A remarkable role model: A sad week at RGA headquarters in City – one of the most prominent and successful athletes and teachers Rafael “Sapo” Natal, will return to Brazil for a time to take care of family. Mr Natal’s story is one that should inspire anyone looking to work towards a dream. He learned jiu jitsu from his primary sensei, Draculino and came to NYC when he wanted to transition to so he could work with Renzo Gracie. Working hard in a new country with new language and new culture is never easy, but Mr Natal attacked his goal with everything he had. In a short time he won a dedicated group of and got into the worlds premier MMA organization, the UFC, where he had a very distinguished career. Mr Natal was beloved by students and workmates alike for his enthusiasm and drive and success. He always radiated an easy going charm while people hard to do their best – his own example was a fantastic demonstration to the students. Last night he gave one of the most emotional and heartfelt goodbyes the academy has ever seen. What an honor to have worked alongside this outstanding young man for so long. He worked so hard and gave so much. He went through a long, complex and painful eye surgery after an injury. I never heard him complain, never saw him waiver from his goals – I only saw him work harder and inspire others to do the same. I am sure fate will bring him back soon to NYC, but I truly admire his decision to put family before self and get that done before he returns. Wherever fate takes him, the entire RGA staff and body will always remember him as a real mensch – a true jiu jitsu man who represented himself and his team with distinction and honor. Wishing you the best @rafaelsaponatal from NYC