“Jiu jitsu saves my life”
FROM THE BOTTOM TO THE TOP
From being crippled for 4 years and 9 months to becoming a 2 time Jiu jitsu World Champion.
Professor Rafael Deon Davis, now a Jiu jitsu world champion, was born in Bryan Texas where he grew up with his 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He was a kind and soft spoken person; full of knowledge, wisdom and passion for Jiujitsu. He married his wife Sheila Davis and together they have 4 beautiful children named Aston, Deaundria, Jay, Revelina, and Zahi.
Rafael earned his black belt in 5 years instead of the 10+ years it takes for most. He competed with world class athletes and through his wins he gained respect in his community. “Anything you put your mind to, you can do. No matter what it is. I always say I am Half-Man and Half-Amazing. . . that’s my saying,” said Raphael. He is now the leader and owner of Carlson Gracie National City Brazilian Jiu jitsu Academy.
“Becoming a World champion was not easy for me,” Rafael said. He experienced the roller coaster of life where life was going well then one day he reached the very bottom and he thought he was never going to get back up again. On September 28, 2001 at exactly 7pm, Raphael’s life drastically changed. It wasn’t his usual routine that day because he left work earlier than usual. He was on his motorcycle about to leave when people were stopping him in the parking lot to chat, clown around, ride wheelies, and stoppies. At one point he jumped off his bike, ran back inside his work building and called his wife to tell her, “Sweetheart I am not going home straight tonight, I am going to stop by the gym before going home.” Afterwards, he went back to his bike, hung out a bit more and did more motorcycles tricks. Then he had another change of plans and decided to call his wife, again, to tell her that he was going home to pick up his jacket first. After all the delays, he finally left the parking lot.
“Then it all happened, I was on my bike exiting the freeway and the last thing I remember was revving the engine and then I woke up on the side of the road. People were standing over me. It was a very traumatic time.” Rafael said. After that horrific accident, Raphael ended up having 12 bones surgeries and he even almost lost his left leg. Even until this day he doesn’t have the full use of it. “It was a very tough time for me.” Rafael said. He was in crutches for four years and 9 months. “I still remember the second day I got off from the crutches. I was walking in a store to buy a red bull drink and in the middle of my stride my leg broke. I will never forget how crazy that moment felt.” Rafael mentioned. During the many years in recovery, he dealt with depression and dysfunction inside his family. It was really a tough time for Rafael.
As the days, weeks, and months passed Raphael was losing his faith and hope. Then one day one of his friends, Kenneth Lewis, asked him to train Jiu jitsu. Raphael turned him down because he didn’t feel he was ready for it. But every Friday for 2 years, Kenneth would call Rafael and encourage him to come with him. Raphael mentioned, “People don’t believe me when I tell them that every Friday for 2 years Kenneth would call me to join him at the gym.” But still Rafael kept turning him down. Raphael would proclaim to Kenneth, “Man, are you not listening to me? I am disabled! I am handicapped!” Then finally on April 9, 2010, Rafael was finally convinced to join Kenneth at the gym to train for Jiu jitsu. From that day forward, he became hooked and has been doing Jiujitsu ever since.
“Jiu jitsu gave me my life back. It seriously put life back in my body” Raphael proclaimed. After he started jiu jitsu in 2010, he was on the fast track. After 6 weeks of training, Raphael did his first tournament, it was called Fabio Santos open. Everybody was worried about his leg injury. But Raphael went in and I won. That competition brought back the confidence Raphael needed.
Shortly after that competition, Raphael’s first professor, Joe Acuna, awarded him with a blue belt. He rose up to the scene when he was awarded a purple belt in year 2012. That year, 2012, he won 9 gold medals and he also won the Masters Senior World. In 2013, he was promoted to brown belt and won the Pan American and Master Senior Worlds. In between his competitions, he went under surgery for his leg but still came back to compete and continue to have victory wins.
“It was a good run for me, Raphael stated. From being so depressed, disabled, and even at one point, suicidal, Jiu jitsu brought out the superhuman energy within him and he superseded all odds. Despite all the trials Rafael was faced with, he was able to overcome and excel in the world of Jiu jitsu.
These SuperHuman Extra-ordinary acts of courage inspire thousands of people around the world. That no matter what happens in life, there is always hope and light at the end of the tunnel. We are proud and honored to know Rafael. Rafael continues to help and inspire kids in National City that are getting into trouble and walking along the wrong path. Raphael states, “My goal is to bring the kids together and keep them away from drugs, gang, and violence. I feel like I can make a difference and my contribution to my community is to give these kids discipline in the art of Jiu jitsu.” Raphael has become a teacher, mentor, and an inspiration to the community. He shares his passion, knowledge, and skills in Jiu jitsu and continues to change people’s lives everyday. He is Superhuman.