Texas Jiu-Jitsu Master Dies in Freak Accident During Wedding in Italy

Octavio Couto Da Silva, a 52-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu master and Dallas, Texas resident, met a tragic end in a fall at a wedding ceremony in Lake Como, Italy. Da Silva fell 16 feet from a small ledge into the water below. He was alone at the time of the incident, according to local authorities. A water taxi operator who witnessed the fall immediately alerted emergency services. However, Da Silva was pronounced dead upon the recovery of his body.

Da Silva, fondly known as “Ratinho” or “little mouse” in Portuguese, was a respected figure in the jiu-jitsu community. His achievements include winning the gold medal at the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Nationals in 1993 and at Copa Atlântico Sul the following year. A sixth-degree black belt, Da Silva also won a bronze medal at the 2007 International de Masters competition in Brazil. After his competitive career, he transitioned into training and coaching.

Rick Knight, Da Silva’s cousin, 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 leaves behind his wife and daughter.

The incident occurred while Da Silva was attending a friend’s wedding in Lake Como. He was returning to his hotel around 6:30 a.m. when he fell over the ledge on August 25. 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.