Actor and entertainer Mario Lopez recently showcased he’s skilled grappler. BJJ community has many celebrity members – however the vast majority of them can be traced to Rigan Machado’s school of jiu jitsu that has a “celebrity friendly modality”. What this means in reality is that Machado’s students don’t participate in live rolls or competitions. Among his students are Scarlett Johansson, Charlie Hunnam, Ashton Kutcher, Vin Diesel, Keanu Reeves and more.
In the April 2015 issue of Jiu Jitsu magazine Machado explained his modality as:
“I created a new jiu jitsu system for people who can’t get hurt. It’s technical training. They learn jiu-jitsu and technically train, but it’s all safe. I created a type of jiu-jitsu for the Beverly Hills clientele. Competition, sparring… these guys can’t do that. I can’t even take a 1% chance of them getting hurt.”
And if you know anything about jiu jitsu you’ll know how ridiculous it is to be awarding students belts without them having actually practiced jiu jitsu in a not scripted scenario. This is why it’s especially important to highlight the cases where status doesn’t interfere with the spirit of martial arts. Among those who are both famous and not afraid to engage in live rolls are the late celebrity chef Antony Bourdain and actors Joel Kinnaman, Mario Lopez and Tom Hardy.
Lopez recently competed as a blue belt at Gracie Barra Compnet in Orange County, California. Not only did he compete, but he won the gold medal in his weight class.
In the short footage of his fight, Lopez is seen scoring a monstrous takedown.
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The famous actor ended up winning the match 13 to 0. In an Instagram post, Lopez explained why he decided to compete in the tournament:
“When your son asks you to compete in the same tournament as him, you do it. You’re never too old to challenge your yourself & set goals…
Thank you to all the homies who helped get us ready!”
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Lopez started his BJJ journey along his son in 2017. Even though that was the first time Lopez tried jiu jitsu, he is no stranger to grappling arts.
Lopez wrestled for Chula Vista High School, finishing second in the San Diego section and seventh in the California Interscholastic Federation state tournament as a senior in one-class California in 1991.
#TBT 12yrs old took 1st place & Outstanding Wrestler in the San Diego County Championship representin the Chula Vista Boys Club @BGCA_Clubs #Wrestling #LittleOrphanAnnieWig #ChulaVista #GhettoSinglet pic.twitter.com/q4IYOVLlf0
— Mario Lopez (@mariolopezviva) December 6, 2018
Lopez showcased his wrestling on his long running hit show Saved By the Bell.
In a guest appearance on “The View”, Lopez spoke about his passion for Jiu-Jitsu:
I’ve always loved martial arts. I always grew up wrestling and boxing. When I had my first son, he was very hyper and I wanted to teach him discipline, respect and self defense – all great attributes in life. Once I got him into it, I wanted to get into it too. It’s like physical chess. I work out more for the sanity rather than the vanity, it helps with stress.
Early this year, Lopez was awarded ‘Outstanding American’ By the National Wrestling Hall Of Fame.
The Outstanding American award is given to individuals who have used the disciplines of wrestling to establish notable careers outside of the sport, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.