Posted: Oct 21 2016
Enrico Cocco - From Teenage Phenom to Prominent No Gi BJJ Grappler
With the upcoming rise of No Gi/Grappling mega events, a new set of elite talented grapplers have risen up as well.
Enrico Cocco is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu and sponsored E Nois Clothing athlete. Cocco as a teenager,during his early jiu-jitsu days, earned the nickname of “Teenage Phenom”. A reputation built through his repeated victories in adult divisions of local and national tournaments. Enrico Cocco is a professional No Gi Grappler, and also the head instructor and founder of Zen Jiu Jitsu, also a vegan athlete. Not only Is Enrico Cocco known for his skilled talent but he also is known for his humility, passion and lifestyle.
Born and raised in Miami, his family of Martial Artists were fully supportive when Enrico started training brazilian jiu-jitsu. Cocco spent most of his childhood practicing Tae Kwon Do with his 3 older siblings.
In October of 2000, Enrico discovered Jiu-jitsu at the age of 13 through a family friend who eventually opened his own gym, the Freestyle Fighting Academy. “I began training BJJ because a friend kept telling me how effective it was, and coming from a taekwondo background I didn’t really believe in it.” Cocco said, thinking back to the first time he tried jiu-jitsu. "Then one day we were on some mats and started play sparring. He continually took me down and tapped me against my will over and over. I decided there might be something to this jiu-jitsu thing and once I started learning techniques I was instantly addicted.”
Within a year or so, Cocco began teaching classes there, too. By age 15 he had already won his first Men’s expert division at a NAGA championship.
By the age of 20 he achieved the rank of No Gi black belt. He decided to try his hand a bit in Pro MMA, fighting five fights. Ultimately he realized he enjoyed much more the sport of grappling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
A change of direction in the gym's atmosphere, philosophy and practices eventually inspired him to open his own academy in 2009, Zen Jiu-jitsu. Since he started his own program, he has won many tournaments including the ADCC trials two more times. He is the only 3 time ADCC North American trials champion.
He has coached many MMA and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu athletes, from the amateur level to having cornered 3 different athletes in the UFC.
“What drives me to the mats every day is my love for the art and its infinite possibilities. And to watching my students learn and improve and evolve in their practice.” – Enrico Cocco
In 2013, after losing 0-0 by ref decision to Vagner Rocha at the ADCC North American trials. Enrico was invited by Vagner, to come and train at Fight Sport’s. Enrico accepted the offer with opened arms and he has been training with Fight Sports ever since. He earned his IBJJF black belt certificate from Master Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, himself.
Enrico’s main goals in BJJ are to become an ADCC Champion, get higher profile pro grappling matches, develop world champion athletes, and help as many people as he can through Jiu-jitsu.
“Have fun and enjoy the process. Don’t become obsessed with trying to achieve a certain rank. Just come in with a positive attitude every time you train. And let the process magically happen. Balance your training with a lot of drilling and a lot of live rolling. Watch videos of different high level grapplers. And remember that anything worthwhile takes a lot of time and effort.” - Advice from Enrico Cocco to all of you new BJJ practitioners.
Name Enrico Daniel Cocco BJJ Rank Black belt Lineage Mitsuyo Maed> Carlos Gracie> Carlson Gracie> Francisco Albuquerque> Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu> Enrico Cocco Main Achievements
- 3X ADCC US Trials Champion (2009, 2011, 2014)
- 9X Grapplers Quest Pro Star Champion
- 11X NAGA Expert Champion
- Pan American No-Gi Championship Runner-up (2014)
- World No-Gi Championship 3rd Place (2014)
Favorite Position/Technique Open Guard Weight Division Peso Médio (82kg/181 lbs) Team/Association Zen Jiu Jitsu / Fight Sports Cross Training
- Yoga (with wife Diana who teaches out of Zen Jiu Jitsu)
- Stays active with lots of weight training and running.
- Playing chess
Favorite Quote “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worse, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”