Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 9th Degree Red Belt, Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa – Carlson Gracie’s best friend
(Photo: Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa and Carlson Gracie, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s.)
OSWALDO “PAQUETÁ” GOMES DA ROSA (1940-2012)
Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa, commonly known as ‘Paquetá’, was one of Jiu Jitsu‘s most recognizable figures and a true pioneer of the art, famed for having the largest archive of jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts (MMA) tapes in the world, as well as for being Great Master Carlson Gracie’s best friend. A former bodybuilder/powerlifter during the 1950s and 1960s, Paquetá was also a fierce Gracie Academy competitor and a judo man with legendary strength which he was famed for in Rio de Janeiro. A Red Belt in Jiu Jitsu (9th degree), Master Paquetá passed away on August 3, 2012.
Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa
Nickname: “Paquetá” is the name of the place where Master Oswaldo used to live. When he started training at the Gracie Academy, not many people knew his name so people would say “The Fighter from Paquetá”; in no time the name spread and the shortened version was plain “Paquetá”.
Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda —> Carlos Gracie —> Carlson Gracie —-> Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa
Association/Team: Academia Gracie/Carlson Gracie
Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa – Biography
Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa was born on January 8, 1940. He was raised in a very humble environment, his father was a street sweeper and money was scarce. Consequently, Oswaldo found himself working to help the family from a very young age.
Even though life presented these financial obstacles, Oswaldo always found time to exercise and live healthy. The first sports he took seriously were bodybuilding and judo, he excelled in both. The Judo he learned from a Japanese instructor called Nagashima who had a Dojo in Rio de Janeiro.
A while after he began judo he started hearing about Jiu Jitsu and decided to give that a try as well, his first instructor was Almir Ribeiro in 1958. Fate had it that he would find a job as a messenger (office boy) at an office allocated in the same building as the “Academia Gracie” the famous jiu jitsu gym led by Helio Gracie. Oswaldo would often use his lunchbreak to visit the Gracie Academy and see the classes though he couldn’t afford to train there. With the time spent at the academy he connected with Carlson Gracie, the nephew of Helio who trained there, the friendship between the two grew and one day Carlson asked his uncle Helio Gracie if he could let Oswaldo train there, Helio agreed and as Oswaldo could not afford the tuition they settled to have him there for a fraction of the standard monthly fee.
Oswaldo was always regarded as a very strong individual in fact the only person stronger then him at the gym (according to Oswaldo himself) was Carlson who would rip a Yellow Pages book in half in a display of his grip strength on occasion. Recognizing the hard man in Oswaldo, Carlson asked him to assist his classes at the Brazilian Marines Head Quarters an offer promptly accepted by Oswaldo. From these classes the pair would fortify their friendship.
Following Helio Gracie’s advice Oswaldo started training weights differently and less often. Helio believed that all that weigh training was giving him the explosive strength but was taking alot of his muscle stamina away. The tip worked and Paqueta’s Jiu Jitsu improved heaps and bounds.
Though Oswaldo was dedicated to Jiu Jitsu, he never slacked on his studying. Having been raised in a poor family taught him that, and so he graduated as a pedagogue. When he married he stopped training for a while to concentrate on his pedagogue career, but his life without Jiu Jitsu didn’t last for long as he started teaching Jiu Jitsu and Judo at the FUNABEN (Fundacao Para a Infancia e Adolescencia), the same institution he worked on as a director for many years.
In the late 1960’s the Jiu Jitsu Federation was created in a way to legitimize the sport, with it came the Black Belts. Before the Federation was created, Instructors would bear the Blue Belt, that was the distinguishing mark. Oswaldo never paid attention to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu politics and never requested his own Black Belt certificate, but in 1973 as the sport grew he saw the need to request it and so went to his old friend Carlson asking him what was needed to get that belt. Carlson didn’t think twice, having seen the friend compete and train for so many years he told Oswaldo he didn’t need to do any test and awarded him the black belt.
Around 1991 he started taping some fights, he had always used the camera to tape events in which his friends competed but it was around this period that Carlson Gracie asked Oswaldo if he could tape his students on a tournament called “Atlantico Sul” which was organized by Marcos Vinicius. The idea was to run over the mistakes made on the mat later. With time Oswaldo started taping more and more events, first as a hobby and many years later it became a business for him.
Though Oswaldo received his black belt in 1973 only in 1993 did he receive his black belt certificate from the Federation. That caused a weird embarrassment for the federation later on as one of Oswaldo’s black belt students was to get his seventh degree (Setimo Grau) while the old master was still a simple Black Belt. Because of this Robson Gracie came to Oswaldo to fix his status to Red Belt.
Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa retired from Jiu Jitsu and his service at FUNABEN but was always regarded as one of the wisest men in the sport. His insight was often requested on fighting debates both online and on TV. Before he passed away, on August 3, 2012, his 4500 plus fight videos collection was regarded as the biggest private collection in Brazil.
Original text: BJJ Heroes. Edited by the blog’s author.