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Helvécio Penna is one of the most inspiring figures in the jiu-jitsu community. Having trained in Judo and been a part of the Brazilian national judo team in his youth, he started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in his early 30s. He was subsequently awarded his black belt at the age of 42 by Ricardo De La Riva.
In his 40s and 50s, he became a star of the IBJJF Masters Division, winning the International masters division 7 times between 2004 and 2011. His most memorial performance, however, came not in the Masters Division, but in the Adult Division at the Mundials. Helvécio competing against men often 30 years his junior, astonishingly made it to the Quarter Finals where he fought the heavy favourite Xande Ribeiro. After a hard-fought battle, the scores remained at 0×0 until around the 8th minute when a very tired Helvécio eventually succumbed to a triangle choke by Xande. Ribeiro would go on to become champion that year, defeating Roger Gracie in the final.
In addition to being an inspiration to older jiu-jitsu players around the world, Helvécio somehow also manages to work full-time and works tirelessly to help helps the kids in the slums of Rio.
You can watch the full story of Helvécio Penna in this amazing documentary by JitsMagazine: