FADDA Jiu-Jitsu (NON-Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lineage)
Oswaldo Baptista Fadda (January 15, 1921 – April 1, 2005) was a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reaching the rank of “Nono Grau”, a 9th Dan Red Belt (*later 10th dan Red Belt(?): http://calvertmma.com/gracie-jiu-jitsu-bjj-red-belts/). He is known for being one of the (two) highest ranked non-Gracie black belts – the other one being his teacher, Luiz França Filho, 10th Dan Red Belt and one of the primary founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Oswaldo Baptista Fadda was also known for teaching students from the poorer areas of Rio de Janeiro, where Jiu-Jitsu was regarded as an upper-class sport.
Fadda’s lineage, the second most prominent to the Carlos Gracie lineage, still survives through his links with today’s teams such as Nova União (home of ‘The Prodigy’ BJ Penn – the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), GFTeam (home to multiple Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champions) and others.
Teams like Deo Jiu-Jitsu (Deoclecio Paulo) and Equipe Wilson Jiu-Jitsu (Wilson Pereira Mattos) also trace the same lineage.
Fadda was born in Bento Ribeiro, a suburb in the north of Rio de Janeiro to a family of Italian immigrants. At the age of seventeen, while in the Brazilian Marines, he began to study Jiu-Jitsu under Luiz França Filho and a black belt under Mitsuyo Maeda.
Mitsuyo Maeda (Brazilian naturalized as Otávio Mitsuyo Maeda) was a Japanese master of pre-World War II Kodokan Judo (no; this was not today’s Olympic Judo), Japanese Jiu Jitsu, wrestler, professional wrestler and prizefighter [he won over two thousand (2000) documented professional fights in his career]. He was also known as Count Combat or Conde Koma in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Mr Maeda was an expert Judoka with direct lineage to the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, who had travelled around the world as a prize fighter while also teaching the locals his self-defence techniques. After settling in Belém in 1917, Mr Maeda had continued to teach Jiu-Jitsu to a select group of students, including Luiz França Filho and Carlos Gracie.
By 1942, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was becoming well known in Brazil, although the price of tuition was 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 in 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. 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 as the formidable adversaries they are but we do not fear them. We have 20 pupils ready for 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” (sports magazine): “We put an end to the Gracie tabu”. Also, Hélio Gracie in an interview with the newspaper 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 (footlocks) as a “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 men 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.
Ever humble, Oswaldo Baptista Fadda lived out the rest of his life in his Bento Ribeiro suburban home, suffering from Alzheimers in his later years. He died of bacterial pneumonia on April 1, 2005 at the age of 84.
The Fadda family
Fadda’s brother, Humberto, was also a Jiu-Jitsu instructor and ran the Cascadura branch of Academia Fadda. The Fadda family is represented in today’s Jiu-Jitsu by Master Hélio Fadda, the son of Humberto Fadda who was named after Hélio Gracie. In 2009, an event was held in Paracambi in honour of Hélio Fadda.
Name: Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
Born: January 15, 1921
Died: April 1, 2005 (aged 84)
Style: Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Teacher(s): Luiz França Filho
(Luiz França Filho on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luiz_França;
Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda → Luiz França Filho → Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
Other names: Mestre Fadda
Team: Academia Fadda
Rank: 9th degree Red Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Oswaldo Fadda Jiu-Jitsu: http://www.faddajiujitsu.com/
OSWALDO FADDA; ‘THE OTHER’ BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU: https://abloodyblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/oswaldo-fadda-the-other-brazilian-jiu-jitsu/
Oswaldo Baptista Fadda on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswaldo_Fadda (semi-accurate)
Luiz França Filho on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luiz_França (semi-accurate)