Who is AJ?
AJ Agazarm is a leading figure of an amazing generation of black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors to have come from the United States of America, considered by many as the strongest generation of grapplers to have come from the US. Being a former DI wrestler, AJ Agazarm became known in the lower belt divisions for his fast paced game, his scrambles and his takedowns which earned him numerous titles, and his black belt awarded in 2013 by Eduardo de Lima and Carlos Gracie Junior.
AJ Agazarm was born in Hollywood, Florida – US. AJ competed in a wide variety of sports when growing up, becoming acquainted with wrestling in his teens, through a friend and fellow football teammate who believed Agazarm would do well if he applied for the wrestling team. AJ did a class, but at that time (9th grade) he chose to not follow it through. The following year, AJ’s parents placed him in the public school system to start his 10th grade year. Agazarm immediately signed up to the swimming team as well as the cross country running team. He soon noticed a flyer in the halls of the school advertising the wrestling team’s tryouts. He went to the tryouts and made the team, this would represent the beginning of a major shift in AJ’s sporting career, as he went on to win important championships during his high school career, these earned him a scholarship to a NAIA school in Williamsburg, KY. During AJ Agazarm’s first year in college, one of his teammates had become involved with MMA and was preparing for a fight. AJ traveled with him to the fight venue on the day of the bout. After one of the competitors failed to show up, and knowing of Agazarm’s success in wrestling, the promoter asked AJ if I would be willing to fight. Agazarm accepted, and was successful, winning his fight by way of first round rear naked choke, although by his own admission: “I didn’t even know what that was at the time”.
Telling his father of his MMA achievement, Agazarm’s patriarch asked AJ to start training jiu jitsu, believing it would be more suited for a career in mixed martial arts. When AJ returned from college for his summer vacation (2006), his dad took him to the neighboring Gracie Barra school, led by Eduardo de Lima. During that summer, AJ attended every single one of Eduardo’s classes, twice a day for 6 days a week. It was also during that period that Agazarm met Master Carlos Gracie Jr. who was in town for a seminar at Eduardo’s school. The atmosphere of Gracie Barra Clearwater, made AJ feel like he was part of a family, more than ‘just’ a team of competitors. the coach and the students genuinely cared for one another, which helped Agazarm train harder and move forward in the sport, as he felt he was not only doing it for himself, but for his Master and his comrades. Carlinhos Gracie was so impressed with AJ’s drive and ability to learn, he asked Agazarm if he wanted to move to Brazil with him where he could turn him into a champion. At that time, AJ had his own goals, which included a transfer to the Ohio State University where he could wrestle at division 1 and earn a degree in finance. For those reasons, he declined the offer AJ continued training under Eduardo’s guidance, being awarded his blue belt after 3 months. He participated in many local tournaments as well as the Pan American Championships in 2007, achieving a gold medal in his first year of Jiu Jitsu. When he arrived in Ohio to follow his dream, on the summer of 2007, he started training at a Relson Gracie’s Academy affiliate there, led by Robin Gieseler. He spent the following two months training with Gieseler in preparation for the World Championship that year, doing his strength and conditioning with Aaron Fry of Team Edge in New Albany, OH. With solid guidance from all coaches AJ won his first world title.
After the 2007 title, Agazarm was approached by Relson Gracie who explained that if he wanted to continue to train at Gieseler’s academy, he would have to switch teams. AJ felt very closely bonded with Gracie Barra and professor de Lima, so he chose to to put BJJ on hold for a while. AJ showed up at the World Championship in 2008 still bearing his blue belt. Upon his arrival, AJ’s coach Eduardo was contacted by the federation which informed him that people had written letters complaining, they mentioned that it was unfair for AJ to compete at blue belt again as he had won the division the previous year. As a result, coach de Lima promoted Agazarm to purple belt on the event. Agazarm continued to compete and train as a purple belt, getting promoted to brown belt in 2011 by Master Carlos and Eduardo de Lima. AJ finished his career at Ohio State, earning his degree in finance, after which Kayron Gracie offered him a job in California at his academy, meaning a second chance to teach and train full time. This time, AJ fully embraced the offer. The opportunity gave him a chance to travel all over the world competing and training in jiu jitsu, establishing himself as one of the top American prospects in the sport, which earned him his black belt in 2013, 7 years after he started Jiu Jitsu. He hit the ground running, winning the Brazilian National No Gi Championship that year, becoming the first foreigner to achieve the title.
- World No Gi Champion (2014)
- World Champion (2007 blue)
- Pan American No Gi Champion (2013)
- Pan American Champion (2012 brown)
- European No Gi Open Champion (2014 weight & absolute, 2013)
- American National Champion (2012 brown)
- Pan American No Gi Championship 2nd Place (2014 black – absolute)
- Pan American Championship 2nd Place (2013 brown)
- Pan American No Gi Championship 2nd Place (2012 brown – absolute)
- Brazilian National Championship 2nd Place (2013 brown – absolute)
- American National Championship 2nd Place (2013 weight & absolute)
- Pan American No Gi Championship 3rd Place (2014 black, 2013 black – absolute, 2012 brown)
- World No Gi Championship 3rd Place (2013)
- World Championship 3rd Place (2012 brown)
- European Open 3rd Place (2014 black, 2013 brown)
- European No Gi Open 3rd Place (2013 absolute)
- Brazilian National Championship 3rd Place (2013 brown)