top of page

Rafael Fernandez Coelho

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt - Professor

Rafael was born in Brazil, in the city of Sao Sebastiao! He started training Judo with his father when he was 8 years old.  He trained Judo for 10 years and at the age of 18 received his Black Belt in Judo from Professor Harley at the Tebar Praia Club.  Rafael began practicing Jiu Jitsu in 1994 with Professor Jorge Pereira (Black belt from Rickson Gracie) while in college studying Psychology at the Mackenzie Presbyterian University in Sao Paulo Brazil.  During the time Rafael was in College, Professor Pereira moved away to Miami, Florida and suggested that Rafael continue his Jiu Jitsu training with Master Ryan Gracie.  Rafael graduated from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University with his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2000 in Sao Paulo Brazil.  He continued his education to complete his Masters of Psychology from Wilfred Laurier Waterloo in Ontario Canada in 2002.  After Rafael graduated from college with his Masters, he began to work in the field of Clinical Psychology as well as continue to train and teach Jiu Jitsu in his spare time.  Although he enjoyed working in this field, Rafael felt that he was able to help people more when he was teaching on the mats. 


In 2009, Rafael was a Brown Belt and had the pleasure to meet Master Rilion Gracie at the Florida Open tournament.  After meeting, the two began to work together.  Rafael assisted Rilion Gracie with the opening of multiple schools across the US and soon after moved to Miami to manage the flagship Rilion Gracie Academy. 


In July 2012, Rafael earned his Black Belt via Master Rilion Gracie, Roger and Roggan Gracie at Rilion Gracie Academy Houston.  This is the only time three Gracie’s have been present in a graduating Black Belt in the State of Texas.  Over the last three years, Rafael has been a direct driver of BJJ teaching and enrollment in Miami.  He has a tremendous amount of experience in teaching students of all ages (starting at 3 years old) and experience levels.  He has also had the opportunity to teach a variety of groups like the U.S. Marshalls, the Miami-Dade Police, US Military how to properly defend themselves armed/unarmed. 


Rafael has been influenced by one of the most notable-respected Jiu Jitsu Master Rilion Gracie, the youngest son of eleven brothers (2nd Generation and Legacy of Senior Grand Master Carlos Gracie) as well as many others throughout his 32 years in the martial arts.  His greatest take-away from Master Gracie’s guidance is discipline, values, being a role model, and how to teach the Jiu Jitsu art and lifestyle on and off the mats.



• 2001 II International Championship

   GOLD - Blue Belt | Brazil


• 2003 Copa Northwest Ralph Gracie

   GOLD - Purple Belt | Seattle, WA, USA


• 2004 Pan American

   SILVER - Purple Belt | California, USA


• 2004 Copa NW Mamazinho/Rodrigo Lopes

   GOLD - Purple Belt | Seattle, WA, USA


• 2004 2nd Copa Northwest

   SILVER - Purple Belt | Seattle, WA, USA


• 2005 3rd Copa Northwest

   SILVER - Purple Belt | Seattle, WA, USA


• 2006 5th Copa Northwest - NO GI

   GOLD - Purple Belt | Seattle, WA, USA


• 2006 6th Copa Northwest

   GOLD - Purple Belt | Seattle, WA, USA

• 2008 Grappler Quest SE Championship

   SILVER - Brown Belt | Boca Raton, FL, USA Trials

• 2009 Florida State Championship

   SILVER - Brown Belt | Orlando, FL, USA 


• 2010 Abu Dhabi Pro

   GOLD - Brown Belt | USA


• 2010 Florida BJJ Championship

   GOLD-Brown Belt | Orlando, FL, USA


• 2010 Florida BJJ Championship - NO GI

   SILVER - Brown Belt | Orlando, FL, USA Division  


• 2011 Florida States BJJ Championship

   SILVER - Brown Belt | Orlando, FL, USA 


• 2012 Miami Open BJJ

   SILVER - Black Belt | Miami, FL, USA


• 2012 Miami Open - Medio

   BRONZE | Miami, FL, USA


• 2013 Miami Open - Medio

  BRONZE | Miami, FL, USA

• 2014 Miami Open - Medio

   BRONZE | Miami, FL, USA

bottom of page