Daniel Hilal, a graduate of political science from the American University of Beirut and a professional MMA fighter, was born into a culture where BJJ was a concept fighters could only dream of. Lebanon has no federations, no academy, no black-belts, and no sign of hope, until now.
Daniel began his martial arts journey at the age of 11 with Karate. Shortly after, he was introduced to Judo, and this is where it all began for him. After achieving a well-deserved brown belt in Judo, Daniel felt he needed to raise the bar and decided to upgrade his arsenal of techniques and adapt to training without the gi to become an even more complete grappler. The fast-paced activity and explosiveness of Freestyle Wrestling was very appealing to him. He joined the Taadod Wrestling Club in Beirut, and through his determination, hard work, and supportive team of wrestlers, he excelled quickly, progressing from a local competitor to a regional talent. In 2009-2010, Daniel easily topped his rivals in Lebanon without a single loss, taking first place in the Lebanese Championship at -66kg and 5th in the Arab Championship in Doha, Qatar, at -60kg. To wrap up the year, Daniel made his first professional MMA debut in Jordan’s Desert Force Championship.
Daniel has had a passion for grappling from the start. BJJ, in specific, has long been Daniel’s preferred martial art. He did everything possible to fuel this passion, which consisted of, hosting seminars, demonstrations, training relentlessly, and even holding classes. Within Lebanon, all Daniel could do was gather bits and pieces of BJJ to feed this passion.
December 23, 2010 marked an historical day for Lebanon when Daniel was promoted to blue belt under the patronage of 3G black belt Fadi Khouri, marking this occasion as the first ever official BJJ promotion in the country. It was through Fadi’s empathy and good judgment that Daniel’s flame for BJJ was kindled and the sport took root in Lebanon. Up until recently, Daniel was a BJJ orphan. He was alone in his training, and in his goal. Thanks to Fadi Khouri, Daniel is no longer an orphan. He finally found a home, a home called Third Generation Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.