Francisco Sá was born December 17th, 1935, in the remote town of Senador Pompeu, about 125 miles from the main city of Fortaleza.
His first exposure to Jiu-Jitsu came through a weekly illustrated publication called “Cruzeiro.” The magazine contained pictures of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques demonstrated by Helio Gracie. He also spent some time training with one of George Gracie’s students, Mr. Nilo Veloso. In his late teens, Master Francisco Sá decided to move to Recife in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, to follow a career in the Brazilian Air Force. While in Recife, Francisco Sá discovered that a jiu jitsu master named Takeo Iano was teaching in the area. He immediately sought out the Japanese martial artist, and started learning from the former Kodokan academy standout. In Recife, Francisco Sá dedicated all his time and effort to Jiu Jitsu, and in 6 years he made it from white belt to the rank of instructor under Takeo Iano.
After years of training in Recife, Master Sá decided to return to his home state to be closer to his family. There he opened his first academy, which was called “Central Ringue Club” later to be renamed “Academia Professor Sá” (Professor Sá Academy). From this academy he developed several important fighters, including his own son “Sazinho”, who became one of the most popular coaches in the region. The family of fighters continues to deliver high class fighters such as his sons Guybson Sá and Robson Sá, Daniel Beleza, Jorge Gurgel, Marcus Aurelio and Daniel Tavares.
Master Sa was one of the few BJJ practitioners to acquire the highly esteemed rank of Red Belt. This is the highest rank achievable in the Gentle Art. To reach Red Belt (Grand Master) it takes about 40 years after attaining the rank of Black Belt. Master Sá received his Black Belt in 1959 from Nilo Veloso. As of 2013, Master Sá had been a black belt for 54 years. The Sá Family is considered to be like the Gracies in Northeast of Brazil for being pioneers in the Martial Art. The Sa’s are highly esteemed to have a leader that attained the rank of Red Belt. In 2013, Francisco Sá, passed away at home in Fortaleza, Ceará.
“He was an example in everything he did, and leaves a legacy of endless struggles with morals and honor in martial arts and in particular our Jiu-Jitsu.” - Francisco Sá (Sazinho).