Oswaldo Fadda was an important figure in the development of jiu jitsu in Brazil, being also the main alternative lineage of the Brazilian grappling style to Gracie family, and one of the few men that achieved the rank of red belt (9th degree/nono grau). Oswaldo Fadda became an influential figure for the growth of jiu jitsu working from the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where he set his own academy in the 1950’s. In recent times, the main academies developed under the Oswaldo Fadda lineage are Nova Uniao and GFTeam.
Oswaldo Fadda Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis França > Oswaldo Fadda
Main Achievements: N/A
Favourite Technique: His school was famous for using footlocks
Weight Division: N/A
Association/Team: Academia FADDA
Oswaldo Fadda Biography
Oswaldo Fadda was born in Bento Ribeiro – State of Rio de Janeiro on the 15th of January 1921. Fadda started training in 1937 after he joined the Brazilian Marines. His coach was Luis França, a former student of Mitsuyo Maeda who achieved his grade of instructor (allegedly*) around the same time as Carlos Gracie, the founder of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy.
Oswaldo Fadda received his instructor grade from the hands of his coach (França) in 1942 and soon after began teaching the style himself, from his home town in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Always trying to promote jiu jitsu as a way of life, with a strong sense of discipline and honor, Master Oswaldo Fadda would often perform demonstrations on public squares, beaches, favelas (slums), outside churches and even in circuses and church patios. On the 27th of January 1950 Oswaldo Fadda finally opened his very own academy fully dedicated to martial arts.
Throughout his coaching career, Fadda was often portrayed as an outcast by jiu jitsu practitioners in the “Zona Sul” and town centre of Rio de Janeiro, who failed to see the potential of an academy in the suburbs. This ‘lack of respect’ caused Fadda to issue a challenge to the Gracie Academy in 1951, the contest was proposed through the media, in the Globo Jornal and it went as follows:
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 the challenge and the competition was booked for the Gracie Academy. Oswaldo Fadda’s team won, making better use of their footlock knowledge, something Helio frowned upon, calling it “suburban technique” (técnica de suburbano) – according to Reila Gracie’s biography of Carlos Gracie. The highlight of the competition was when Fadda’s pupil, José Guimarães, choked Gracie representative 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 hard men of the nearby towns, who would often stop by Fadda’s academy to issue challenges to Master Oswaldo and his students. These challenges gained such proportions that Master Fadda decided to start taking one day off from the weekly schedule, where he closed the doors of the academy to fight any challengers. It is said that jiu jitsu never lost a fight.
In 1967 the first jiu jitsu federation is born, named “Federação de Jiu-Jitsu da Guanabara” in Rio de Janeiro. This organization was created with the approval of the national Secretaries of State. The rules were very basic and differed tremendously from today’s tournaments. According to research done by GracieMag back in 2014, positions such as takedowns and mount and back takes accounted for 1 point, and matches would last 5 minutes with 3 of overtime (adults). Helio Gracie became the president of the federation, while the illustrious Fadda took a position in the office as vice president of the technical cabinet (president being Carlson Gracie).
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 disease. Struggling with the illness for years, he finally succumbed to bacterial pneumonia in April 2005, at 84 years of age.