In Jiu-jitsu there is a very strong emphasis on the importance of family, within the sport it is widely believed that “jiu-jitsu is the only martial art that has a family”. It is certainly true that the strength of individual family units, in particular the Gracie’s dedication and commitment facilitated the international growth of the sport. This ethos clearly permeates through the sport. For instance the world jiu-jitsu championships commenced in 1996, of all the gold medals awarded in the adult black belt cohort, 14 have been presented to brothers. When silver and bronze medals are analysed the numbers are even higher.
Below are two examples of how family has played a pivotal role in the growth of the sport. Normally siblings act as an inspiration to each other and pass their enthusiasm onto a wider audience.
The Fadda Family
Aside from the Gracie family, Fadda are considered to be the most famous in the sport. Its lineage services today with links to teams such as Nova Uniao, whose gi patch is recognised by its distinctive bright red u inside a blue double arc, as well as grappling fight team and the Master Wilson academy. The Fadda family academy was established in the suburbs of Rio de Janerio in 1950 and within a year was mounting a serious challenge to the supremacy of the Gracie family. The academy was founded by Oswald Baptista Fadda and like Carlo Gracie learned jiu jitsu under Luis Franca, who trained with Mitsuyo Maeda. He died aged 84 on April 1st 2005. Aside from the Gracie’s the lineage is the most famous in the sport and the family is represented in academies all over the world.
The Vieira Brothers
The brothers Leonardo, Ricardo and Leandro began their careers at the Romero Cavalcanti academy. Today Leonandro and Ricardo together run team checkmat. The association is based in Sao Paolo and as founded in 2008. The black king chess piece gi patch is now recognised globally in academies from the UK to Malaysia to the United States. The team name is a definite lay on words derived from “check mate” in chess and the surface or “mat” on which BJJ fights are settled.