Master Pedro Sauer, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, The Making of a Legend.

When you talk to experts in the field of martial arts, one name comes up, “Master Pedro Sauer.” Just who is this fabled fighter, you might ask? Some say, he is a cross between Sun Tzu and Bruce Lee. While his name isn’t as recognizable as Bruce Lee’s, one thing is for sure, Sauer’s greatness and skill on the mat is the stuff of legends.

According to, “Pedro’s skill, confidence, and fearlessness as a jiu-jitsu practitioner win him the respect of all that work with him. However, it is through his sincere personality, his passion for teaching, and his ability to transfer his skills to his students in an efficient and professional manner, that he has earned the loyalty of students across the nation, and has established himself as one of the premiere military and law enforcement instructors in the U.S.”

Master Pedro Sauer

Professor Pedro Sauer grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he began training in the martial arts at a young age. His sister’s boyfriend, Marcio Mattar, a professional boxer, first encouraged him to learn to fight, “He had so much faith in me and was able to turn my energy and fearless attitude into a positive by recommending to me that I begin studying martial arts.” Sauer started boxing at age 5 and later learned Judo and Taekwondo.

Shortly after he began his training Sauer met the Great Master Helio Gracie, the founding father of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. “He took me under his wing, welcomed me into his home, and treated me like a son,” said Sauer. Gracie was uniquely able to relate to Sauer because he was a small man as well, “he taught me leverage and how to get out of difficult positions with moves and strategies for smaller fighters, he taught me how not to lose,” said Sauer.

Under Helio Gracie’s tutelage, Sauer learned to visualize what his opponents would do before they did it. This ability saved his life in later years, “In 1988, I had just dropped off my niece at her friend’s house, and when she got out I forgot to lock the door. On the way home, I was at a stop sign behind a car when a man walking by noticed my door was unlocked, and jumped in. As he sat down in the seat next to me and put a knife to my throat he said, ‘don’t look at me, just drive and pray, because you are going to die!'”

The would-be thief soon realized he had gotten into the wrong car because, “When I pushed the brakes at the stop sign, his arm moved away from my neck, and gave me the opportunity to grab ahold of it and put it into an American Arm Bar. I broke his shoulder and held his broken arm in my hand as I pummeled him with elbow strikes to the face. He ran out of the car screaming in pain.”

Sauer wasn’t always so proficient at Jiu-Jitsu, it was difficult for him in the beginning, because he was only 120 pounds and had to learn to fight against the Gracie brothers. The Gracie’s were all black belts, so he lost constantly and learned to fight (ironically) through submissiveness. “I was lucky not only to grow up training with the Gracie brothers, but also to receive perfect technique as I learned the mechanics of my body straight from the source. Helio taught me the strategies that he invented. I am forever grateful to the inspirational man who taught me everything I know, because he pushed me to be better and to continue my path towards success.”

Sauer’s training with powerful opponents didn’t end with the Gracie’s. He continues to train to this day with fighters like Mark Shultz, a 203 lb. MMA fighter. Sauer said, “Mark Shultz was the toughest person that I have ever trained with on the mat. He was very friendly and an incredibly fighter and one of the greatest people I have met.”

Master Pedro Sauer and one of his classes.

Sauer Recalls, “I was an extremely hyper kid who could never sit still and I was always in trouble. I got kicked out of one school after another and everyone thought I was either crazy or just plain bad. I used the label of “bad kid” as an excuse to do bad things, but Jiu-Jitsu provided an escape from that, and calmed me down… a little (wink). It was definitely a turning point in my life. Helio Gracie never believed that I was as crazy or bad. He often used the analogy that I was a lion outside of its boundaries and that Jiu-Jitsu would put a leash on me. Helio used that leash to hold a firm grip on me during the training process. Many years later he told me that the leash was now in my own hands and that I now had the ability to either tighten it to control myself or loosen it when necessary for defense.”

Sauer says, “The Gracie family as a whole was great. We boys were always competing against each other whether it was on the mat or out on the weekends with girls. Healthy food was always around the house to make sure we were in top shape. Helio turned us into the most technical people in the world, as he encouraged us to train 6 hours a day, non-stop, he made sure we stayed in the best condition.” Sauer says that anyone can learn Jiu Jitsu and that there are many health benefits from its practice, it tones the muscles and is a great cardiovascular workout. Mentally, it creates better people that are more tolerant, patient, laid back, and fearless of losing. It teaches the student that you don’t always need to be aggressive in tense situations, giving them an advantage.

Sauer works extensively with the military, including the Marines, Navy SEAL teams (including the snipers). He has also trained FBI and CIA agents in Texas.Master Pedro Sauer is Gracie Jiu Jitsu royalty, yet he has managed to stay well grounded, “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu made me humble as I learned respect, honor, integrity, and loyalty. I can never stress enough how important loyalty is in any future career in Martial Arts. I would like to thank all of my loyal students who have stayed with me throughout the years and have been unconditionally loyal and honest with me. They have exceeded any expectations I have had for them. I could never ask for better pupils. It is difficult to mention specific names, but all the guys in my affiliations of 120 academies are on my website”

Prof. Pedro Sauer proudly standing infront of his Navy Seal TEAM 6/ Blue TEAM/ Cadre TEAM/ Red REAM/ awards p

When Prof. Sauer was asked about one student, that credits him with “saving his life,” Master Lovi of the Robert Lovi Academy in San Diego, CA,, he said “Rob Lovi is a great example of character. He has discipline, integrity, and above all, dedication. He was a bit crazy when he started Gracie Jiu Jitsu 🙂 but training has completely changed his life.”

“Today, he is a totally different guy who is always helping the community and transforming the lives of others. I am very proud of him and his talent. I am lucky to have had him walk into my academy and be one of my students.” Muhammad Ali once said, “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” Pedro Sauer is one of these champions.

Russell W. Dickson
Russell W. Dickson, lives in upstate NY, and is a Freelance journalist. He has written for both print and online news/opinion pages.Russell holds a B.A. in English, minor Journalism from The University at Albany, Albany, NY. His writing experience spans more than a decade and his work has graced the pages of newspapers, magazines, online news orgs, and political websites in both the U.S. and abroad.