Renowned Jiu-Jitsu Master Dies in Freak Accident at Wedding

Octavio Couto Da Silva, a 52-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu master, tragically lost his life in a fall during a wedding ceremony in Lake Como, Italy. Da Silva, a resident of Dallas, Texas, fell from a small ledge, plunging 16 feet into the water below. Local authorities reported that he was alone at the time of the incident. A water taxi operator witnessed the fall and alerted emergency services, but Da Silva was pronounced dead upon recovery of his body.

Known affectionately as “Ratinho” or “little mouse” in Portuguese, Da Silva was a celebrated figure in the world of jiu-jitsu. He clinched the gold medal at the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Nationals in 1993 and repeated the feat at Copa Atlântico Sul the following year. A sixth-degree black belt, Da Silva later secured a bronze medal at the 2007 International de Masters competition in Brazil. After his competitive career, he shifted his focus to training and coaching.

Da Silva’s cousin, Rick Knight, paid tribute to him on social media, describing him as one of the greatest jiu-jitsu masterminds and an even better cousin and friend. Da Silva is survived by his wife and daughter.

The jiu-jitsu master was attending a friend’s wedding in Lake Como when the incident occurred. He was returning to his hotel around 6:30 a.m. when he fell over the ledge. Italian news outlet Italy 24 News reported that authorities believe Da Silva had stopped to sit on the low wall when he lost his balance and fell into the water.

The cause of Da Silva’s death, whether from the impact of the fall or drowning, is yet to be determined. Investigators noted that he had been drinking during the evening but seemed fine when he left the wedding at the Villa del Balbianello.

Da Silva, a world-renowned sixth-degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt, had retired from professional competition to focus on training his students. He was one of the founding members of Alliance Barra Academy, a training school with significant recognition in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community. He also served as a consultant for other training academies across the U.S. over the past two decades.

Following the news of his death, numerous tributes from his students flooded in. They remembered him as a selfless individual who generously shared his talents and gifts. His former student, Hunter Crenshaw, described him as a true leader who fostered a warm and welcoming community.