Howard Student Becomes First African-American World Jiu Jitsu Champion

If you know MMA, then you know it is a well-circulated joke/rumor that African-American men either do not like to grapple or aren’t good at it. 

Well, Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor is irrefutable proof of that notion being false. The Howard University senior majoring in sports management recently was crowned the 5th International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s World Champion, making him the very first African-American to hold the title.


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Hill-Taylor comes from Lloyd Irvin’s Camp Springs, Maryland camp. Irvin is a 4th-degree black belt and trainer to MMA fighters Brandon “The Truth” Vera and Mike “The Hulk” Easton, to name a few. 

On Monday, June 4, Hill-Taylor locked former IBJJF World Champion Leonardo Saggioro into a position he couldnt escape, and the announcer proclaimed Hill-Taylor the new champ.

To be the 2018 Brazil Jiu-Jitsu Champion at the Black Belt level and to be the first African-American to achieve that title is pretty crazy honestly. I have been working for this for 14 years; its the reflection of a lot of hard work and a lot of struggles, said Hill-Taylor.

The 20-year-old will enter his last semester at Howard when the 2018-19 school year begins. Upon graduation, he plans to travel more to compete in order to perfect his sport and he plans to use his degree to increase the presence of Jiu-Jitsu in his community.

When Im in school, I still train the same amount of days, but I cant always do two-a-days if I have a lot of homework or studying to do, says Hill-Taylor in a recent Jiu-Jitsu Times interview.

Hill-Taylor competes at 154 pounds and has frequently been labeled the Featherweight King by several sportscasters for his penchant to break records. He is a nine-time champion in addition to other accolades. 

The student is sponsored by SPYDER and is currently training to compete in the SPYDER Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships quarterfinals in Korea on July 21. 

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