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Octavio Couto “Ratinho”

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Gordon Ryan Guard Passing Instructional

Octavio Couto, also known as “Ratinho”, was a highly regarded grappling coach and a jiu jitsu black belt under Romero Cavalcanti who was a part of – what many call – the Golden Era of Alliance. Ratinho was also a leading figure in the break-up of the Alliance workgroup of the early 2000s and one of the founders of the Brasa Team, being involved in the development of world-class athletes such as Fernando Terere, the Vieira brothers, Felipe Costa amongst many others.

Otavio Ratinho Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Octavio Couto Junior

Nickname: “Ratinho” means little mouse or mousy. The name is usually used to describe someone with certain distinct facial features

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Otavio Couto

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (1993 – purple belt)
  • 1st Place Copa Atlântico Sul (1994 – brown belt)
  • 3rd Place Internacional de Masters e Seniors (2007)

Weight Division: n/a

Team/Affiliation: Brasa Clube de Jiu Jitsu

Octavio Couto Ratinho Biography

Otavio Couto’s first contact with grappling occurred during high school in 1988 as his school offered a Judo curriculum led by Marcus Vinicius de Lucia. Octavio signed up to the judo class where Mr de Lucia taught not only the throwing part for which the Japanese grappling style is known for, but also plenty of newaza (ground fighting). When the school reached it’s Summer Holiday period, Octavio sought out a gym to continue improving on his newfound skill and as he prefered the ground fighting aspect of judo he looked for jiu-jitsu. He found what he was looking for at Romero Cavalcanti’s gym in Rio de Janeiro.

At Cavalcanti’s gym Ratinho he found a place where he could dedicate himself to ground fighting on a near full-time regimen. He became obsessed with Jiu Jitsu, training day and night, staying in the dojo for all classes throughout the day (from morning to the evening). This dedication was rewarded by Cavalcanti in 1989 as he started helping Mr Cavalcanti with the kids and beginners’ morning classes. This busy schedule would go on for the most part of the following 5 years.

While developing his Jiu-Jitsu game, Ratinho also beat a few big names of his time in competition. The fight that brought him recognition in the BJJ circuit of the time was probably his win over Francisco Albuquerque (also known as Toco) in 1994 which won him an honorable mention as one of the BJJ best fights of that year in the media.

Although Octavio Couto’s competitive career seemed well underway for success, an unfortunate succession of events made Ratinho re-think his competitive schedule and focus on the more profitable avenue of teaching. His father had just passed away and his family needed an extra income, so the solution fount by Octavio was to found together with his training partner Vinicius Campelo another academy affiliated with the Alliance team, that was called Alliance Barra Academy (which today is called AKXE BJJ) that focussed mainly in teaching Airline staff.

The academy proved to be a success, and since the time the academy opened (in 1994) it has formed over 20 black belts. With the success of the academy, Ratinho and Vinicius Campelo started designing self defence courses for Airline crews and other companies, again, proving tremendous success with companies like Varig and TAM jumping on board. In 2007 Ratinho moved to the USA and ended the partnership with Vinicius, changing is position to a consultant of the academy rather than a full-time instructor and partner.

Ratinho would go on to be an instrumental figure in the building of one of the most important jiu-jitsu teams of the early 2000s, the Equipe Brasa de Jiu-Jitsu. Check the team’s history here.

Today Ratinho works as a BJJ consultant to several academies helping fighters and helping them “tighten” their game.

John Danaher BJJ Escapes


  • tyson says:

    This guy is a great instructor. I think he could improve anyone's game. Very nice guy too!

  • richard wagner says:

    Best professor I ever had and you could'nt find a more patient nicer guy! He exemplifies the "peaceful warrior" aspect of martial arts that sadly has been lost in all the MMA macho crap out there. It was a real honor to train with him.
    Richard "DOC" Wagner
    Gracie Barra Woodlands

  • tommy lewis says:

    I just went thru a 2 hour class with Professor Octavio "Ratinho" Couto Jr. He just showed up. He said "Ask me anything you want"….It was incredible. What a gentleman. Thank you Professor. And thank you Raul. Awesome Training.
    Tommy Lewis
    Team Gacho
    Spring, Tx

  • Scott Mosier says:

    One of the best instructors I've ever trained with and one of my favorite people in the jiu jitsu world.

    • Alex E. says:

      Amazing and accessible mestre. I currently train with him at The Octagon in Dallas. Great school, with a wide variation of skill levels. Octavio makes the nuances of BJJ accessible and explicit. I love his teaching style as well. Nice guy to boot!

  • Old Mate says:

    Great instructor. He took a kids class in Australia today….. not because he had to….. because the seminar he was doing made the kids class change times !!!

  • duncanmusle says:

    Just had a semina over a weekend in Sweden with Octavio, it and he was great!

  • Christian says:

    His seminar in Sweden this past weekend was the best I've ever been to. This guy is even better than they say
    And still so friendly!!! We were all very impressed..
    Thank you Octavio for totally rebuilding my game!

  • Scott says:

    I attended several days of classes with Professor when he came to Australia. What an amazing knowledge of jiu jitsu he has, and one of the nicest humans you will ever meet. As a white belt, when he teaches I feel that he is just as interested in making me improve as he is with a black belt. I cannot say enough good things about him

  • Jeff says:

    Just had a seminar with Octavio today! Great instructor and a very nice guy!

  • Karl says:

    Truly one of the best instructors alive, great sense of humor and a highly evolved approach to grappling.

  • Giam says:

    Maybe the best instructor I have ever met in my 13 years old career in BJJ

  • Guido says:

    Great person and great instructor. He doesn’t just teach techniques, he teaches a cognitive fighting system.

  • James oconnor says:

    Palms facing you. Nuff said…

  • Robert Wheeler says:

    Just finished up a 3 hour seminar with Professor Couto. He is so cool and down to earth in his style of teaching. We had several younger students and he made them feel like they were rulers of the world by not only including them in the seminar but actually using them as teaching assistants. It was an amazing journey and I look forward to working again with him in the future. Thank you Professor for an awesome seminar and for the conversation afterwards.

    Robert Wheeler
    Fudochi BJJ
    Johnstown CO

  • johnny says:

    Mastermind in bjj i would say , real eye opening when he teaches . Also a super nice guy ! Hope to train with him again in the future!

  • Felipe says:

    I have been training bjj since the mid-nineties and have been coached by many of the best instructors available. Octavio is the best instructor I have had and probably the best now living in the world!

  • Jamie says:

    Rest in peace master!

  • Andrè says:

    R.I.P. teacher .. always on my mind

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