From the ICU to the winners’ podium

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Black belt teacher at Brazil 021 Carlos Henrique Rosa, 38, lived through one of those moments that make one review their life, value each moment with one’s family and strengthen one’s beliefs. Even one’s faith in Jiu-Jitsu.

On October 31, 2009, Carlos Henrique decided to stop by a marble store in downtown Rio de Janeiro. “I needed to buy two marble door frames for the bedrooms at home,” recalls the teacher.

Out of the blue, an armed man entered the store and advanced on the owner of the store, Edinei César. Desperately, the victim who didn’t survive latched on to Carlos Henrique’s neck. But the “human shield” knew Jiu-Jitsu, freeing himself of the rear-naked choke and throwing him to the ground. Even so, he took three bullets.

“When the guy came into the store screaming, I turned around. That was when the victim grabbed me in a rear-naked choke. I don’t even know how I freed myself of the hold, I just know I got out and threw him to the ground. Upon being shot, the owner of the store landed on me; that was when I took three shots from the thug, who kept shooting,” he recounts. Carlos was shot in the spleen, diaphragm and spine, where the bullet is lodged to this day.

“When the bullet goes in it doesn’t hurt, at least it didn’t hurt. I ran out of the store and passed out far away, where a passing ambulance rescued me,” he says.

After forty days in the hospital, seven in intensive care and four minutes in nearly-fatal cardio-respiratory arrest, Carlos Henrique won his private fight to survive. And he promised friends and students he would return to competition.

At the last International Master and Senior tournament on July 24, there he was against Roberto Gordo in the black belt heavyweight/senior 1 divisional final.

“You go on to value a lot of things in life, like a simple training session, the air you breathe, and those hours your son calls on you to play a video game and you say you’re busy,” reflects the teacher and one of the leaders of Brazil 021, already with thirty-three years of Jiu-Jitsu and more than twenty students promoted to black belt.

Carlos won his first match at the Tijuca Tennis Club by 2 to 0. However exhausted, he returned for the final and lost to Gordo. The next day, he didn’t settle for a W.O. and showed up in the absolute.

“He’s a great example to us all. While still in the hospital, he would always say that he would give himself the present of competing again. There you have it, a side show: second place but feeling like first,” says friend and student André Negão, of Brazil 021.

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