Certified Instructor Information
Certified School Director
2017 Started Teaching
Record of Martial Rank
2020 Senior 2° Black Belt
2018 Senior 1° Black Belt
1980 Started Training
Mario Trujillo started training in the martial arts when he was around 8 years old in Nogales, AZ. His much older cousin was a black belt in Jeet Kune Do / Gung Fu at a school in Rio Rico, AZ, and he believed Mario would enjoy and benefit from training at the same school. From this first exposure to the martial arts, he was instantly hooked. He would continue training for over 4 years in this style. It was during this time that he would be first introduced to tournament competitions where he would regularly place in Kata (Forms), and Kumite (Sparring) events. Unfortunately due to unforeseen events, the Jeet Kune Do school would be forced to close the Rio Rico dojo, and move locations to Mexico, and as such Mario was unable to continue to attend classes.
Mario never lost interest in the martial arts and during his high school years begin training in Tae Kwon Do at a local community center. Upon graduating high school he moved to Tucson, AZ, but tried to continue training during trips back home to Nogales. That proved to be difficult to accomplish however, and it would be a couple of years before he would train martial arts again. He joined a Tucson ITF Tae Kwon Do school and trained in that style for a few years. A career change occurred and he found himself working two jobs, one of which involved over an hour commute each way, and in turn proved difficult to continue training. It would be a few years later when he would be introduced to the art of American Kenpo and begin training in that system. During this time he would also become a father, and as his son grew older his son would show great interests in sports. Mario would end up taking on coaching positions on his son’s little league baseball teams which is where he first learned to develop his mentorship skills. His son took an interest to martial arts and began training with Young Champions of America – Karate (Goju-ryu). His son progressed quickly and upon reaching Brown Belt, his head instructor suggested he train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in tandem. It was here where Mario would get his first exposure to BJJ training alongside his son.
Interests changed in the sports world for his son as he opted for football and wrestling, and along with other life circumstances found Mario once again placing his martial arts journey on hold. It wouldn’t be until years later when Mario and his wife Amy would be looking for an extra-curricular activity for their daughter Hayden to help with focus, discipline, and physical fitness, that Mario found himself back at training American Kenpo at the American Institute of Kenpo. (Please read his wife’s, Amy Trujillo’s, Instructor Bio for full back story).
Upon promoting to Brown Belt at The American Institute of Kenpo, Mario joined the Instructors Training Program and began assisting with teaching classes. With his prior coaching experience and varied experience with different martial arts styles he is able to dynamically adapt and adjust teaching methods and techniques in order to convey the curriculum effectively based on each student’s needs. He has been awarded and nominated in various categories such as Black Belt of the Year, and Instructor of the Year, multiple times over the course of his martial arts journey at the American Institute of Kenpo's yearly Awards Banquet. He can be found attending and teaching classes of all age groups and ranks every day AIK is open.
Mr. Trujillo earned his 1st Degree Black Belt in 2018, and was promoted to his current rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt in 2020. He currently also trains at a different academy in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which Mr. Pilch and the American Institute of Kenpo fully supports. He is active in the the American Institute of Kenpo advanced sparring classes where he continues to develop his skillset in the areas of boxing, kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA.
The American Institute of Kenpo is proud to have Mr. Trujillo as one of its alumni and looks forward to his future contributions as a student, instructor, and school director.
~Last Updated 1/4/2022