The next time you complain that you’re all thumbs, think about the amazing achievements of the Brazil-born Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Jean Jacques Machado. As one of the five marvelous Machado brothers (Carlos, Roger, Rigan and John) and nephew of BJJ co-founder Carlos Gracie, Jean Jacques Machado was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. This is a congenital birth defect that left his left hand with only his pinkie and thumb. However, it wouldn’t be long before Machado would be better known for his grappling skills and signature rear-naked choke. Machado began studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Carlos Gracie at an early age. Under Gracie’s tutelage, Machado received his black belt and went on to win every major competition and capture every major BJJ title in Brazil from 1982 to 1992. Machado gained further notoriety by winning a variety of sambo, grappling and BJJ competitions in the United States. However, he eventually attained worldwide recognition when he won first place in his weight class at the highly prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Submission Wrestling Championships in 1999. Because of his accomplishments, Machado remains one of the most well-regarded grappling instructors in the world. For more on Jean Jacques Machado's academy and his online seminars, check out JeanJacquesMachado.com.

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