Adapted from an article by Willian von Sohsten*
An authority in BJJ has left us. On November 30, Grandmaster Candido Casalle, better known as Master Candoca, died of natural causes at the age of 95, which can be attributed to a disciplined life dedicated to BJJ.
A son of Italian immigrants Tomas Casalle and Concheta Amaruca, Candoca was born in Santa Eudóxia and had 23 siblings. He worked as an animal tamer and wagoner, built a family and had three kids.
A student under George Gracie, Grandmaster Candoca was one of the pioneers in spreading the gentle art in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo.
He started training with George Gracie and João “Peixinho” Gonçalves in Rio Claro in 1942. Around 1957, George moved to São Carlos, where he founded the school that would later be led by another student of his, Romeo Bertho. Grandmaster Candoca was among those who helped out in the move to São Carlos, as he was a trucker and mechanic at the time. Two years later, George decided to expand his work into Araraquara, and, after planting the seeds of BJJ over there, he let Candoca run the local gym.
Candoca received from the Sao Paulo Federation, at 92 years of age, the greatest honor in BJJ — the 9th-degree red belt and the title of grandmaster in the gentle art. That on top of being given the title of citizen of the town of Araraquara, the place that welcomed him so warmly.
The celestial mats have gained another respectable fighter, and the disciples left down here are nostalgic and proud for Grandmaster Candoca, who did so much for BJJ in Sao Paulo.
*Willian von Sohsten is a lawyer, journalist and first-degree black-belt trained at Cícero Costha