Fernando was born and brought up on the island of Puerto Rico. He went to high school in the Bay Area, then returned to P.R. and attended the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. Through his family ties in the Bay Area, he finally settled in the East Bay Area in 1995 to begin working for the family business.
Professor Fernando Valdes
Fernando was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1993, seeing Royce Gracie’s accomplishments propel him to the American martial arts forefront. Fernando knew this was what he would want to pursue from that point forward.
In 2004, Fernando found a local Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Antioch, CA, and officially began his Jiu-Jitsu journey. After a short hiatus, Fernando started training under Crosley Gracie in Brentwood in 2007, where he found his home.
Fernando earned the rank of Blue Belt after two years of training and his Purple Belt two years later. A few years later, still as a Purple Belt, Fernando started volunteering as an Assistant Instructor in the Adult Co-ed Beginners Program, starting his exposure to a new perspective of the art. Fernando was promoted the rank of Brown Belt in December of 2012 and got hired as a staff member of Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as an Assistant instructor. During this time, Fernando continued gaining experience and furthering his teaching skills, along with working towards his personal goal of achieving his Black Belt.
In late 2016, Fernando was promoted to the rank of Black Belt after ten total years of dedicated training. During this entire time, Fernando has remained between the top 2 spots for highest attendance in the entire Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu student body, earning several awards. Fernando is a true, homegrown Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. Fernando is the 4th Black Belt to be promoted under Professor Crosley Gracie. He continues to act as an assistant instructor and runs his own classes.
Fernando believes in the life benefits Jiu-Jitsu offers and has a passion for sharing it with others. His love for sharing this martial art with others is evident in his dedication to the sport. Fernando’s passion for teaching has driven him to recently pursue his teaching degree and allowed him to become an elementary teacher in the Brentwood Unified School District in 2019!