Under the watch of Professors Alberto Crane and Vinicius Draculino, GMA Gracie Barra Burbank promoted Bruno O’Hara and Matthew Pollino to the rank of black belt on Tuesday evening.
O’Hara and Pollino are the first two black belts to come out of the Gracie Barra Burbank academy, which is headed by Professor Crane.
“They just have such a great attitude and are humble,” Crane told GRACIEMAG.com. “I’m just really proud I’ve been able to award them their black belts and be part of their journey.”
O’Hara first started taking Jiu-Jitsu in 2001. His 12-year journey brought him to Crane’s Burbank, Calif. academy, where he said he finds a strong bond with those close to him.
“I’m here to inspire and be inspired,” newly minted black-blet O’Hara said. “I’m grateful to have such wonderful friends and family through BJJ. I am so honored to be learning under Professor Crane and Coach Artin Saginian.”
Pollino started rolling even earlier than his friend, O’Hara, first throwing on a Jiu-Jitsu gi in 2000. He has participated in other martial arts over the past 20 years and succeeded in earning his BJJ black belt, even after suffering through injuries that have left others without the ability to walk, let alone train.
Professor Crane is a third-degree black belt under Professor Draculino, and his Burbank academy opened in 2010.