Kini Cole ( aka the Black Unicorn aka Grandinho) is aBrazilian Jiu Jitsu Competitor that is also a 2 X IBJJF World Champion 1 X IBJJF Pan Am Champion NAGA National Champion US Grappling Champion (Multiple) Multiple Copa Nova Champion (Multiple) Marine, LEO...........Need we say more? Thank you for your dedication to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and your service to our community!
Do you Serve or have you Served in the Military Law enforcement or as a First Responder? If so when and where?
I served in the Marine Corps as a 0321 Recon Marine / 2531 Radioman for 6 years. Also served as a police officer in New York City for 4 1/2 years and have been in federal law enforcement for almost 24 years now. During my career I have been fortunate to work in so many different disciplines from narcotics, gangs, weapons smuggling, undercover operations, and Emergency Response Team/ Special Response Team.
How Did You Begin Your Jiu Jitsu Journey? Where are you now on your Journey? Where do you train now?
I have been wrestling since I was 6 years old and competed in the Empire State Games and Big Apple games every year. In 1997 as a federal police officer on the Emergency Response Team I was given the opportunity to attend a group fighting course given by the FBI. The instructor was an FBI agent who was a Gracie Blue Belt back then a Blue Belt was like God lol. During the week long training I would take him down get him on his back but didn’t know any submissions. So at the end of the course he said you need to find a gym and train you are a natural at this. I looked for a gym to train at but back the schools were not as abundant as they are now. Eventually I started training and fighting NHB (MMA) with American Top Team. I trained with my good friend and well respected Black Belt Renato Tavares who at the time just came to the US and barely spoke any English so it was mostly pointing and figuring out things in Portuguese lol. After competing and wining 3 World Championships, 3 Pan Am Championships, and being a 5x Abu Dhabi Pro runner up I started training under Carlos David Oliviera becoming his second Black Belt in the US. I started my own association in 2013 and have a number of affiliate schools.
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
This is going to sound funny but when the 50 Shades books were out I wanted to know what the big deal was with the book so I bought it and started reading it. That book got me bumped up to first class on so many flights and women would just start talking to me about where I was in the book and my thoughts needless to say I had to read the whole series after that. Oh and my Recon Sniper Foundation shirts and Hoodies people ask me about them all the time when I wear them and where they can buy one to support the foundation so all about supporting my brothers.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
As a Brown Belt I had a Professor who I won’t name screw me over right before competing in Worlds he later tried to screw me out of my Black Belt. The lesson I leased was not everyone who portrays themselves as your friend is some have agendas choose your circle wisely.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
I would have to say the time I invest in the Tathletes at South Florida Tactical Athletes. I’m an instructor with a Special Operations Prep Program and we prepare the next generation of Operators from each branch of the military from Recon, PJ, Navy SEALS, EOD, and Rescue Swimmers. Watching these come into the program some of them super timid and then seeing them progress and eventually seeing them ultimately achieving their goals is the equivalent of being a dad watching your kid do what they said they wanted to do.
What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
Everyone that knows me knows that I am a huge Netflix binge watcher and even if the movie is horrible if I start watching I’m committed and have to watch all the way to the end. I also have OCD when it comes to putting things away like groceries lol.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? This is a great question as an 8 year I saw someone shot to death in front of me and I think that experience set the stage for how I processed trauma learned how to shove things down and not deal with them. So take that early childhood trauma marry it with two line of duty shootings one fatal, working at Ground Zero for 4 months, deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq, and all of the years of working in law enforcement it finally takes a toll on you. About 7 years ago after going to a meeting at a veterans group I realized that I had PTSD. Even being able to say it out loud now is like being able to breathe after holding your breath for a long time. For so long it was taboo to say it especially in the law enforcement community. So it was from that meeting that I decided to teach veterans Jiu Jitsu as a form of therapy. What I intended to help others was also therapeutic for for me. Sitting on the mat before we train I learned just by looking at faces who was having a rough day and we would give them the mat so they could get it off their chest and in the process civilians who trained gained a new respect for the people who have sacrificed for their freedoms. Then we get to training and I started calling it choke therapy because guys would roll and forget why they were upset before they came. These vets wound come in to train and say coach I got off of three more meds this month and I feel alive again. I tell people all the time that as a Professor I am not just a teacher I’m a priest, I’m a father figure, a counselor, a voice of reason, but most of all a shoulder to lean on.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student new to Jiu Jitsu. What advice should they ignore?”
Be the forever student and keep a notebook of everything you learn. The most important thing is to stick with it most people get to Blue Belt and quit like they won a championship belt Jiu jitsu is a marathon not a race.
“What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?”
I have been in law enforcement for 28 years now and what I am seeing happening today break my heart. 90% of law enforcement officers would give their lives to save someone they don’t even know. The things they see on a daily basis would be to much for most to bare. They see people at their worst and if they are lucky sometimes they get to see people at their best. With that being said that 10% need to be weeded out of our ranks. For a long time I have been a big proponent of instituting more Jiu Jitsu into law enforcement training regimens. If it was you would see less police piling up on subjects because they would be aware of how to control a subject more efficiently and effectively reducing the risk of injury to the officer and the subject.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)”When I feel overwhelmed or unfocused I go to the Ocean it is a place that calms and settles my soul something about looking at this massive body of water and thinking about how healing it is but also realizing it’s strength that makes me realize how resilient we as people are.Grandinho Shout Outs :Grandinho Brazilian Jiu Jitsu AssociationBalls So Fresh Men’s Grooming ProductsSouth Florida Tactical AthletesAnd I have to shout out the Recon Sniper Foundation for doing amazing things for our brothers in the Recon Community, Silent Tie Company, Veterans Response, Nutrition One, and E.M. Chainsaw carvings