Pedro Sauer is a well-known name in the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His BJJ techniques are noted for their technical accuracy and elegance, and he is a well-respected seminar presenter.
Pedro Sauer earned his black belt from Helio Gracie and Rickson Gracie in 1985. In 1986, Pedro Sauer began his career as an instructor of BJJ techniques when he was asked to teach with an organization known in Brazil as Corpo/Quatro (“body of four”), where he continued training under ninth-degree red belt Alvaro Barreto.
Alvaro Barreto is one of three brothers — Alvaro, Sergio and João Alberto. Upon being introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, each of these brothers became proficient in BJJ techniques in their own way.
The Barreto brothers were originally associated with the Gracie family during the setup of a challenge match. Alvaro’s brother, João Alberto, was singled out as a competitor by Helio Gracie and appeared in many televised challenge matches.
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However, João Alberto broke an opponent's arm, resulting in the cancellation of the show. He soon detached from the Gracies and, with his brother Alvaro — who had also risen through the ranks to become a distinguished instructor and was teaching children BJJ techniques at the Gracie Academy by age 17 — opened his own school.
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These days, Alvaro Barreto focuses on the educational aspects of BJJ techniques. His foundation for teaching BJJ techniques is based on four components: self-defense, submissions, throws and ground fighting.
Alvaro Barreto strives to teach every student that jiu-jitsu doesn’t stop at the edge of the competitive sphere. Its purpose is not to create better fighters but to develop better human beings. According to Alvaro Barreto, a complete martial artist must have discipline and commitment to persevere.
At age 24, Alvaro Barreto opened the Academia Alvaro Barreto in the Copacabana quarter of Rio de Janeiro, where it remains to this day. It was later renamed Corpo Quatro, which means “body of four,” from its four partners. He centered his operations in that school, allowing him more time to focus on seminars and private classes.
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Alvaro Barreto teaches several group classes a week but holds private lessons every day. “He’s not a guy who sits back with his arms folded and gives orders,” his son Eduardo Barreto said during an interview for a story in the April 2009 issue of Black Belt. “He shows how to do it and actually does it with you.”
These days, many of Alvaro Barreto's seminars take place in the United States. While they’re open to the public, they’re usually held in conjunction with the associations run by the aforementioned Pedro Sauer, who’s based in Herndon, Virginia, and Pedro Carvalho, who operates out of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
In fact, Pedro Sauer has one of the largest jiu-jitsu organizations in the world — the Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association — which reaches more than 250 affiliate schools.
For more information on Alvaro Barreto, check out a brief biography at BJJHeroes.com. For more information about Pedro Sauer, visit his website at PedroSauer.com.