I remember when Otavio Souza was a kid, and stayed as a guest at my home whenever he came from Recife to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the main Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, as an orange belt, an later on as a green belt.
Now I see him wearing a blackbelt around his waist, teaching at least four classes everyday at Gracie Barra Headquarters, in Irvine, CA. Always sporting a big smile on his face, he gives directions in a very eloquent English. I can’t help but get amazed on how Jiu-Jitsu forge people, specially if well directed as Otavio had the privilege of being so, with Professor Ze Radiola taking care of his tutoring from the beginning until the present day.
In Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, I don’t usually root for anyone in particular. I’ve been in this business for almost two decades, and know enough the competitors to understand that many in this field, regardless of the team he/she represents, has merit to achieve success. Otavio is just an example, but fortunately there are lots of Otavios in our art, of course with different paths and obstacles. That said, I was very happy to read that the kid was the NY Open blackbelt absolute champion.
Otavio Souza of course is very skilled and capable of winning big titles, but what I like the most on his profile in particular is that he keeps a full regular schedule of teaching along with his tournament training, never using the competing as an excuse to skip teaching classes. And this morning, as usual, he will be in Irvine guiding the formation of other Otavios.
And all of that always sporting that huge smile on his face.
Please comment below, no matter liking or disliking Otavio’s story.