Grandmaster Carlson Gracie was known for his extreme ability in untangling jiu-jitsu’s most complicated and inventive positions, and also for his passion for gamecocks. His loyal disciple in this venture, Antônio Emidio dos Santos, helped him feed and train the animals.
This Sunday, November 25th, 2018, Antônio passed away. Albertinho dos Santos, one of his children, is a black-belt and teaches in Abu Dhabi, proving that the family’s relationship with BJJ hasn’t gone anywhere.
As well as being Carlson’s disciple, Antônio Emidio — despite never having actually trained — had one of the best nicknames of anyone at the famous Copacabana gym.
The unusual nickname was born after a road trip made by the two friends, as narrated by Combate Channel commentator Marcelo Alonso in his book Por Trás do Octógono (Behind the Octagon).
Here’s the translated excerpt:
It all happened on a night where Carlson was going up the Teresópolis mountain range in a Volkswagen Beetle with eight roosters, accompanied by his inseparable friend who was also the birds’ coach and his cockfight companion. The car, suddenly, broke down on the dark road. Carlson went to check the engine, while Antônio lit a candle to check out the cables under the vehicle. When he looked at it from the opposite side, Carlson saw the gas that was leaking from a hose and yelled: “Blow out the candle! Blow out the candle!” Too late. The car caught fire, and there was only enough time to save the roosters.
And that’s how Antônio became known as either “Apaga-Vela” or “Apaga a vela,” which both sound very similar — the former meaning “Candle Blower”; the latter, “Blow out the candle.”