Gracie Jiu-Jitsu - Brazil
Utah is home to a rich history of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu stemming from Pedro Sauer (8th degree Gracie red and black coral belt). Here in Utah, Professor Sauer awarded his first black belt and first female black belt. Utah is also home to his largest concentration of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belts.
The Bernales Institute has two Black Belts currently teaching: 3rd Degree Black Belt Professor Will Bernales and Jiu-Jitsu and MMA competitor John McKean. The Bernales Institute is an official affiliate of the Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association. The knowledge and technique flowing through BIMA is world class. With daily classes for beginner through advanced students, youth classes, and gi and no gi classes, the Bernales Institute is a great place to perfect the "gentle art" of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Grand Master Helio Gracie – Professor Pedro Sauer
Helio Gracie (October 1, 1913 – January 29, 2009) was a Brazilian martial artist who, together with his brother Carlos Gracie, founded the martial art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, known internationally as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). According to Rorion Gracie, his father Helio Gracie is one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history; he was named Man of the Year in 1997 by the American martial arts publication Black Belt magazine.
Gracie was born on October 1, 1913, in Belém do Pará, Brazil. When he was 16 years old, he had the opportunity to teach a jujutsu class (at that time judo was commonly referred to as Kano Jiu-Jitsu or simply Jiu-Jitsu), and this experience led him to develop Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A director of the Bank of Brazil, Mario Brandt, arrived for a private class at the original Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro. The instructor, Carlos Gracie, was running late and was not present. Helio offered to begin the class with the man. When the tardy Carlos arrived offering his apologies, the student assured him it was no problem, and actually requested that he be allowed to continue learning with Helio Gracie instead. Carlos agreed to this and Helio Gracie became an instructor.
Gracie realized that even though he knew the techniques theoretically, the moves were much harder to execute. Due to his smaller size, he realized that many of the judo moves required brute strength that did not suit his small stature. Consequently, he began adapting judo for his particular physical attributes, and through trial and error learned to maximize leverage, thus minimizing the force that needed to be exerted to execute a technique. From these experiments, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, later known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, was created. Using these new techniques, smaller and weaker practitioners gained the capability to defend themselves and even defeat much larger opponents.
Pedro Sauer is an 8th-degree Gracie Jiu Jitsu red and black belt under Rickson Gracie and Helio Gracie. On May 17, 2005, he was named "Best of the Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor" in a worldwide poll conducted by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC). Pedro Sauer was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where from an early age he began training in the martial arts. At age five, he began boxing and later took up judo and taekwondo. At age fifteen, however, his friend, Rickson Gracie, invited him to practice jiu-jitsu with his younger brother, Royler, who at the time was only nine years old. The outcome of this experience convinced him that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was the most effective of all the martial arts, and he began official training the next day.
Pedro earned his Black Belt from Helio and Rickson in 1985, after years of training at the famous Gracie Humaitá Academy in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
After moving to Utah in December 1990, he taught as one of only two non-Gracie black belts under the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy (run by Rorion and Royce Gracie). In October 1996, he became an official representative Black Belt Instructor under the Rickson Gracie American Jiu-Jitsu Association.
Source for Helio Gracie's Bio (link contains citations).
Source for Pedro Sauer's Bio (link contains citations).
We follow the belting system of the Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association, as shown below: