Monday, October 3, 2011

The Grand Master Oswaldo Baptista Fadda

Oswaldo Fadda (15th of January 1921 until 1st of April 2005) was one of the greatest figures in Jiu Jitsu History. Not comming from a Gracie lineage, Fadda reached the “nono grau” (9th Dan) – Red Belt in BJJ, the greatest honour a non Gracie can ever achieve, he was also the first instructor to take Jiu Jitsu to the poor(er) comunities living in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro were only the rich practiced the sport.

Oswaldo Fadda Details
Full Name: Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis França > Oswaldo Fadda
Favourite Technique: His school was famous for using footlocks
Association/Team: Academia FADDA

Oswaldo Fadda Biography
Oswaldo Fadda was born in Bento Ribeiro a City in the State of Rio de Janeiro on the 15th of January 1921. Fadda started training in 1937 after he joined the Brazilian Marines. His training began with Luis França one of Mitsuyo Maeda’s students that earned his belt at the same time Carlos Gracie was taught Jiu Jitsu. Oswaldo Fadda received his Black Belt from the hands of his instructor (França) in 1942 and soon started giving Jiu Jitsu classes in his home town on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Always trying to promote the BJJ way of life through discipline and honour, he would often do demonstrations in public squares, beaches, favelas (slums), ouside churches and even circuses and church patios.
On the 27th of January 1950 Oswaldo was abble to finally open his very own academy fully dedicated to Jiu Jitsu, but he was always seen as an outcast by the Gracie’s who failed to see the potential of a BJJ team in the suburbs. In 1951 Fadda issued a challenge to the Gracie Academy. He issued the contest through the Media stating in the Globo journal: “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.” Helio gracie accepted to have his students face Fadda’s. The event took place in the Gracie Academy and Fadda’s team won, making better use of their footlock knowledge, something the Gracie’s lacked and frowned uppon ever since, calling it “suburban technique” (Tecnica de Suburbano). The highlight of the competition was when Fadda’s pupil “José Guimarães” choked Gracie’s “Leonidas” to sleep.
The event had good media coverage, which had a double effect. While the victories gave Oswaldo’s team notoriety (and more students) it also brought the interest of all the hardman of the nearby cities who would often come over to the academy to issue challenges to Fadda and his students. The occurence gained such proportions that Fadda decided to make a weekly event in which all challengers could compete against his students in a closed door environment. For many years, these fights took place and it is said that never did Jiu Jitsu lose a fight.

Oswaldo Fadda spent the rest of his days in his hometown of Bento Ribeiro, like the humble man he was, with his students and his family. With age he started suffering from Alzheimer’s desease struggling with the illness for years. He finally succumbed to bacterial pneumonia in 1st April 2005, he was 84 years old.