Emiliano's passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu began when he saw the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in the fall of 1993. A slim 170 lb. man named Royce Gracie defeated multiple opponents of greater size and strength. "I didn't know or understand what he was doing, but I saw that it worked, and he came out victorious." Emiliano knew right then that he wanted to try Jiu Jitsu. In the early 1990's one of the few ways to get instruction in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was to attend seminars, so Emiliano's very first introduciton to the art came at a seminar hosted by Royce Gracie in Atlanta. By early 1994 Emiliano was training in Tallahassee at a Jiu Jitsu school run by Harlan Taylor, one of Royce Gracie's first Black Belts.
Emiliano Cardona Jr has continued his Jiu Jitsu education throughout the years receiving promotions from Harlan Taylor, Pedro Valente, Royce Gracie and the Gracie Academy. In January 2015 Emiliano received his instructor certification and received the blessing of the Gracie Academy to open up a Gracie Certified Training Center in Tampa, FL. He has had the unique opportunity to train all over the country at various Jiu Jitsu schools and even in foreign countries. He sifts through the best of what he experienced and brings it home to the school in Tampa.
Emiliano is a founding member of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA club at the University of South Florida. The club has seen as many as 50 students compete in jiu jitsu and MMA all over Florida.
Emiliano is now the head instructor at Gracie Martial Arts Tampa Jiu Jitsu and Self-Defense a Gracie Certified Training Center where he continues to learn. He is a father of five, loves to surf, and play rugby when possible.