Off the Mats: Gabriel Diniz

Remember that training partner who tore up his knee a few months back? The one that was going to rest and try to rehab it and come back once he healed up? What ever happens to those people?

Wonder, is usually all we can do since, once a person leaves the BJJ scene, they’re frequently never heard from again. The Internet though, does change things. It gives us ability and options…not only to watch, but to reconnect.

The other day, I was (thanks to the magic of Google Translate) able to have a short conversation with Gabriel Diniz. If you don’t remember him, he was the 15 year old boy who, upon entering the adult division in competition last August, was left without the use of his arms or legs after being stacked.

Gabriel now, is walking the challenging road of rehab, which he says is going well.

Of course, he is no different than any other grappler and wants to return to training as soon as he can. He continues his therapy, but doctors are unsure of what level of recuperation he can expect because of the nature of his injury. His parents are split on their feelings about BJJ. His mother isn’t happy, but his father supports his efforts.

“Everyday I see BJJ and sometimes end up crying. I really want to train again. I try not to think about the future, and try to do everything possible to improve my life day-to-day.”

He is able to chat via phone and if he can’t get back to fighting again, he wants to work in the BJJ industry in other ways.

“I have plans to give lectures. I want to start this year sometime—I want to talk about motivation and telling the story of my life. I understand that these days, people need to be motivated. I think I can help many people. I only know what I went through and am going through. I always think about improving today and leave the future as something to consider later.”

If you’d like to contact Gabriel for sponsorship or speaking opportunities, you can find him on Facebook here. Or email him at gabriel.charpinel @

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