Fifty Valente Brothers black belts, professors, instructors, assistant instructors and study group leaders gathered at VB Headquarters in North Miami Beach. The Shokunin Conference was the first ever of its kind and the results were extremely positive. Over the course of three days the conference covered many topics including important historical findings, pedagogical techniques, nutritional advice and a 753 Code discussion. During the meeting the Valente brothers also presented new norms and requirements for black belt degrees. The Shokunin Conference will become a yearly event.
Did you know that between 1997 and 2007 Grandmaster Helio Gracie visited his life long students, the Valente brothers, in Miami, every single year, sometimes multiple times a year? The greatest exponent of modern Jiu-jitsu and one of the founding fathers of the gentle art in Brazil lived the last 20 years of his life in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro. The location resembled a samurai style compound. The late Grandmaster loved nature and was surrounded horses and dogs. He always considered himself to be a fine horseman. Grandmaster Helio lived like a true samurai and continued perfecting his self-defense skills until his final years. As he aged and became physically weaker he adapted his fighting skills so that he could continue to withstand the attacks of younger and stronger opponents. On January 29th, 2009, Helio Gracie, who was 95 years young, departed to the next stage of his spiritual journey. Watch the CBS News piece bellow and find out where were the only three places the Grandmaster taught in the last years of his life.