Elite BJJ competitor Gianni Grippo has just promoted his first student to black belt, and Hunter Phares will likely be the first of many more to come over the next few years. Grippo was a fantastic athlete throughout his youth and eventually found Jiu-Jitsu at the Renzo Gracie Academy. Although that’s where he was first introduced to the sport, he eventually switched to Alliance Jiu-Jitsu in order to train under Marcelo Garcia. After being promoted to black belt himself in 2013, Gianni Grippo went on to establish himself as one of the top competitors in the United States by winning multiple major tournaments over the years.
Grippo has won multiple IBJJF Pan Championships both in the gi and in no gi throughout his career, along with three IBJJF no gi world championship titles as well. In the most recent years of his career though, Grippo has been spending a lot of his time focusing on teaching Jiu-Jitsu instead of just training in it. Unlike many competitors in his shoes, this hasn’t actually slowed Grippo down at all. In fact, he won his most recent major IBJJF title in 2022. He’s still been able to develop the next generation of talented grapplers at the same time as well, and now that work is starting to come to fruition.
Hunter Phares has just become the first black belt promoted directly under Gianni Grippo and he’s been training under him for several years, as well as other legendary competitors like Marcelo Garcia and Paulo Miyao. He’s also a great demonstration of the circle of life in Jiu-Jitsu too, as he is currently an instructor at Evolution Muay Thai in New York City and is promoting his own students to coloured belts as well. It’ll be interesting to see what Phares is able to do now that he’s able to compete at the highest levels possible, if he chooses to do so.
Gianni Grippo announced the news that he had promoted his first student to black belt in a recent post to his official Instagram account with the following message:
“Hunter Phares: humble, hard-worker, helpful towards others, a true student of the game and now a jiujitsu black belt. It’s been quite the journey together through the years and now I’m honored to have Hunter as my first black belt.”
Hunter Phares also shared the news of his promotion along with his own thoughts on the moment: