Over the last 50 years, three generations of the Valente family have learned Jiu-Jitsu directly from Grand Master Hélio Gracie. Pedro Valente Sr. started learning judo at the age of nine. Pedro’s dad Syllo Valente, was an admirer of Hélio Gracie and took Pedro, who was 12 at the time, to watch the world title fight between Hélio and Kimura. The challenge took place at Maracana Stadium that seats over 100,000 spectators. Even though the heavier Kimura won, they were very impressed with Hélio’s amazing technique and decided to enroll at the original Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro.
In 1953, father and son went to the academy in downtown Rio and started learning Jiu-Jitsu.
The late Dr. Syllo Valente was a naturalist and a homeopathic doctor. Like many Brazilians, he was impressed with Grandmaster Hélio’s great feats and found in Jiu-Jitsu an ideal complement to his life and the education of his son, Pedro.
Valente means brave in Portuguese and during a good part of his youth, Pedro Sr. was often forced to prove the name he carried. The practice of Jiu-Jitsu not only provided a powerful tool to cope with bullies but also a source of confidence that gradually taught him alternatives to physical confrontation. Pedro Sr. became one of the Gracie Academy’s top students and went on to participate in several high profile challenge matches including a fight in Maracanãzinho stadium in front of 20 thousand people.
As a medical student, in the early 60’s, Pedro Sr. met one of Brazil’s most prominent plastic surgeons at the Gracie Academy. Training partners on the mat both developed a great friendship. This connection contributed greatly to the rapid success he achieved as a surgeon. In the early 80’s the New York Times recognized him as one of the world’s top 5 plastic surgeons. An accomplished physician, Dr. Valente became in two occasions Rio de Janeiro’s Secretary of Health and in one other opportunity Secretary of Transportation. Sports are also an important part of his life, in particular, Equestrian Show Jumping and Football (Soccer). He was Vasco da Gama’s Vice President and Chief Doctor. Vasco is one of the world’s most recognized Soccer teams.
After fifty-five years of training directly under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie, Dr. Pedro Valente Sr. holds the highest degree in the art (Red Belt) and the title of Grand Master.
The Valente Brothers were born into the Jiu-Jitsu tradition. Pedro, Gui and Joaquim began learning Jiu-Jitsu from their father as soon as they learned how to walk. At the tender age of two, Pedro, Gui and Joaquim were already taking private lessons from Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. Growing up, the Valente brothers trained daily at the original Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro under Hélio, Royler, and Rolker Gracie. Throughout their training they had the privilege to learn from all the Gracie Brothers: Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, Royce, and Robin. Today, The Valente Brothers run one of the most successful schools in the world and we are honoured to be apart of the family.