“With a last name like mine (meaning “valiant” in Portuguese), I had a rough time as a kid at school,” remembered Dr. Pedro Valente, wearing a gi, as he told the story of how he got his start in Jiu-Jitsu. “My father told me that in his day he would say, ‘No way, it’s just my name that is Valiant,’ but I resolved to learn how to defend myself.”
That was how the lesson-, remembrance-, emotion- and friendly embrace-filled ceremony to decorate the surgeon with a Jiu-Jitsu red belt went yesterday at around 8:30pm at Gracie Humaitá academy in Rio de Janeiro, at Professor Relson Gracie’s behest.
Valente, who paused in silence to hold back tears when addressing his old friend and master, Helio Gracie, recounted stories of how he took up arms to defend his old friend and former governor of the state of Rio Leonel Brizola, and everyone in attendance ate it up.
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, João Alberto Barreto, accompanied by Master Alvaro Barreto. On the video projection screen Rorion and Royce Gracie sent their congratulations to the father of the Valente brothers, of whom the father made mention: “Were it not for my sons and daughter, I would not still be training today.”
Helio Gracie, as always, was one of the stars, appearing in an old video reminding of Valente’s victories and achievements, inspiring laughter from Gracie Humaitá’s highest-ranking members.
Pedro Valente thus joins a select club of grandmasters. Officially registered by the IBJJF, there are but nine of them, due to complications in obtaining information by the highest governing body of Jiu-Jitsu on the planet. Check out the list of red belts on the IBJJF website, and to help resolve the issues in documenting and making your new belt (of any color) official, visit www.cbjj.com.br/filiar.htm or www.ibjjf.org/member.htm, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Ninth-degree red belts up until 2010 (IBJJF):