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Lloyd Irvin
United States
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Lloyd Irvin is the first and only African American in the world to receive a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is one of only three non-Brazilians to receive a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt in Brazil. He has metaled in some of the most established mixed martial arts tournaments in the world.

Looking forward, Lloyd wishes to further excel in his chosen art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as keep newer generations of competitors rising through the ranks. The success of his business is something that wasn't gained easily, so he will continue to work hard to make sure his studio remains one of the best in the United States. His track record of producing world champions in mixed martial arts as well as BJJ is unhindered and will continue to remain a standard for other studios to look to for inspiration. Using the successes of his students on the competition circuit will help to advance his studio’s notoriety in the martial arts world as well as bring in new students.

Irvin knows that the path to his success has been through skilled use of marketing. As new forms of advertising and marketing arise for use, he will also be exploring those options as a way to keep his business in the eye of the public. Social media has carried the flag as the new standard in the last few years, but it will soon step aside for the next big thing. When that form of marketing arises, Lloyd Irvin will be there to take advantage of a new way to spread the word about his studio. He hopes that his now million-dollar business model will continue to grow and produce the quality martial artists that he has worked extremely hard to produce. His skill in MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are also advancing with every day he studies and reflects on his teaching.

Lloyd was initially introduced to mixed martial arts at the age of 3, when he began Tae Kwon Do classes. He began his grappling career as a wrestler in 1983 and later moved on to the art of submission. However, by the time he enrolled at Bowie State University, he had left the mixed martial arts field and became more involved in traditional sports.

After watching a UFC fight featuring legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Royce Gracie, Irvin decided to dedicate his life to Jiu-Jitsu. His training in the sport was largely informal. He began training at a gym in Maryland when he was 26 years old, and received his blue belt in less than a month. In 1996, after training for less than 6 months, his instructor moved back to Brazil, forcing Irvin to open his own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school so he could continue his informal training and use his students as sparring partners.

Although his training was largely unorthodox, Irvin managed to succeed largely in the field of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He currently holds the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt in Thai-Jitsu, 1st Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, 2nd Degree Black Belt in Combat Sombo, 1st Degree Black Belt in Judo, and 1st Degree Black Belt in BCG.

In 1999, Lloyd Irvin became the first American to ever defeat a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt in Brazil, and was featured in Gracie Magazine. During his time competing in the sport, Irvin placed in several well-known mixed martial arts tournaments. He is a multiple time National Judo Champion (2001 and 2002), a multiple time National Sombo Champion (1998 and 1999), and a multiple time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion (2005 and 2013). He is also the current G.A.M.E. Lt. Heavy Champion and the current U.S. Valetudo Lt. Heavy Champion. He was named the Yamasaki-Dalla Jiu-Jitsy Champion in 1996, the Virginia Free Fighting Lt. Heavy Champion in 1996, and the Gracie Open Jiu-Jitsu Lt. Heavy Champion in 1997. Additionally, he was a silver medalist in the 1999 National Brazilian Team Championships.

After obtaining success in the fighting world, Irvin decided to re-dedicate himself to the school he had opened in 1996. He had previously earned a marketing degree at Bowie State University, and, drawing on the skills he learned while obtaining this degree, he used an aggressive, direct marketing approach to attract new students. Although his approach was criticized by some veterans of the sport, his marketing strategies delivered a steady stream of students, and his school quickly became one of the country’s leading martial arts academies. Since then, his school has produced several well-known, quality fighters, such as Mike Fowler, JT Torres, and Ryan Hall.
As an instructor, Lloyd Irvin has earned many accolades. In 2002 he was named the United States Judo Federation International Coach of the Year. He is currently the only Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Coach in the World to be awarded this honor. Additionally, in 2004 he was named the North American Grappling Associations Instructor of the Year, and the Grapplers Quest 2004 Instructor of the Year. His school has produced a champion kid’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team and a champion adult Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/Submission wrestling team.

In 2001, Lloyd suffered a severe neck injury while competing in a Judo tournament. The neck injury left Irvin paralyzed for a period of time, and he was told by doctors that he would never be able to participate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu again. In 2011, Irvin told “Inside BJJ” that that period of time was “depressing” for him, and that the injury was the “toughest challenge” he faced since starting Jiu-Jitsu. However, with determination and perseverance, Irvin was able to return to the mat 13 months after the injury.

In 2005, Irvin traveled to Brazil to compete in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships, where he became a BJJ World Champion. In the same year, he was inducted to the Grappling Hall of Fame along with Royce Gracie.

Irvin is also a well-known author, and has published several bestselling books regarding grappling techniques and training techniques. These books include “The Grappling Game Plan,” “Grappling Nutrition,” and “NHB Strength Training.” Each of his books detail grappling techniques as well as training plans which aim to get average people in the best shape of their life, or to help improve the technique of those already involved in mixed martial arts fighting. His training plans utilize mixed martial arts techniques to help improve flexibility and strength, and provide results almost instantly. Additionally, “Grappling Nutrition” details the importance of nutrition for fighters, and outlines what they should eat to improve their results on the mat.

In addition to his experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Irvin is also proficient in Western Boxing, Muay Thai, Silat, Sombo, Knife, Stick, Freestyle and Valetudo fighting, and is featured in several Ralph Gracie videos. He has also taught fighting techniques to many different law enforcement and military agencies, including the Secret Service, FBI, DEA, SWAT, the Navy SEALs and Bounty Hunters.

Most recently, in 2013, after a four-year break from the sport, Irvin traveled to Brazil to compete in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships with the rest of his team. Irvin was 43 at the time, and had to severely increase his training and lose 31 pounds in less than five months in order to compete. Irvin won a gold medal at the Championships. His team won 12 gold medals overall, along with three silver and seven bronze. Lloyd Irvin was quoted as saying that the team result was “fantastic” and that his gold medal was just “the icing on the cake.”

Looking forward, Lloyd wishes to further excel in his chosen art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as keep newer generations of competitors rising through the ranks. The success of his business is something that wasn’t gained easily, so he will continue to work hard to make sure his studio remains one of the best in the United States. His track record of producing world champions in mixed martial arts as well as BJJ is unhindered and will continue to remain a standard for other studios to look to for inspiration. Using the successes of his students on the competition circuit will help to advance his studio’s notoriety in the martial arts world as well as bring in new students.

Irvin knows that the path to his success has been through skilled use of marketing. As new forms of advertising and marketing arise for use, he will also be exploring those options as a way to keep his business in the eye of the public. Social media has carried the flag as the new standard in the last few years, but it will soon step aside for the next big thing. When that form of marketing arises, Lloyd Irvin will be there to take advantage of a new way to spread the word about his studio. He hopes that his now million-dollar business model will continue to grow and produce the quality martial artists that he has worked extremely hard to produce. His skill in MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are also advancing with every day he studies and reflects on his teaching.

Education
Core Competencies
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Tae Kwon Do
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Worst Failures in Business

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