Is the Fadda lineage a Non-Gracie
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
obviously, is merely what França told
Antonio Vieira (or more precisely, what Vieira said França told him).
França's teacher was
absolutely deserves his place in
BJJfs memory. Despite that, his lineage is unclear.
Two recent discoveries help us better
understand the origins of the Fadda lineage.
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 Gracieh ["one of Helio Graciefs 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
efforts to bring gJiu-Jitsuh back into the public eye in the 1950fs.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
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.
1. See here,
and here for
The Antonio Vieira interview was conducted during the filming of
"Closed Guard: The Origins of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil" in September 2018
See here. Readers will note that Eduardo Pereira offers no
evidence for his claim.
Jornal do Brasil (RJ), November 2, 1938.
O Poti (Natal), November 14, 1956. This
source was provided by Elton Silva. The credit for the discovery is entirely
See Choque 1-3 for details.
Robert Drysdale. All rights reserved.
More by Robert Drysdale:
on the Evolution of BJJ
Taught Oscar Gracie?
Gracie is Wrong
of book by João Alberto Barreto
Promotes Five Brazilians