Teaching is a full-time job for the NY Open Jiu-Jitsu champion

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Otavio Sousa (Gracie Barra) def. Rafael Formiga Barbosa (Soul Fighters) for the Black Belt Absolute FinalI 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.

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There are 15 comments for this article
  1. Pequeno at 10:14 am

    Otavio, one of the best bjj fighters! He is always being in the top 3, in every competition the he goes… Now he is at the middleweight division again, and is gonna give problems for everyone in the division! I bet on him to win the Mundials, if he only get focused on it!!

  2. Jim West at 3:20 pm

    Octavio — you are amazing and an inspiration to many who will follow in your foot steps! Thanks for setting the bar high and being a great example to others. You deserve all the “gold”! Plus you are like fighting a refrigerator! 🙂

  3. Gomes Fc at 6:05 pm

    Professor Otavio is not only a skilled JJ fighter but the guy has one of the biggest hearts that I know. His love for the sport, his family, his students are what I love about this guy. Watch out world this guys is going to do great things! Another great thing I love about him as well is his leadership, even though he does not speak much (as in talking about how good he is) but he lets his actions speak for itself

  4. Faabiow at 1:41 pm

    porra, me lembro ano passado logo depois do mundial fui no HQ la em irvine fui super bem recebido pelo Otavio Souza, Grande Campeao, merece tudo que ta acontecendo com ele, Parabens!

  5. Paulie0s at 4:25 pm

    Otavio has been my instructor for the last year and I am truly blessed to be able to call him professor and learn from the best BJJ has to offer!

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