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Is the Fadda lineage a Non-Gracie lineage?

Robert Drysdale

Special to GTR

January 1, 2019

 

In recent articles and internet forums much attention has been given to Oswaldo Fadda and his students as members of a non-Gracie lineage.1 Fadda was a student of Luiz França (aka Luiz França Filho, Luis França) who claimed to have learned directly from Mitsuyo Maeda (aka Conde Koma). For example, one of França's students, Antonio Vieira, testified that "O Luiz de França falava que aprendeu o que ele sabia com o Maeda que usava o pseudonimo de Conde Koma. O Conde Koma morreu em 41, então ele ficou sem professor" [Luiz de França said that he learned what he knew from Maeda, who was also known as Conde Koma. Conde Koma died in 1941 so after that he [França] was without a teacher].2

This, obviously, is merely what França told Antonio Vieira (or more precisely, what Vieira said França told him). 

Others claim that França's teacher was Geo Omori.3

Fadda absolutely deserves his place in BJJfs memory. Despite that, his lineage is unclear.

Two recent discoveries help us better understand the origins of the Fadda lineage. 

The first one is an article of 1938 announcing a Luta Livre match between Gaúcho (C.R.F.) and Luis França (A. Gracie). The article in question clearly identifies Luis França as a representative of the Gracie Academy.4

A second article is even more revealing. In 1956 a fight was announced between Dupont Saraiva and a Luiz França student named Talvanes Falão.  Significantly, Luiz França was described in the article as gum dos melhores alunos de Helio Gracieh ["one of Helio Graciefs best students"].5

It is worthy of notice that Fadda, after a single news-worthy appearance  (with França) in 1941,  disappeared from the public eyes until Carlos and Helio Gracie revived their efforts to bring gJiu-Jitsuh back into the public eye in the 1950fs.6

Luiz França's affiliation with the Gracie Academy does not mean that he could not have also learned from others (although there is at present no evidence that he did). But to underline the point, the evidence that does exist suggests a close relationship with the Gracie Academy.  

The plausibility of França being indeed a student of the Gracie Academy currently holds more weight than the widespread but unfounded, belief that França learned from Maeda himself, or even Omori or Yano for that matter. 

Fadda went on to be an instructor in the neighborhood of Bento Ribeiro in Rio de Janeiro as well as being an early pioneer of the practice of grappling for the underprivileged of the suburbs of that city as well as of the handicapped. For this, Fadda is certainly worthy of commendation, but the claim that it is a lineage outside of the Gracie family, or that Luiz França was a student of Takeo Yano, Geo Omori and Mitsuyo Maeda, lacks any supporting evidence at the moment. Further research is necessary to determine the origins of the Fadda lineage. Nonetheless, the evidence available suggests that Luiz França was a student of the Gracie Academy and of Helio Gracie in particular.

Notes@

1. See here, here, and here for examples.

2. The Antonio Vieira interview was conducted during the filming of  "Closed Guard: The Origins of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil" in September 2018

3. See here. Readers will note that Eduardo Pereira offers no evidence for his claim.

4. Jornal do Brasil (RJ), November 2, 1938.

5. O Poti (Natal), November 14, 1956. This source was provided by Elton Silva. The credit for the discovery is entirely his.

6. See Choque 1-3 for details.

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(c) 2019, Robert Drysdale. All rights reserved.

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More by Robert Drysdale:

Reflections on the Evolution of BJJ

Who Taught Oscar Gracie?

I was Skeptical

Selling Self-Defense

Rickson Gracie is Wrong

Rev. of book by João Alberto Barreto

Maeda Promotes Five Brazilians

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GTR Publications

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October 9, 2018

Craze Vol. 1: The Life and Times of Jiu-Jitsu, 1854-1904

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Choque 1, 3rd Edition 

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Choque 3, 1961-1999

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Choque 2, 1950-1960 

  

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Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008 (2018 rev. ed)

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