Rafael’s notable competitions results:
• IBJJF World’s Master Jiu Jitsu 3rd Place
• SJJIF World’s Championship 2nd Place
• IBJJF Houston Open 1st Place
• 2 x Hawaiian Triple Crown Superfight Champion
• 3 x IBJJF Pan Ams Jiu Jitsu Medalist
• 4 x IBJJF American National Champion
• IBJJF US OPEN Champion
• IBJJF NY OPEN Champion
• Brazilian South American Champion
• 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Champion
• 2018 IBJJF Asian JJ Championship 3rd Place
• 2018 SJJIF World Champion
Rafael, born in 1982, grew up on the Brazilian island of Florianópolis as an active surf competitor. When he was 10 years-old, his school gave him two options for his physical fitness classes and Rafael opted for judo. This began his relationship with the martial arts. He practiced judo three times a week and enjoyed the outlet it provided for him.
Although he enjoyed his judo classes and continued to enter surf competitions, most of his friends were involved with Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and they kept insisting that he give it a try. In 1999, Rafael surrendered to his friends’ persistence and started training BJJ at the local jiu-jitsu academy under Rafael Mello and Murillo Rupp. At that point, jiu-jitsu won him over and he decided to move on from judo and surfing.
Rafael, having a natural knack for jiu-jitsu, soon began competing in regional and state contests while still a white belt. Rupp, recognizing his skill and progression, gave him his blue belt and sent him off to the United States to train under Rodrigo Medeiros, in San Diego, California.
Rafael further delayed his move to San Diego and decided to stay in Los Angeles for almost a year, training under Master Gerson Sanginitto. During his stay in LA, Sanginitto awarded him with his purple belt. Shortly after, Rafael finally made his way to his intended destination of San Diego to train under Master Rodrigo Medeiros.
Rafael became a fierce competitor while training under Medeiros and traveled to many competitions to defend his skills. In 2007, Rafael received his brown belt from Medeiros, which is when he also decided to take up jiu-jitsu as his vocation. He started teaching classes at Medeiros’ P.B. Fight Center helping with the kids jiu-jitsu classes and continued to refine his techniques.
In 2010, Rafael received his black belt from Medeiros. He continues to train at the P.B. Fight Center and has since received 3 stripes on his belt, meanwhile teaching at other affiliate gyms. He has since transitioned from being head instructor to also the owner of =RADA= Jiu-Jitsu La Jolla.
Rafael is very passionate about teaching his students to be champions and is a true believer that jiu-jitsu is the best fighting system in the world. His goal is to pass onto his students the knowledge and respect of jiu-jitsu as well as the confidence to be calm in difficult situations.