At this year’s IBJJF World Championship, a new American male black belt world champion was crowned. Mikey Musumeci is only the fourth American male ever to earn this prestigious title, and is the first man to win black belt Mundial gold since Rafael Lovato Jr. accomplished this feat in 2007.
I had an opportunity to chat briefly with the newly crowned champion to gain an understanding of how he accomplished such a lofty goal.
“When I was about 11 years old, my professor Emyr Bussade had me watch a Nino Schembri highlight video at the gym. I went home to watch it again and there was a Marcelo Garcia highlight video on the side of the video to watch next. After watching the Marcelo Garcia highlight video I fell in love with jiu jitsu and from that day on I became obsessed with it! I would watch videos and drill with a stuffed animal dog I had that was the same size as me for hours in my room watching jiu jitsu videos.”
As remarkable as Mikey is, what is even more remarkable is that he is not the first high level black belt champion in his family, in fact his sister Tammi has also accomplished amazing things in jiu jitsu, and the two of them have garnered a lot of smiles throughout the Jiu-Jitsu community by berimboloing each other in random public places. Mikey had only good things to say about his sister and her impact on his jiu-jitsu career thus far.
“My sister has had a tremendous part in my growth in jiu jitsu. We would drill and train everyday together so I always had someone consistent to train with which is so important. She is my best friend and I am so thankful to have her as a training partner and sister.”
Mikey’s success comes from a life of diligence and persistence. I thought it would be interesting to see how this young champion has attained the skills necessary to reach the top spot on the podium and achieve the arguably highest accolade in the sport.
“I typically train twice a day once in the morning and again at night depending on my school schedule and homework I have. I usually roll harder in the morning then at night. I lift no weights at all. I prefer just to focus on my technique and making it work regardless of my strength. Sometimes in the past I have done some injury prevention work for my body but for about a year I haven’t done any conditioning. I am currently a business major and I am in college at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL I am a full time student taking 15-17 credits every semester. My college offers a lot of online courses for this major which is why I was able to be in Las Vegas the past few semesters which also helps me make my schedule way more flexible. The balance of jiu jitsu and school is extremely difficult but not impossible. The trick is just becoming extremely efficient with time and making the most possible every training I do. My goal usually is to kill myself Saturday’s and Sunday’s with my school work which gives me less work to do during the week.”
My immediate thought after seeing Mikey achieve what so few have achieved was to the future. What will he do next? What are his big plans? One thing is for certain, the young champion will not rest on his laurels…
“What’s next for me is I want to rest and eat a lot of food for a while now lol. But on a serious note I have competed every month for the past year it really takes a toll on your body and mind so I just want a few months to just focus on technical improvements without any competitions coming up. My next goal is to win my second black belt world title and to become the most accomplished American jiu-jitsu competitor I can be. Possibly to win the adcc as well which is another dream of mine but I have so many years to accomplish that dream as well. I just want to keep improving in the gi.”
Mikey’s closing thoughts for our readers are what one would expect from a true star of the gentle art, the secret to his success…
“I hope that I can inspire and motivate more people to accomplish their dreams. I was never the strongest person, I was never the most athletic person, but one thing I was was obsessed. My obsession is what made me accomplish my dream so my message to everyone is if you want something get obsessed. Follow what you are passionate about.”
Mikey had these shout-outs and thank-yous
“I just want to thank my Florida people I was with since day one, my crew in Vegas and all the coaches who helped me get to where I am today Caio Terra, Emyr Bussade, Durinho (Gilbert Burns), The Mendes Brothers, Bruno Malfacine, Tagarela, Javill Byron, Marcelo Ribeiro and Jerry Fatjo.”
At Jiu-Jitsu Times we wish Mikey the very best in his career and hope to report on good things for his future. Congratulations on your success!