

MC: “I train 6 days a week. That includes live training, drilling, cardio (including beach runs), strength and conditioning, swimming, and training with other high-level black belts in my area, such as Herbert Burns and others.”

Cohen’s game is quite broad. He’s got a fantastic guard and as he mentioned above, he’s looking forward to releasing some escape-based material as well. It seems we all know about Cohen’s kimura, but we’re interested to know what other aspects of his game he wants to showcase. 

BJJF: You’re very well known for your kimura. What’s another aspect of your game that you want people to know about?

MC: “I actually just released a GI DVD series called Cross Grip Guard & The “Old Man Sweep”. It’s a simple technique that allows you to attach and sweep. I have successfully used this many times in competition.”

With the lead role at The Armory, Cohen’s home base academy in Jupiter Florida, we wonder how Cohen’s training coincides with his commitment to his students and his role as an instructor and academy operator. 

BJJF: You run your own jiu-jitsu academy. How does this affect your competitive career? Do you find it challenging to be both a competitor and an academy owner?

MC: “I don’t find it a challenge at all. It allows me to stay focused on training. I have wonderful students who are also an important part of my training. It makes it easy that every aspect of my life is jiu-jitsu.”

With a growing list of competitive endeavors under his belt, Cohen has been successfully navigating his weight categories and has had the chance to compete against some great grapplers. But we wonder who’s on Cohen’s bucket list?

BJJF: You’ve competed against some of the best. Who would you like a match with next?

MC: “I have always been a fan of Jeff Glover. I think the opportunity to have a match against him would be fun.”

I’m surprised this hasn’t happened yet. Selfishly, as fellow rooster sized grappler, I would absolutely love to see this match up. 

To close things out, we asked if Cohen has any advice or parting words for his followers and fans.

BJJF: Anything you want to say to your fans and followers?

MC: “Yes, jiu-jitsu takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There are no short cuts. You have to be determined to succeed.  I truly appreciate every one of my fans and followers. They make me want to continue to compete and prove you can do whatever you set your mind to.”

Thank you, Marcelo Cohen, for the great insight and thoughts on all of these current topics. Good luck on all your upcoming competitive endeavors, we wish you the best! Check out the Kimura System by Marcelo Cohen!

Kimura System by Marcelo Cohen



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