Red Belt Pedro Valente Sr Passes Away at Age 78

Red Belt Pedro Valente Sr Passes Away at Age 78


Pedro Valente Sr., famous plastic surgeon and student of Hélio Gracie since 1953, has passed away today at the age of 78.

He was the father of the Valente brothers: Pedro Jr, Joaquim and Guilherme of Valente Brothers Jiu-Jitsu Miami.

Mr Valente was battling a life-threatening disease for the last four years and it was a miracle that he lived this long.

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Back in 2011, Pedro Valente Sr. joined the select club of grand masters as he was awarded his red belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The ceremony took place at the Gracie Humaita school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After carefully and affectionately removing the red and black belt signed by Helio from around his waist, Pedro Valente had the red belt fastened on him by brothers Relson, Royler and Rolker, and by his first teacher, Joao Alberto Barreto, accompanied by Master Alvaro Barreto.


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Helio Gracie and Pedro Valente


From Valente brothers website:

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.