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On December 6, 2010 Royce Gracie joined brothers Pedro, Gui, and Joaquim Valente in Miami, Florida at Valente Brothers Headquarters for the Valente Brothers' annual winter belt ceremony.
Professor Pedro Valente opened the ceremony by paying homage to his teacher Grandmaster Helio Gracie. He then acknowledged Royce Gracie for his courage in stepping into the octagon in the original Ultimate Fighting Championships, which led to the popularization of jiu-jitsu all over the world. Next, Pedro read a short statement from his father Professor Pedro Valente Sr. who was in Brazil and thus could not attend but who was there in spirit.
Pedro spoke passionately about the single focus of the training at Valente Brothers: survival in a self-defense situation. To achieve this goal, students engage in competitive sparing training designed exclusively for the development of the student's ability to prevail in a self-defense situation, instead of the logistics required for sportive competition.
Once again, as is reported every year, this was the largest belt ceremony in Valente Brothers history with students and representatives from Valente Brothers Headquarters in Miami, and affiliate schools in Pembrook Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Guatemala, South Carolina and Texas, as well as Royce Gracie's affiliate school in Ecuador, in attendance.
A diverse group of students were promoted in rank, young and old, including 71 year old Scott Penley who began his jiu-jitsu training just last year.
A select group of long time students were promoted to the coveted black belt rank. These students were Paul Hansen, Jex Fontaine, Jack Walker, Calvin Carter, Eduardo Cambas, Roy Cantu, and Oliver Jordan, all of whom were keenly observed throughout the year and passed a rigorous examination where their technique, mental focus, emotional composure, and knowledge of jiu-jitsu history, philosophy, and lifestyle was put to the ultimate test.
Pedro ended the ceremony by thanking all in attendance, students and family members, for their support, hard work and sacrifice.
Professor Gui Valente jumped up at the last minute and capped off the evening with a heartfelt thanks to his brother Pedro.
"This is something I mean to do every year, and I forget. All of this that we have here wouldn't be possible without the best brother and the best professor we all have, Professor Pedro Valente."
The crowd rose with a standing ovation.
As the curtain closed on the evening's festivities, students filtered out into the night wind, which scattered and separated them back into different cities, states, countries, walks of life. But although they were separated, they remained connected, as if by threads of an invisible spider web, by a common tradition from the past and by a common mission for the future.
By Steven Abood
To learn more about the Valente Brothers Jiu-Jitsu School please visit: herewww.ValenteBrothers.com