Mount Airy’s marital arts world champion in residence regained his crown last month.
Brazilian native Lucas Alves Lepri, the head coach of the American Martial Arts Academy’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program in Mount Airy, claimed his sixth world championship in the sport during the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Foundation’s World Championships, held in Long Beach, California on June 2-5. Lepri, representing the Alliance academy (which won first place as a team), placed first overall in the Adult Male Lightweight division (Black Belt) of the championships.
Last year, competing in the same division, Lepri had lost the championship to countryman Michael Alexandre Langhi. However, he had previously been world champion in 2007 and 2014, second in the world in 2005, 2008 and 2012 along with 2015, and third in 2004, 2010 and 2013. He also holds three other championships in other disciplines during his career as a world-class BJJ practitioner.
Lepri teaches the sport at the Northern Wellness & Fitness Center in Mount Airy.
“It is such an honor to bring our passion for Jiu-Jitsu to Mount Airy,” Lepri said. “Due to its practical application and proven success in sports such as MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become one of the fastest growing martial arts in the United States.”
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an evolution of the Japanese martial art known as judo, which has diverged from its parent in that BJJ is more of a sport than a form of combat, and has eliminated some judo moves that were oriented toward its original purpose. It was developed as an off-shoot from Japanese judo (then known as jiu-jitsu in the Western world) during the first half of the 20th century, when the martial art was introduced to Brazil. Like standard judo, BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger, heavier assailant with proper technique.
“We have seen a very positive response since opening our doors in Mount Airy in January of this year,” said Kevin Pyles, spokesman for the American Martial Arts Academy, which offers BJJ classes three days per week at the Northern Center, and up to six days a week in other locations.
The American Martial Arts Academy started in 1998 as one of the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training facilities in the state. Classes are held three days a week at Northern Center, located at 280 North Pointe Blvd.
“Being directly affiliated with Lucas Lepri, who is one of the most decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jiu athletes in the world today, has really helped our students meet their goals,” says AMAA General Manager Lonnie Price. “To have Lucas and his instructors accessible right here in Mount Airy is incredible.”
For more information on how to sign up for classes in Mount Airy, contact the Center at (336) 783-0399. For more information on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Winston-Salem, contact Price at (336) 765-1950 or visit www.ChooseAMAA.com.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.