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Gianni Grippo receives his black belt from prankster Marcelo Garcia

On Friday, Jan. 10, GMA Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York held their belt ceremony. Marking another successful year and one full year at his current location, the occasion was special for many involved.

For Gianni Grippo, his night changed in an instant. Literally. As all the colored belts made their way up to the front for new belts and stripes, the last of the brown belts were called. Then, Marcelo spoke about a student who hadn’t been at the academy for very long but who has made an impression. He excused himself to his office in the back so he could grab something. When he walked to the front, in his hands was a folded brown belt with four perfectly placed stripes.

Gianni’s name was called and he approached the front to receive the belt. A brown belt for over two years and a multiple-time world champion including at brown belt last year, Gianni didn’t look all that thrilled. Marcelo told him to face the room of his 200 MG peers and as his belt was placed around his waist, the crowd cheered. The belt was a black belt.

It took a second for Gianni to realize why everyone was suddenly so excited but he soon realized and burst into tears. Gianni is Marcelo’s fourth black belt.

Take a look at the magic tricks of Marcelo Garcia in the photos below by John ‘Ric’ Ricard:

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