Ricardo Libório, an internationally known martial artist, co-founder of American Top Team and Brazilian Top Team and instructor for UCF’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) club. He is a 6th degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a black belt in judo.
American Top Team is certified to teach judo to visually impaired students; Liborio’s daughter, Bella, was rendered blind from illness before she turned 2 years old.
When is it offered?
Debuts Fall 2019 and is expected to be offered again in Spring.
None for PEM 2402; PEM 2402 is a prerequisite for PEM 2403.
About the Professor
“I’m very excited to start teaching this unique course of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the students at UCF,” Libório says. “As this is a first for a major university to offer this type of accredited course, I hope to set a benchmark for other universities to follow.”
When Andrea Snead ’18MA, director of UCF Recreation and Wellness Center’s Sport Clubs and Inclusive Recreation, first heard that Libório wanted to be involved with UCF’s martial arts club, she couldn’t believe it.
“I knew exactly who he was,” Snead says. “I’m a huge MMA fan and American Top Team fan.”
Libório has hosted free martial arts camps and sports clinics for the visually impaired and for Wounded Warriors, Snead says, in addition to supporting UCF’s BJJ club.
“He is 100 percent dialed in to UCF,” Snead says.
What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
BJJ is a martial art that utilizes grappling, which does not involve striking or the use of weapons. Instead, BJJ participants use a variety of holds to subdue their opponent.
Why is this course offered?
Libório and Associate Professor David Fukuda worked for about a year to add BJJ to UCF’s course offerings. Libório and Fukuda have seen the explosive growth of BJJ over the past 10 years.
Libório, Fukuda and Badrudeen organized a BJJ event this past March to bring three superstar mixed-martial artists — Jacare Souza, an internationally known MMA and submission grappler; Gezary Matuda, an international BJJ champion; and Rodolfo Vieira, an MMA fighter with the Ultimate Fighting Championship — to the RWC for a teaching seminar.
“I believe that through this sport we can help the practitioners not just physically but mentally, as well. I hope to inspire more students, professionals and the community to make this a college sport one day.” — Ricardo Libório, instructor
The event drew approximately 200 martial artists and 30 black belts from across Florida, and also earned the “Event of the Year” award from the RWC. Its success solidified Libório and Fukuda’s desire to see UCF offer BJJ as an elective.
A big draw to the new electives, Fukuda predicts, will be Libório’s agreement to teach the BJJ course.
Fukuda, along with several other faculty members in the School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy, have practiced martial arts for years. The BJJ club, which meets Monday through Friday at the RWC from 1 to 3 p.m., has a black belt instructor who usually teaches Mondays and Wednesdays. The BJJ elective course was scheduled to allow students in the course the opportunity to attend the free club.
Libório has also begun introducing BJJ into some Orlando public schools, including Edgewater High School.
“I believe that through this sport we can help the practitioners not just physically but mentally, as well. I hope to inspire more students, professionals and the community to make this a college sport one day,” he says.