Adisa Banjoko is an award-winning scholar, author, and cultural historian. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Banjoko instructs students of all ages in this martial art, and additionally teaches meditation, philosophy, and chess fundamentals as part of a first-of-its-kind fusion approach to personal development that he created. His approach has been used by schools from elementary through university levels, as well as non-profits.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Banjoko has been committed to community work for the majority of his professional life. His work forces us to rethink how we learn and what we learn; and thanks to his uncanny ability to to find and then amplify synergistic intercultural patterns among art, culture, and education, Banjoko has been successful over the past 20 years in making an impact where it is needed most in the communities he serves.
Banjoko’s cultural bona fides are as impressive as his professional impact. As a teen and young adult, he was a pioneering Hip Hop artist who rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Eazy-E and Tupac Shakur. His experiences as an artist led to a career in Hip Hop journalism and passions for writing and speaking that he pursues to this day. Banjoko is an autodidact who believes his teaching modalities can help people take ownership of, and be more active in, their own development journeys, no matter the age.
Adisa Banjoko is a master of the written and spoken narrative, and has given lectures at Harvard, Oberlin, University of Connecticut, Stanford, Brown University, and juvenile halls across the country. He is also the author of two works on his own innovative Jiu-Jitsu techniques (Iron Hook Scroll and Cloud Scroll), which are trusted by top competitors, and which Banjoko has taught in seminars both domestically and internationally.
Bankjoko is currently finalizing preparations for the launch of his newly founded 64 Blocks organization, a non-profit that fuses jiu-jitsu, chess, and stoic philosophy for mental and physical wellness. He is also the host of the Bishop Chronicles podcast (@bishopchronicles), where he shares insights on stoic resilience and the art of perseverance.
Book Adisa Banjoko today for lectures and panel discussions, as well as company/group/private lessons in your area.
- 2006: Adisa Banjoko creates and manages the non-profit Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF), which teaches children chess, Jiu-Jitsu and Hip-Hop wisdom as a way to develop life skills and personal self-improvement. HHCF garners international acclaim for its work with disadvantaged and incarcerated youth.
- 2014: Adisa Banjoko serves as guest curator for the World Chess Hall of Fame’s Living Like Kings: The Unexpected Collision of Chess and Hip-Hop exhibition. As part of his role, Banjoko trains curation staff. The exhibition goes on to break the organization’s attendance record, previously held by an exhibition related to chess great Bobby Fischer.
- 2017: Adisa Banjoko is appointed Head Chess & Jiu-Jitsu Instructor at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA.
- 2018: Adisa Bajoko serves as guest curator for the Oakland Museum of CA’s Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom exhibition. The show receives significant attention, thanks to its highlighting of Hip Hop’s effect on how society sees education, fashion, and youth culture.
- 2020: Adisa Banjoko is recognized as a Yerba Buena Center of the Arts 100 Honoree for his long-standing commitment to teaching underserved youth throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
- 2021:Adisa Banjoko receives the Chess Journalist Award for his Chess Life Magazine cover story on Hip Hop pioneer and chess aficionado, RZA from Wu-Tang Clan.
- 2022: Adisa Banjoko executive produces Rhythm of the Dragon, a short film on Bruce Lee’s impact on youth culture and music for the Chinese Historical Society of America.