FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Jiu-Jitsu?
Jiu-Jitsu is the most complete and efficient martial art known today for a weaker person to defend him or herself against a stronger aggressor. Jiu-Jitsu is the art of flexibility, adaptability, pliancy, and astuteness. It characterizes the triumph of human intelligence over brute strength. Hélio Gracie’s Jiu-Jitsu is a complete self-defense system that will prepare you to defend yourself against a potential life threatening assault. It emphasizes simple movements, practical techniques, and realistic scenarios. The practice of Jiu-Jitsu affords an ideal means for the cultivation not only of great physical endurance, and of bodily and mental alertness in swift adaptation to an ever changing situation, but also of the moral qualities of perseverance, steadfastness of purpose, concentration, cool judgment and presence of mind to cope with an emergency.
Many people currently believe that Jiu-Jitsu is limited to ground grappling techniques. This could not be further from the truth. All you need to do is look up the word Jiu-Jitsu in the Webster dictionary and you will find that it stands for “an art of weaponless fighting employing holds, throws, and paralyzing blows to subdue or disable an opponent.”
Our style of Jiu-Jitsu is the official hand-to-hand combat system of the United States Military and of law enforcement agencies all around the country. The principles of Jiu-Jitsu that enable a small person to defeat a much larger attacker can also be applied to improve all areas of a person’s life.
Is there a difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
No. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu are the same. The late Carlos Gracie Sr. learned Kano Jiu-Jitsu (Judo) from Mitsuyo Maeda and opened the first Gracie Academy in 1925, with his brothers. His younger brother Hélio Gracie adapted those Asian techniques, developing the modern style of Jiu-Jitsu. Today, the Brazilian system of Jiu-Jitsu is widely recognized all around the world due to the courage, hard work, and sacrifice of Grandmasters Carlos and Hélio Gracie and their loyal followers. The difference in Jiu-Jitsu styles lies between Hélio Gracie's Jiu-Jitsu strictly for self-defense and Sport (Gracie/Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu developed for point competitions. As a student, make sure to verify the credentials, lineage, and background of your possible instructors, as well as the scenarios presented during a class in order to decide if you want to compete or learn the defensive and survival aspect of (Gracie/Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu.
Is Hélio Gracie’s style of Jiu-Jitsu outdated?
The Jiu-Jitsu of Hélio Gracie is a modern, simple, and effective strategy, that enables a small person to survive an attack by a bigger person. All modifications and developments of his Jiu-Jitsu style have occurred in the sportive realm and rely on physical attributes such as strength, speed, flexibility, and agility. Hélio Gracie’s genius was precisely the development of a defensive system of fighting, which is the best way to neutralize a much stronger opponent. Offensive fighting strategies while being useful against opponents of equal stature have failed to work, time and time again, against substantially stronger adversaries.
Why Valente Brothers?
The Valente brothers were born into a family of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and were raised from childhood to educate others on its amazing benefits. From a young age their father Dr. Pedro Valente Sr., who is an 8th Dan Jiu-Jitsu Master under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie, managed to transmit the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle to the brothers. This philosophy was ingrained in them from childhood and positively affected every area of their life. The Rational Nutritional Regimen promoted by Grandmaster Carlos Gracie was strictly followed in the Valente household. Their father encouraged them not only to develop their physical jiu-jitsu skills, but also their intellectuality by attending the best schools and universities throughout their lives. The Valente Brothers hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from prominent American Universities. The combination of their extensive academic experience with the countless hours they shared with GM Hélio Gracie both on and off the mat put them in a unique position to organize and spearhead one of the most structured, articulate, coherent, and effective jiu-jitsu programs in existence. The Valente Brothers are extremely honored that many of the most successful martial arts schools in the world are utilizing many of the methods that they pioneered.
Is this the right school for me?
Before joining any school consider your goals and objectives. Today many martial arts have developed competitive sport organizations, and Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no different. These Jiu-Jitsu gyms focus on training athletes for sportive tournaments. If your goal is learning self-defense, make sure to find a school that concentrates on realistic street scenarios rather than a competition team that prepares students for point orientated tournaments.
Grand Master Hélio Gracie stated, "Jiu-Jitsu is first and foremost an art of combat, All the improvements that I made were with the goal of maintaining that objective." Consequently our school's mission is to provide the most effective self-defense instruction in the world by giving students the elements to defend themselves in real life, with no rules, no points, and no time limits. The practice of Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent physical recreation where every single muscle from head to toe is called into active use in a balanced and healthy way.
If you are looking for a family oriented, clean, respectful, and noble environment where you will learn Jiu-Jitsu in its purest form, Valente Brothers is the right school for you.
Why did Grandmaster Hélio Gracie stop supporting sport Jiu-Jitsu competitions?
The original Gracie brothers, Carlos and Hélio Gracie, always considered Jiu-Jitsu to be the most effective art of self-defense and not a competition sport. In order to prove the superiority of Jiu-Jitsu over other styles, they created Vale Tudo (MMA). Through Hélio’s epic battles against the best fighters of his time, they were able to prove their point and attain international notoriety. Many years’ later, by influence of some students and family members who wanted to compete against other Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, Grandmaster Hélio decided to take part in an effort to create a Jiu-Jitsu federation for the organization of grappling competitions. However, as he noticed that these regulated competitions were causing a decharacterization of the fundamental principles and objectives of his style of Jiu-Jitsu, he decided to resign from the federation. According to the Grandmaster, this occurred because the awarding of points for positional superiority and the institution of time limits prevented the utilization of a defensive strategy from the bottom, which is what had enabled Jiu-Jitsu representatives to defeat their biggest and toughest opponents. By examining some of the most important fights in the recent history of Jiu-Jitsu, such as Rickson Gracie vs. Zulu, Royce Gracie vs Dan Severn and Nogueira (Minotauro) vs. Bob Sapp, one can conclude that the utilization of a defensive strategy from the bottom enabled the Jiu-jitsu representatives to tire out their opponents and defeat them once they committed a mistake, as predicated by Grand Masters Carlos and Helio Gracie. It is important to note that all three Jiu-Jitsu representatives would have lost if the sport Jiu-Jitsu tournament point scoring system and time limit had been applied in those fights.
Does Valente Brothers participate in grappling sportive competitions?
Valente Brothers is proud to abide strictly by Grandmaster Hélio Gracie’s training philosophy, and to focus 100% of our attention on teaching a combat system. As per Grand Master Hélio’s recommendation, Valente Brothers does not participate in any point competitions. According to Grandmaster Hélio, sparring and technical practice should always emphasize street like conditions, including strikes, hard flooring and multiple opponents. Moreover, we want our school to be a center that promotes personal development and self-confidence rather than a breeding ground for athletes who want to compete in regulated tournaments. Tournaments were first established to serve as a means to better self-defense skills. Unfortunately the means became more important than the end, and the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu were modified to fit tournament rules rather than the realities of hand to hand combat. It is important to note that Valente Brothers is not against sportive competitions of any kind.
Can women learn Jiu-Jitsu?
Absolutely! Women often learn better and faster than men. This occurs because they are less inclined to rely on muscle and often adapt to the efficient techniques of Jiu-Jitsu very quickly. The Valente Brothers recognize the specific self-defensive needs of women and utilize a specially designed curriculum that addresses the realities of an assault against a female.
Is Jiu-Jitsu effective against multiple opponents?
Jiu-Jitsu gives students the best possible chance when facing an attack by one or more opponents. The overwhelming superiority demonstrated by Royce Gracie in the Ultimate Fighting Championship by taking his opponents to the ground, created a misconception that jiu-jitsu is exclusively a ground fighting system. Jiu-Jitsu is a complete fighting system and not an exclusively ground grappling art. A Jiu-Jitsu practitioner learns strikes, which include techniques with the elbows, hands, feet, head, and knees. Students learn that the optimum self-defense strategy is to maintain a safe distance from the attacker. This battle-tested method teaches defenses against the most common street attacks, the majority standing, which quickly neutralize aggressors. The practice of Jiu-Jitsu corrects a long lasting myth that real life fights are like scenes from martial arts movies where protagonists KO dozens of "bad guys" one after the other. A Jiu-Jitsu practitioner possesses the most realistic chances of safely overcoming a multiple opponents’ attack.
Is training safe?
Student safety is a primary concern during all classes. The completion of the Fundamentals curriculum reduces the possibility of injury to a minimal level. The practice of Jiu-Jitsu at our academy is safe and sound. Grand Master Hélio Gracie’s teaching methods constantly emphasize the importance of keeping students out of harm’s way. Lack of seriousness during training and the resultant careless application of technique or counter-technique contribute greatly to injury. Careless practice is disrespectful to the spirit of Jiu-Jitsu and is not tolerated in our academy.
How should I learn the art?
To learn the ABC's of any subject requires a certain amount of hard work and dedication. This certainly applies to the learning of Jiu-Jitsu. Learning the fundamental techniques of Jiu-Jitsu is extremely important since they indicate the principles on which the whole of the art is based. When the fundamentals are neglected the student will not have a strong technical base and will try to compensate by using personal athletic abilities.
All practitioners should realize that it is better to learn the basic techniques and principles well than to saturate the mind with hundreds of subsidiary techniques that cannot possibly be mastered in one lifetime.
Frequent practice is essential if efficiency is to be gained. The key to learning Jiu-Jitsu is repetition. The ultimate goal is to condition your sub-conscious with Jiu-Jitsu so that you can react automatically to any unpredictable situation that might arise.
Once you complete the fundamentals you will have the opportunity to join the Advanced Program. This program consists of different specialized classes and focuses more deeply on each separate element of a fight. In the course of the Advanced Program, you will learn new techniques and combinations, improve your reaction time, and refine your current knowledge.
Can anyone learn Jiu-Jitsu?
Men and women, girls and boys, may safely experience the benefits of learning Jiu-Jitsu even if they have little or no previous experience with any physical activity. The techniques of Jiu-Jitsu are based on natural movements that can easily be performed by anyone. We currently teach several elderly students as well as students with disabilities.
Is Jiu-Jitsu a good a physical exercise?
As a means of physical exercise Jiu-Jitsu has no superior. Every single muscle from the neck to the toes is called into active use, and certain sets of muscle are not unduly exercised to the neglect of others, as happens with so many sports.
Is it a cardiovascular workout? Can I lose weight?
With persistence and dedication, you can lose inches while developing muscle tone over the entire body as well as increasing endurance of the heart and lungs. We have several examples of students who have lost as much as 80 lbs. after entering our academy. Many have quit smoking and other negative habits due to the practice of Jiu-Jitsu.