The global jiu-jitsu community is mourning the passing of world-renowned jiu-jitsu master, Octavio Couto Da Silva, in an accident in Lake Como, Italy.
Da Silva, also known by his nickname Ratinho or “little mouse” in Portuguese, was attending a friend’s wedding in Lake Como. While returning to his hotel around 6:30 am Saturday, August 26, he fell off a seawall after losing his balance, dropping about 16 feet into the waters below.
Initial investigations by Italian authorities suggest the 52-year-old might have paused to sit on the low wall when the incident occurred. It is not yet known whether he died from the fall or drowning. Also to be investigated is if alcohol played any part in the accident.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Da Silva made significant contributions to the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He held the title of a “world-renowned 6th Degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt” and had an illustrious career, winning gold at the 1993 CBJJ Brazilian National Championships and the 1994 Copa Atlantico Sul Championships.
After his competitive days, Da Silva chose to impart his knowledge, dedicating his time to training aspiring jiu-jitsu fighters. He was one of the foundational members of the Alliance Barra Academy, an institution with notable recognition in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community. Over the past 20 years, he also played a consultancy role for several other US-based training academies.
The sudden passing of Da Silva has prompted many tributes from his students and followers. Former student, Hunter Crenshaw, described Da Silva as a true leader who transformed lives. Another student, James Born, highlighted the selfless nature of the jiu-jitsu master, describing the world’s loss of a significant figure.
Born and raised in Brazil, Da Silva moved to the US in 2007. He had plans to relocate his family back to Brazil, according to his cousin Rick Knight. Da Silva leaves behind a legacy, as well as a wife, daughter, and hundreds of jiu-jitsu students.