Keiko Stars: Otavio Sousa, the teacher who leads by example

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Otávio Sousa celebrates his second world title

Otávio Sousa celebrates his second world title

Gracie Barra’s black belt star athlete, Otavio Sousa spends as much time teaching as he does training and competing. The first degree black belt’s dependable qualities afford him a solid base not only against sweeps but as a full-time instructor at the Gracie Barra Headquarters in Irvine, CA. But his personal qualities also extend to the competition mats. As a 26-year-old he has earned world titles at every belt level which total to five with the last two earned in the black belt division. This past June he accomplished a repeat performance by winning the middleweight division at the IBJJF World Championship just as he had in 2012.

keiko offer labor dayWhen he’s not focusing solely on his own training and preparations with fellow Gracie Barra competitors, he teaches classes and is often the last one out the door at night. Having found the gentle art at the age of thirteen, he was led by Ze Radiola at the Gracie Barra HQ in Recife, Brazil and has never strayed. By 2006 as a top brown belt competitor, he was offered a teaching position in England. He received his black belt in 2007 from Master Carlos Gracie, Jr. after he won the brown belt absolute division at the Worlds. Furthering his career, he moved to the United States a few years later to begin position as an instructor in Irvine. It was his time as an instructor in 2006, however, where he learned that teaching also allows you to grow. He has since found an overlap in training and teaching as they go hand-in-hand.

Since dedicating himself to his students, he has continued to accomplish multiple titles on the most prestigious level. The game he is most known for is the omoplata submission and guard retention that makes him one of the most feared in the middleweight division. Today he focuses on teaching and constantly pushing his students as he does with his own competitive goals. Set for ADCC in October, he is currently training to compete in the -77kg division and will apply his disciplined approach for the pursuit of gold in Beijing. 

Watch a cool Otavio Sousa Highlights video.

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