Training with the Valente Brothers

 in London - Sherbourne Martial Arts Academy: SMAA

Visit to the Valente Brothers’ in Miami


In August of 2017 I had the rare privilege of participating in a week-long private training program at the Valente Brothers Jiu Jitsu Club in Miami Beach, Florida.  I have been there several times before to attend private lessons, and my experiences each time have been nothing short of phenomenal, so I was really looking forward to an entire week of training with their team this year.  The focus for this visit was refining the Helio Gracie Self-Defense System that I have been working on for the last 10 years.  


I repeated the same classes several times and felt more capable each time, not only due to the repetition, but more importantly due to the manner in which the material was taught.  As a student of martial arts for 40 years and as a professional school teacher for over 20 years, it was refreshing to participate in such a well structured, kind, and respectful learning environment steeped in tradition and history.  


Most importantly, I had the opportunity to train with each of the brothers, and also had an extraordinary experience in training with Professor Pedro, who not only educated me in technique, but took the extra time to sit with me to gain a better sense of what I was seeking, and to understand my views on the quality of the training.  In fact, Jaoquim Valente also took the time to sit and talk with me during the week to answer my questions, and make me feel as though I was a valued student (not simply a visitor to their class).


Not only do these gentlemen have amazing teaching practices, fantastic and comprehensive self-defense training, they also have the premiere facility in North America, and a true sense of what Helio Gracie Jiu Jitsu is intended to be.  In my view, their training facility truly is the Valhalla of martial arts, and you can discover this Valhalla without dying on a Norse battlefield.


To summarize my overall perspective after the week of training - it was both exceptional and invigorating as a WKKJO instructor to experience this level of expert training and quality technique.  I have since developed self-defense program curriculum that is well constructed and scaffolded to allow for gradual progression and growth at a steady pace.  Foundation techniques build on each other and progress toward more complex techniques.  Our classes generally conform to the following outline: a warm up and an informal exchange of previously learned techniques with a partner, the instruction often begins with scenarios to provide context and cautions related to the technique, and then transitions to a methodical breakdown of the critical parts of the movements of the technique being learned, as well as, the nuances that help facilitate mastery (angle, posture, base, structure, and timing).  


I feel invigorated after this experience, and as a Jiu Jitsu instructor I look forward to my next trip to Valhalla.

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