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Friday, Oct 2, 2009 - 23:37

Military News - Valente & Gracie teaching the US MIlitary in Baghdad, Iraq

Service members on the Victory Base Complex were treated to workshops by Gracie Jiu-Jitsu the professors.

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Below are a few excerpts from an Interview Gui Valente and Ryron Gracie gave to the Task Force Mountain Journal while in Camp Victory, Iraq. Service members on the Victory Base Complex were treated to workshops by the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu the professors. Ryron and Gui Valente trained over 500 troops during their tour through several US bases in Iraq.

Basic Army combatives incorporates the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu form, which made training with its founders an exciting opportunity. An opportunity made possible by Maj. Gen. Michael Ferriter, Multi-National Corps – Iraq deputy commanding general. 

The Soldiers participating in the class had a lot to learn from the Gracie Academy instructors; yet, the teacher very often becomes the student in classes like these. “Initially I would say it is a mutual exchange of experiences and knowledge that benefits everyone,” said Gui Valente, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Miami head instructor. “Our objective is to introduce the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu philosophy to as many troops possible; the practice of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu transcends the application of chokes, arm locks or strikes.” Gracie hopes service members will understand there are different philosophies in fighting after these classes. His goal is to convey how Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and the Army Combative Program can help service members find a great philosophy and mind set. “Never expect to use strength or power to beat an opponent, but instead, expect to be outweighed and outsized,” Valente said. “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu shows that you can be smaller and still beat your opponent. As Rorion says, ‘Life’s a fight, be ready.’”

"The Practice of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu presents a valuable avenue for growth in many areas such as efficiency, confidence, courage, loyalty, discipline and respect, said Gui. “Over the last 50 years, three generations of the Valente family have learned Gracie Jiu-Jitsu directly from Grand Master Hélio Gracie, Ryron's Grandfather,” said Valente. “Today, I can proudly say that my grandfather, my father and I have learned from the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.” Valente and Gracie have spent a great deal of time together over the years. As childhood friends and now instructors for the Gracie Academy, they often see each other though Gracie lives in California and Valente in Florida. “We frequently travel to visit each other’s school and teach class together. In our high school days, when I still lived in Rio de Janeiro, Ryron used to come during the summer and spend weeks in my house.”

Gracie and Valente said coming to Iraq has been a great honor and opportunity to give back to their country and the troops. After having such a great experience here in Iraq, they plan to teach troops serving in Afghanistan. “We would like to say that it has been a great opportunity and an honor to support the troops that help maintain our freedom. We are extremely grateful for their sacrifice and commitment to the United States of America,” said Valente and Gracie. “The opportunity to be here and witness the commitment and sacrifice of the troops is something that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.”

-Written by Spc. Tiffany Evans - Friday, 21 November 2008

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