On Invisibility attempts to meditate on the relationality between the seen and unseen, known and unknowable, particularly when in relation with an other, when grappling – in touch with – another. This text opens the dossier that, whilst seemingly antonyms, invisibility is part of visibility; that each act of seeing is fraught with the possibility of blindness. And more than that, relationality with another is premised on this very unknowability. Which is why, not only does one encounter jiu-jitsu through practice, praxis; not only does one encounter jiu-jitsu through an encounter with the other; part of it always escapes us, remains enigmatic. Thus, not only is it arte suave, it is always also potentially arte bela. So, even as we attempt to address the question what is jiu-jitsu, part of it will always remain beyond us. Which might be why we have no choice but to turn to art: for, all that we know, can see, of jiu-jitsu will be fragments of it – sketches.
On invisibility is a remarkably elegant but also daring and truly thought-provoking work. What it dares and also asks the reader to dare is to reconsider and rethink not only how to understand jiu-jitsu, its different teachings, schools and methods as such, but also – and no less importantly – to question the very basis of what seeing, understanding, thinking and knowledge here means. The very possibility of questioning anew, of opening the imagination to other possibilities is in Fernando´s work intimately linked to the relation between the visible and the invisible, the known and the unknowable. These apparent antonyms delineate in On invisibility no longer a simple and stable border between what can be thought and what must remain outside thinking. Rather it would seem that jiu-jitsu in Fernando´s beautiful writing – both as a praxis and indeed as art – thoroughly destabilizes and transgresses what we usually attempt to separate and thereby confronts us with a blindness of seeing – a darkness in the midst of sight – and a non-thought of thought. Beyond oppositions, beyond what can be taught, controlled and repeated there is the moment of discovery and of experience, a “flow with the go” which is so uniquely singular that it seems to approach something universal. Thanks to the dynamics between the book´s text and illustrations, between Fernando´s writing and Chen´s graceful drawings, the work itself has all the seductive force of the jiu-jitsu masters that the work describes.Anders Kølle, author of Two Be or Not to Be