The Monacos: Father & Son Jiu Jitsu
“I know it’s only a matter of time before he leapfrogs me!”
BEN YOSEF: You two seem like the ultimate father and son team! What is your relationship like?
MARC MONACO: We’ve always been really close and supportive of each other’s goals. I always took Dorian to the gym with me since he was a baby, and I had him in sports since he was 5 years old! It was a “no brainer” to get him involved in Jiu Jitsu when he was 7, and we’ve been training and supporting each other in competition ever since! That kid is my best friend.
DORIAN MONACO: We have a very strong connection and enjoy keeping our bodies healthy. We share our fitness and life goals on the daily and work hard to achieve them.
BEN YOSEF: Love it! Dorian, do you remember those early days of being introduced to the sport? And were you instantly “into it”?
DORIAN: Yes, I was always in the gym watching jujitsu classes at an early age a couple years before I chose to put a gi on.
BEN: I had to google what a “gi” was. –laughs- How old were you when you put on your first gi? Also, what is your age now?
DORIAN: I was 7 years old when I put my first gi on and I am now 17 years old.
BEN: Nice! Did you have any matches/fights at that young age?
DORIAN: I didn’t compete in my first tournament until I was 9, where I took a gold medal.
BEN: Nice! You must have been the toughest kid on the block! I understand that there are several types of Jiu Jitsu. Which is the Monaco specialty?
MARC: We practice the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
AT THIS POINT IN THE INTERVIEW THE MONACOS TRAVELED TO LAS VEGAS SO THAT DORIAN COULD COMPETE IN THE IBJJF AMERICAN NATIONALS
MARC: Dorian wins Gold at IBJJF American Nationals in Adult Purple Belt Nogi!
BEN: Boom! Congratulations! He is in there with the adults?
MARC: Yes, Adult Purple Belt Rooster Weight Division.
BEN: That’s AWESOME! How proud of your son are you?
MARC: I’ve always been proud of Dorian, no matter what he has done. He’s always been an athlete, and played sports on both winning and losing teams. So, although he is very competitive, he has tasted both victory and defeat. That’s what has made him so strong and determined in BJJ competition! I always tell him (and mean it) that I couldn’t be prouder.
BEN: How do the events like Nationals work? Do you end up going against several guys, like a tournament…or just one guy?
DORIAN: Tournaments at the highest level, including Nationals, are set up in brackets. So you will face multiple people.
MARC: IBJJF Nationals are set up in bracket format within skill/belt levels.
BEN: How many matches have you both competed in? And which one was your greatest achievement?
DORIAN: I’ve had about 120 matches in total. Gold at Nationals is my greatest achievement so far especially since it is my first big title at a higher skill level.
MARC: I’ve competed in a lot of tournaments and Superfights since 2004 and do not even recall how many matches I have fought. However, Dorian has definitely competed in more matches than me!
My greatest achievement in BJJ competition is probably a tossup between winning Gold at the IBJJF Miami Open in 2011 as a new Brown belt. Because it was my first Gold at any rank in the IBJJF. AND my final Black belt Superfight in 2018 because all 3 of my boys were there and saw me win my match. This was the first and only time all 3 of my kids saw me compete in person, so it was a very proud moment.
BEN: Do you guys ever spar against each other? I would assume that you do. What is that like?
MARC: We spar or grapple with each other all the time! I’ve been rolling with him since he was little, and I cant go easy on him anymore now that he’s reached a high level. I know it’s only a matter of time before he leapfrogs me!
BEN: Dorian, how far would you like to go in BJJ? Where do you see yourself within the sport in the years to come?
DORIAN: My plan is to go far in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu and to compete among the best athletes in the world and become one of them. I see myself being a World Champion in the years to come.
BEN: What do you think of your dad’s involvement and success in Physique Competitions? And would you ever compete in a Physique Competition?
DORIAN: I am proud of my dad for doing what he does because I know how serious he takes his preparation and thrives for the best result. I don’t know anyone else more disciplined and hard-working than him. I do enjoy watching the competitions and have a lot of support for my dad. But I am so passionate about Jiu-Jitsu that I am 100% dedicated to it and don’t see myself stepping on a stage for a Physique Competition.
BEN: How pumped are you guys to be featured in this issue of ATHLETIC Magazine together?
MARC: I’m very excited and honored to be featured with my son in this issue of ATHLETIC Magazine! Dorian is a major reason for my success because he’s extremely supportive and we both push each other. It’s great to share a feature with him.
DORIAN: I am very excited to be featured in this issue of ATHLETIC and I am hopeful to inspire and motivate others to always work hard for what they want.
BEN: What’s next for you guys?
MARC: Next up for me is the IPL Southwest Grand Prix in Phoenix on September 18th, which will also be my Birthday. I’m competing in Pro Masters Athletic again, as well as trying for my Pro Cards in Sports Model Masters and Open.
DORIAN: My next big tournament is the Pan American Championship in September. ATHLETIC
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