There is no fee to apply for Gracie Garage status – it is 100% free. As long as you meet the minimum qualification requirements below, you can apply for Gracie Garage status at no charge.
- Dedicated Leader: You must be dedicated to mastering the art; however, we do not require you to have any experience in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu prior to opening a Gracie Garage.
- Instructional Source: You must have access to the official Gracie University curriculum through the Gracie University online curriculum or the Gracie Combatives Instructional DVDs.
- Training Area: Your facility must have at least 100 square feet of grappling mats. Training facilities and mat space must be disinfected after every use. (Click here to purchase Gracie Garage Grappling Mats)
- Free Training: You are not allowed to demand or accept any type of payment or donations from members, this includes donations for the operation of the Gracie Garage.
- No “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu” in the Name: You will have the chance to name your Gracie Garage anything you want (as long as it’s not inappropriate or vulgar). The only restriction is that you do have “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu” in the name, since that name is reserved for CTCs.
- CTC Distance: Your facility must be outside a fifteen-mile radius of any existing Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center (or operate with the written permission of the CTC owner). Click here to view the list of all Certified Training Centers.
- Grand Master Recognition: If it wasn't for Helio Gracie's lifelong dedication to the practice, perfection and perpetuation of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, none of this would be possible. In recognition of his life's work, all Gracie Garages must hang the original Grand Master Helio Gracie Poster in the training area.
The Virtual Tour
If qualified, we invite you to apply for Gracie Garage status. Included with your application, we require a five-minute “virtual tour” of your facility. This video recording is a critically important determinant of your eligibility. It must include the following:
- Welcome Message: Start with an on-camera welcome message discussing the following topics:
- Your Name
- Martial Arts Background
- Source of GJJ Instruction
- Training Objectives
- Ideal Training Partners
- Street View: Then, shoot a 360-degree view of the neighboring houses/buildings from the side walk directly in front of the establishment.
- Training Room View: Maintaining a single, continuous shot from the street view (i.e. no cut-aways, wipes, or other transitions), show the path from the side walk to the actual training room. Once inside, show a 360-degree view of the training room and then show a close-up view of the Grand Master Helio Gracie poster. Also, if the Gracie Combatives DVDs are your source of instruction, please be sure to show DVD collection in your video as well.
Military/Law Enforcement Virtual Tour Exemption
If you are of active military or law enforcement status and are applying to open a Gracie Garage in a government training facility that does not allow video recording, you are still required to submit a video but it doesn't need to include the training facility. Simply shoot it at your house or any other place and focus entirely on the welcome message:
- Your Name
- Martial Arts Background
- Source of GJJ Instruction (be sure to show the DVDs if you have them)
- Training Objectives
- Ideal Training Partners
If you qualify as a Gracie Garage, we will add your location to our list of approved facilities under the name that you specified in your application (Note: your address, phone number, and email address will be protected from public view). A potential student searching for a Gracie Garage in your community will see your listing and view your virtual tour. If interested in training at your facility, the candidate will send you a message indicating their interest in your Gracie Garage and their training objectives (through the private GU messaging platform). You will have the option to reply to their inquiry and set up a phone or in-person interview to determine if they are a good fit for your Gracie Garage. If you choose to accept the candidate, then you can invite them to a training session to observe his/her interaction with existing participants. If they share the cooperative spirit and safety consciousness of the group, you can make them part of your team, and if not, you have the right to deny their participation.
Gracie Garage Benefits
As the leader of a Gracie Garage, you are helping the Gracies share Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with the world, and that makes you an extended part of the family. In appreciation of your dedication, we will reward you with:
- Free Training at the Gracie University HQ: Gracie Garage leaders are family, and family trains for free at Gracie University HQ. Each year, you may train up to ten classes at Gracie University Headquarters (Torrance, CA) at no charge. You can redeem your free training all in one trip or divide it among several shorter trips. Just show up with your gi, and we’ll take care of the rest.
- Early Master Cycle Access: Each time a Master Cycle course is produced for Gracie University, we will first grant access to our Certified Instructors. Then, we will make it available to Gracie Garage leaders. Only after we have received feedback from certified instructors and garage leaders will we release the Master Cycle lessons to the general public.
- 10% Discount on all Gracie Merchandise: Most people wear Gracie Gear to look good; family members wear it to spread the word. As a result, we give all Gracie Garage leaders a 10% discount on all Gracie merchandise - at all times. This includes everything in the Gracie Store, from t-shirts and training equipment to duffel bags.
- Surprise Visit by the Gracie Brothers: Ryron and Rener have been known to randomly show up at Gracie Garages without warning or notice! As an active Gracie Garage, we automatically enter for this chance of a lifetime! The only requirement: when you hear a Gracie knocking on your door, let them in! Don't believe us, watch this or this!
But some of the most important benefits of operating a Gracie Garage are non-material. They include:
- Teaching Practice: As your skill level increases, you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge with less skilled training partners. By helping them, you will deepen your technical understanding as you solve problems and address questions presented by students with different body types and physical capabilities. Teaching will not only improve your instructional ability, but will also improve your jiu-jitsu skills.
- Linear Learning: For decades, everyone (including us) taught jiu-jitsu by following a loosely organized curriculum based on the needs of the group. For new students in particular, this approach was very frustrating, as there appeared to be no logical progression. We applied our many years of teaching experience toward developing a sequential program that minimizes the time required to master the art. Previously, we only taught this system in private classes. Today, we use this linear learning method for all instruction and it’s available to you exclusively through Gracie University, Gracie Instructional DVDs, and Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Centers.
- Ego-less Training: Training injuries usually occur when practitioners are more concerned with victory than with safety. If you follow our curriculum and train with trusted friends, then you can avoid the potentially injurious, “tough-guy” egocentric environment you find at most mixed martial arts schools.
- From Gracie Garage to Certified Training Center: The original Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy succeeded because it started with the large existing student base that transferred from Rorion’s garage. Likewise, your Gracie Garage could be a great source of prospective students if you decide to take the next step and become a Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center. Once you hone your teaching skills, build a team of dedicated training partners, and if you are interested in starting a commercial martial arts school, you may qualify to partake in the Gracie University Instructor Certification Program and transition from a Gracie Garage to a Gracie Certified Training Center, just like Scott!
Gracie Garages are NOT Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Centers. We do not warrant that any garage leaders are qualified to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. We neither screen nor check the backgrounds of any garage leaders, and any individual who chooses to train at a Gracie Garage does so at their own risk. Gracie University and/or any related company or persons, are not responsible for any losses or damages that result from training at a Gracie Garage.
Gracie Garage Malpractice
Although Gracie Garages are neither Certified Training Centers nor operated by certified teachers, we still expect the instruction and training conducted at these facilities to follow the curriculum and safety practices established by the Gracie University. We will promptly investigate any malpractice report and initiate corrective actions to include, if necessary, revoking the Gracie Garage status.
Restricted Use of Logos, Trademarks, and Proprietary Programs
In order to avoid confusion in the marketplace, Gracie Garages aren’t allowed to use the proprietary Gracie trademarks, logos, or training programs in any advertising or marketing efforts including, but not limited to, internet, print, television, and radio. In addition, there can be no use of the Gracie trademarks/logos on the store/garage front, since this may cause a prospective student to think that the unofficial GJJ training center is certified when it is not. The promotion of any Gracie Garage and the acquisition of new training partners should be done exclusively through Gracie University and/or through word of mouth, and in no case shall any Gracie Garage Leader insinuate to others that he/she is authorized to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Establishing a Gracie Garage in a Martial Arts School
You are allowed to establish a Gracie Garage in a Martial Arts School (Traditional or BJJ or MMA) under the condition that your eventual goal is to become a Certified Training Center. Whether you own the school or not, the primary benefits of establishing a Gracie Garage in a school are:
- You can gauge the interest of your students and other members of your community in the Gracie University programs (Gracie Combatives®, Gracie Bullyproof®, and The Master Cycle®)
- You will more easily find training partners to help you climb through the curriculum. Upon establishing the Gracie Garage in a school, you will have 12 months to complete the Gracie Combatives program and qualify for the Gracie University Instructor Certification Program (ICP). If you do not score a 95+ on your Gracie Combatives belt test and qualify for the ICP within 12 months, your Gracie Garage status will be revoked.
Gracie Garage Members
As we do with our own students, we encourage Gracie Garage members to provide us with feedback. Garage Members are the Gracie University's ears and eyes. We appreciate and welcome all comments and can assure you that your feedback will remain anonymous. Please report facilities that are:
- Promoting unsafe training methods
- Failing to adhere to the Gracie University curriculum
- Requesting mandatory payments from participants, accepting any kind of "donations", denying access for lack of contribution, and/or restricting access only to students that join and pay for other programs
- Using the proprietary Gracie trademarks, logos, or training programs in any marketing, advertising or promotional efforts
- Violating any other Gracie Garage guidelines
Top Three Gracie Garage Questions
- Do I need to be a Gracie Combatives belt to open a Gracie Garage?
No, there is no rank requirement or minimum experience level for you to open a Gracie Garage. All we ask is for you to commit to regular practice of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
- Can I open a Gracie Garage in my martial arts school?
Yes, you may operate a Gracie Garage from a martial arts school. In fact, we recommend that any martial arts instructor who is interested in becoming a Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor first establish a Gracie Garage in their school to gauge interest in the program. Remember that a Gracie Garage operating in a commercial martial arts school may not advertise as a certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training program, and the leader may not charge for the instruction until the facility becomes a Certified Training Center. Furthermore, if the Gracie Garage Leader does not pass the Gracie Combatives belt test, with a score of 95 or better, and qualify for the Gracie University Instructor Certification Program within 12 months, their Gracie Garage status will be revoked. For more information on the Instructor Certification Program, click here.
- If someone isn’t training with the cooperative spirit, can I kick them out?
Yes. The Garage Leader decides who trains with the group. Without a certified instructor to supervise your training, partner feedback is a major determinant of individual progress and satisfaction with your program. Therefore, one of the Garage Leader’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that all members train together as partners who are united in pursuit of jiu-jitsu mastery.
If you’re thinking about opening a Gracie Garage, follow these steps:
- If you haven’t already, get enough grappling mats to meet the minimum Gracie Garage matted area requirement (100 sq. feet), and purchase the required Grand Master Helio Gracie poster for display in your Gracie Garage.
- Digitally record your virtual tour. Don’t stress over this too much. If you’re camera shy, pretend like you’re talking to one person who is considering learning Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Keep it simple and keep it real. To maximize your chances of acceptance, be sure to cover all the required talking points in very beginning of your video: your name, martial arts background, source of GJJ instruction, your training objectives and your ideal training partners.
- Think of a cool name for your Gracie Garage, submit the application, and wait for our response. It’s that simple!