Oswaldo Fadda

Oswaldo Fadda
Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
Born Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
January 15, 1921
Rio de Janeiro (state) Brazil Bento Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died April 1, 2005(2005-04-01) (aged 84)
Rio de Janeiro (state) Brazil Bento Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bacterial pnuemonia
Other names Mestre Fadda
Nationality Brazilian
Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Team Academia Fadda
Teacher(s) Luis França
Rank      9th degree red belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[1]
Years active 1937-early 2000s
last updated on: June 15, 2011

Oswaldo Baptista Fadda (January 15, 1921 - April 1, 2005) was a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reaching the rank of "nono grau", a ninth grade red belt. He is known for being one of the highest ranked non-Gracie black belts and also for teaching students from the poorer areas of Rio de Janeiro, where jiu-jitsu was regarded as a upper-class sport. Fadda's lineage, the most prominent second to Carlos Gracie lineage, still survives through his links with today's teams such as Nova União, Grappling Fight Team,[2] as well as Deo Jiu-Jitsu and Equipe Mestre Wilson Jiu-Jitsu.



Early life

Fadda was born in Bento Ribeiro, a suburb in the north of Rio de Janeiro. At the age of seventeen, while in the Brazilian Marines he began to study jiu jitsu under Luis França, a black belt under Mitsuyo Maeda. Maeda was a expert judōka with direct lineage to the founder of judo, Kanō Jigorō, who had travelled around the world as a prize fighter while also teaching the locals self defence techniques. After settling in Belém in 1917, Maeda had continued to teach jiu jitsu to a select group of students (including França and Carlos Gracie).

By 1942, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was becoming well known in Brazil, although the prices of tuition were too high for most residents of Rio. Fadda had received his own black belt from França and soon started teaching jiu jitsu free of charge in unorthodox locations such as public parks and beaches, often without the aid of crash mats, aiming to spread the art of jiu-jitsu to the poorer folk. Fadda also saw jiu-jitsu as a way to help people with physical or mental disabilities, especially the city's numerous polio victims. With no real income from his teaching he was forced to advertise within the obituary section of the local newspaper.

Despite being regarded by the Gracie family as an outcast, Fadda managed to open his own academy on the outskirts of Rio on January 27, 1950.[3] He and his students began specialising in the use of footlocks, an often ignored part of the jiu-jitsu curriculum. The next year, Fadda felt confident that his school was ready for the next step and issued a challenge to the Gracies through the media: "We wish to challenge the Gracies, we respect them like the formidable adversaries they are but we do not fear them. We have 20 pupils ready for the dispute".

The challenge

Hélio Gracie accepted the challenge and the two teams fought at Gracie's academy. Fadda's team emerged victorious, making good use of their knowledge of footlocks, in which the opposition was lacking. José Guimarães one of Fadda's pupils choked Gracie's "Leonidas" unconscious. Oswaldo himself became the first man to beat Hélio in competition. After the challenge, Fadda gave an interview for the "Revista do Esporte" (sport magazine) "We finished with the Gracie's tabu". Also Hélio Gracie in a interview to news paper said "All you need is one Fadda to show that Jiu-Jitsu is not the Gracie's privilege". The Gracies had previously derided the holds as "suburban technique" but were quick to applaud Fadda's win as a sign that jiu jitsu was for everyone, not just the well off. The result of the challenge was well publicised across Brazil and many new students arrived at Fadda's school seeking tuition. The added notoriety of the win also attracted local hard man who wanted to challenge Fadda themselves. This was such a regular occurrence that time was set aside every week specifically for this purpose. A long standing belief is that Fadda and his students never lost a fight.

Later life

Oswaldo Fadda attained the rank of ninth degree red belt, the highest possible BJJ honour for a non-Gracie. Ever humble, he lived out the rest of his life in his home suburb of Bento Ribeiro, suffering for Alzheimer's in his later years. He died of bacterial pneumonia on April 1, 2005 at the age of 84.

Fadda family

Oswaldo Fadda's brother Humberto was also a jiu-jitsu instructor and ran the Cascadura branch of Academia Fadda.[4] Fadda family is represented in today's jiu-jitsu by Master Hélio Fadda, the son of Humberto Fadda who named him after Hélio Gracie.[5] In 2009, an event was held in Paracambi in honour of Hélio Fadda.[5][6]


Kanō Jigorō → Tomita Tsunejirō → Mitsuyo Maeda → Luis França → Oswaldo Fadda

See also

  • List of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners


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