Historical Self Defense Summit Held at Valente Brothers Headquarters in Support of the Navy SEAL Foundation
By Steven Abood
The Valente family never seem to be short of firsts when it comes to ways of preserving the original system of their teacher, the founder of Gracie Jiujitsu, Grandmaster Helio Gracie. Although they would surely shrug off any recognition, the Valentes, three generations of direct disciples of Grandmaster Helio, deserve credit for a number of accomplishments in spreading the authentic self defense system of their teacher. Their innovative Fundamentals program, designed with Grandmaster Helio’s supervision, takes the self defense curriculum and teaching method available for half a century only in private lessons, and makes it accessible to the masses in group classes. Brothers Pedro, Gui, and Joaquim’s father, Dr. Pedro Valente Sr., a frequent presence in the academy, was recently awarded the 9th degree red belt, the highest possible rank an individual can achieve. The organization of their academy is like a college university, with a core required curriculum and specialized elective classes. Their focus, laser sharp: transmitting the most realistic and practical self defense method in the world directly to their students.
Despite all these accomplishments, the Valentes never seem to rest on their laurels, and last Saturday, Valente Brothers took another step forward in ensuring that their students have the highest degree of access to the information needed to help them should they ever be threatened on the street. The occasion was a fundraising “Street Safe Seminar” for the Navy SEAL Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance to the families of the most skilled military operatives in the world, who are killed or injured in the line of duty. This was an especially opportune and emotional moment for such an event, due to the 9/11 anniversary, the recent success of the SEAL team in bringing down Osama bin Laden, and the recent SEAL tragedy in Afghanistan.
Although heralded as a “seminar”, the name belied the event’s significance. It could more accurately be described as a “summit”, since it was no less than a high level meeting of individuals at the top of their respective fields.
Notable politicians such as Florida state senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Miami Beach mayor George Vallejo, several high profile members of the US Military, Navy SEAL operators from various units, a number of law enforcement officers including SWAT team instructors, lawyers, and doctors ,were all in attendance and shared their views and experience on the topic of street self defense and safety.
The Valente brothers taught street techniques never before seen outside the private lesson room of Grandmaster Helio Gracie or their own private lesson room. The techniques they taught consisted of revolutionary approaches to survive “mass attack” or multiple attacker situations, as well as techniques to incapacitate an attacker quickly from a standing or ground position.
As if this extremely rare and valuable information wasn’t enough, a plethora of experts on different aspects of street self defense spoke or gave presentations. The members of various Navy SEALs teams who were present spoke about different street safety and preparedness issues and the strong philosophical similarities between the teachings of the Valentes and the SEALs.
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Florida state senator and attorney, spoke about the use of force on the street, Florida self defense law, and proportionality in responses to a physical threat. He answered a number of questions from the captive audience of nearly a hundred individuals participating in the summit.