Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Japanese Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, IBJJF World Senior Jiu Jitsu Champion
Julio has been involved in health and fitness for twenty years as a competitor, trainer and journalist. He won a national bodybuilding title at the age of nineteen and shortly afterwards, began training in Judo and Japanese Jiu Jitsu under 7th dan and Masters World Champion Jack Krystek. At this time, Mr. Rivera also began boxing under the guidance of NYPD boxing team coach and professional trainer David Siev.
Sensei Julio began competing in Judo early in his training, placing well at several local competitions, including the Northeastern, Starrett Cup and Liberty Bell. While still a green belt, he began to help teach classes at the dojo, sparking a passion for sharing knowledge and helping him develop his style of instruction.
After six years of training, Mr. Rivera earned his blackbelt in Jiu Jitsu Modern Style, a form of the Japanese art developed by Sensei Jack and his brother Albert, which includes throws, joint locks and chokes as well as some limited striking techniques. Two months later he was awarded his Judo black belt.
During this time, Sensei Jack, one of a handful of black belts in HAGANAH, began teaching his students this no nonsense Israeli Self Defense style. Because the curriculum is completed in just four months before being repeated, Sensei Julio became quite proficient in three years, and began fusing the techniques with his Judo and Jiu Jitsu training for self defense purposes.
Sensei Julio then became head instructor and manager of Premier Martial Arts in Midtown Manhattan, and began training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Renzo Gracie Academy, earning his blue belt under Gregor Gracie. He trained briefly under Eduardo Santos of Lotus Club before becoming manager as well as Judo, kickboxing and self defense instructor for World BJJ and MMA champion Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro at his New York City academy.
In January of 2012, Sensei Julio received his Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Judo from Sensei Jack Krystek. In October of the same year, Sensei Julio won the World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu title in the Senior 1 Brown Belt division, the first ever winner at the inaugural event. In December of 2014, he was awarded the black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro.
Sensei Julio has trained students who are agents and officers from the NYPD, Customs and Border Patrol, Secret Service and private security agencies. He has also helped train and corner MMA fighters.
Sensei Julio continues to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA with Shaolin and Bellator Champion Marcos "Loro" Galvao. Sensei Julio has also trained MMA with UFC World Champion Anderson Silva as well as Muay Thai with Aziz Nabih at the renowned Sitan Academy.
A graduate of New York University's print journalism program, Sensei Julio has contributed articles on health, fitness and martial arts to publications such as Grappling, Oxygen, Physical, Muscle and Fitness, Advantig Health and Sport and the Association of Professional Martial Artists, among others.
He has appeared as an expert on fitness or martial arts on PBS, MTV, The Channel 11 news, National Geographic, MSNBC, GeoBeats and ExpertVillage.com. As the former co-host of the national PBS teen magazine show "In The Mix", Julio reported on issues important to young adults, including a story on gun violence which won a local Emmy for community service. He has been certified as a coach by USA Judo and as a personal trainer by the International Fitness Association.