I had a chance to interview a black-belt in brazilian jiu jitsu – Gui Valente. He is well known jiu jitsu teacher in Florida. At “Valente Brothers Jiu Jitsu” he teaches law enforcements and military among other students. I personally, never tried jiu jitsu before, but after interviewing Gui, I think I might want to take a couple of classes next time I’m in Miami :)
Who is Gui Valente?
Firstly, thank you for the invitation and for the opportunity to talk about our lifestyle. I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and for the past 13 years Miami Beach has been my home. I moved to South Florida as soon as I graduated from high school in Rio to attend Barry University. I chose Miami mostly because of the warm weather and the beaches. Coming from Rio, I felt that it would be a lot easier to adapt, especially because of our diet. In Miami, you can always find a great variety of fruits and vegetables all year round. Also, Rio and Miami share many other similarities; the Latin influence and the ability to practice water sports all across the city are just a few. Another reason why I chose Miami was because my older brother Pedro already lived here and had started his own Jiu-Jitsu school. Growing up, Jiu-Jitsu was always part of our lives and coming to Miami made it easier not only to train with my brother, but also to help him with the school as well.
How did you get involved into jiu-jitsu
Actually, I do not even remember the first time I trained Jiu-Jitsu. In our family lifestyle, training starts when you are still an infant. I was fortunate because my dad was already a black belt and got me started before I could walk. When I was two years old I began taking classes from Grandmaster Hélio Gracie, the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (also known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and continued to be his student until he passed away in January of 2009.
Who is your inspirational figure
My father, Dr. Pedro Valente and my teacher, Hélio Gracie. Together, they taught me valuable lessons about the mind, the body and the spirit. Through their teachings I learned how to protect myself physically and intellectually. I learned that there is no better investment than in our own health. I learned to understand and respect the laws of nature and that everything happens for a reason. I learned we should always try to better ourselves in every thing we do and that we should always continue to learn.
What does Gui Valente eat?
My diet consists primarily of fruits and vegetables and follows three basic elements:
- Food selection,
- Food combining,
- Spacing between meals.
I am still not a full vegetarian, but I stopped eating red meat in 2007. Growing up, I learned that a good avocado and some Brazil nuts are much healthier sources of protein than beef. I also learned to respect food and to only eat what is healthy. In a normal day I’ll have a fruit smoothie for breakfast; a nice green salad with plenty of raw vegetables, legumes, cashews and a plate of whole grain and fish, and my carrot juice, for lunch; and for dinner, another fruit smoothie – and, if I am hungry, a couple pieces of whole wheat toast with honey or dates.
My favorote beverage is coconut water, from the actual coconut and fresh watermelon juice from my juicer.
What is “Gracie” diet?
My diet is based on what is known today as the “Gracie Diet”. Growing up we called it “O Regime” (The Regimen). In simple terms, it is a method of eating based on naturalist and hygienist philosophies and developed during 65 years of research and first-hand use by Grand Master Carlos Gracie, my teacher’s older brother. It is based on selecting natural foods that do not poison the body and combining them in ways that allow for an efficient digestion.
Tell us a little bit about your academy.
Even though my brothers and I were brought up in the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu tradition we never expected to have a Jiu-Jitsu school. We all graduated from American universities and the plan was to pursue our own careers as businessmen. However, as I learned, everything happens for a reason; and the school that my older brother started, just to have a place to train as he completed his studies, has in fact become our lives’ focus.
Today, I work with my two brothers, Pedro and Joaquim, doing what we love, Jiu-Jitsu.
Our system has three main objectives:
- First, the system teaches the most powerful self defense method in the world, as proven in the original Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC),
- Second, our system constitutes one of the most complete forms of exercise in existence,
- And third, it represents an incalculable moral and educational value.
Our headquarters is located in North Miami Beach. The school is just a few miles from the beach and right across a beautiful park, which makes us feel very much in contact with nature.
Who are your students? Do you have women- students?
The motto of our school is “Jiu-Jitsu for all”. Men and women, girls and boys, regardless of age, may safely experience the benefits of learning Jiu-Jitsu. The techniques we teach at our schools are based on natural movements that can easily be performed by anyone. Currently, our eldest student is 74 years old and our youngest is 23 months old.
Interestingly, women usually learn better and faster than men. This is because they are less inclined to rely on muscular power and tend to adapt to the efficient techniques of Jiu-Jitsu very quickly.
What’s the best to eat before and after workout session?
One of the main objectives of our diet is to provide our bodies with a constant and balanced energy level throughout the day. As Carlos Gracie often said, we teach and train almost the whole day and we cannot afford to feel weak or too full. Following any workouts we always try to drink coconut water, as it provides a natural way to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat.
Are you involved in any charity organization?
We really enjoy working with children. Recently, we designed a program to offer Jiu-JItsu in public schools in Miami. Also, in partnership with one of our students, we created a scholarship program called “Jiu-Jitsu For All”. This program provides the opportunity for a number of underprivileged kids to enroll in any of our schools.
What is your motto?
The famous latin saying, Mens sana in corpore sana (A healthy mind in a healthy body).
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