About Testing

  • Overview
  • The Three Questions

Welcome to the Gracie University online Testing Center. For the first time ever, you can learn Gracie Jiu-Jitsu from anywhere in the world and get specific feedback on your progress via our revolutionary Video Evaluation Process!

Once you have mastered all the techniques in a learning module, you will have the opportunity to digitally record yourself performing specific techniques and drills with your training partner. These videos will be uploaded in the Testing Center for evaluation by Gracie University senior instructors. Multiple instructors will provide detailed, time-coded feedback on your performance, so you know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you can adjust your training habits accordingly. If, upon completing the Gracie Combatives beginner program, your techniques and reflexes meet Gracie University standards, you will have the opportunity to earn a Gracie Combatives belt through the Video Evaluation Process or via live testing at a Certified Training Center. To watch an important video featuring Rickson Gracie and Pedro Sauer along with Ryron and Rener, in which they discuss the future of jiu-jitsu and the importance of the Gracie Combatives program, click on the video below.

It should be noted that even though Gracie University will provide a complete training path for dedicated at-home students, from white to black belt, in order to maintain the integrity of the Gracie University belt system, all official belt promotions, from blue to black, can only be earned via live testing at a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Centers. To learn more about the Gracie University belt system and the testing processes, explore the various tabs in the Testing Center. If you're one of those people who don't believe that at-home learning is possible, click on the video below and watch what happened when a full-time Gracie University student, Scott Butler, traveled thousands of miles to test himself in live sparring with regular students at the Gracie University Headquarters!

The Gracie University Belt System
In the beginning, there were no tournaments associated with the practice of Gracie (Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu. The dangerous and unforgiving “street” fight was the only testing ground. In 1967, the first Federation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was established in order to give practitioners the opportunity to test their skills in a safe setting. The fun and excitement of competition, coupled with the prestige that accompanied tournament victories, drove the vast majority of instructors to focus entirely on preparing their students for the jiu-jitsu game. This shift away from jiu-jitsu for self-defense had a profound impact on the practice of the martial art.

The Philosophical Difference
While nearly all Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools have succumbed to the lure of tournament glory, Gracie University remained true to the practice of techniques that would work in a real fight. The Gracie University training objective was, and remains to this day, to enable practitioners to defeat an all-out attack from a larger and more athletic opponent. In comparison, the sport jiu-jitsu objective is to win against an opponent of similar size in a closely-monitored and controlled match. The fundamental philosophical difference between street self-defense and tournament competition affects all aspects of jiu-jitsu training and mindset.

To watch Ryron and Rener demonstrate the primary differences between “Street” and “Sport” jiu-jitsu, click on the video link below.

The Technical Difference
Several hundred techniques will work both in a tournament match or a street fight. But, the complete Gracie Jiu-Jitsu curriculum also contains many techniques that were developed exclusively for street fight scenarios with no applicability in competition. The problem is that most Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools have totally eliminated the “street only” techniques from their programs in order to allow more training time for techniques that will lead to victory under the point-based system, rules, and weight classes of sport jiu-jitsu tournaments. This technical difference between the Gracie University curriculum and other Brazilian jiu-jitsu programs reflects the philosophical difference between street self-defense and sport competition and carries over to the award of belts as measures of proficiency in the system.

The Belt Difference
The Gracie University belt system is distinct from that of sport-oriented schools. Sport-oriented schools promote students based exclusively on their mastery of techniques that will lead to victory in a tournament setting. In most cases, sport belt holders are very comfortable in sport jiu-jitsu matches and controlled sparring sessions. However, when confronted by a larger and more athletic opponent who doesn’t play by the rules, they are often shaken by the unpredictable, violent attack and find themselves unable to respond.

At Gracie University, belt promotions are based, first and foremost, on the student's mastery of the techniques that will ensure victory in a street fight. The beginner curriculum, Gracie Combatives, is entirely dedicated to instilling each student with an essential “street fight filter” comprised of distance management, energy efficiency, and natural body movements. Once a student learns the fundamental techniques and truly owns these core principles, they are awarded a Gracie Combatives belt. As a student advances through the rest of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu curriculum, their “street fight filter” is continuously tested at increasing levels of intensity all the way to black belt.

In order to access the Testing Center, view the detailed belt qualification requirements, and use the Video Evaluation Process, you will need to log in to your GU student profile. If you are a not a GU student, please click here to sign up for free.

1. What if I already train at a sport BJJ school?
If there is not a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center in your community and you currently train at a sport oriented BJJ school, don’t stop. There is much to gain from training in sport jiu-jitsu, such as exercise, coordination, fun, and camaraderie, not to mention the fact that some of what you learn may be applicable in a real fight. You must, however, be cognizant of the fact that you are almost certainly developing reflexes that will be disastrously counterproductive in a real fight. Once you are aware of this, we recommend that you use your access to the Gracie University curriculum to learn the techniques in their purest form, consciously undo any bad habits you have developed, and begin building the reflexes that you will sharpen your “street fight filter” to ensure victory in a real fight.

2. If I am a sport BJJ belt holder, will Gracie University recognize my rank?
If you have achieved rank in Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from any school that is not accredited by Gracie University, your belt color will be recognized in the Gracie University student database, but it will be tagged as “unverified." In order to officially recognize your rank, we must verify your knowledge of the street applicable techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and the only way to do this is for you to demonstrate proficiency in the Gracie Combatives techniques by passing the Gracie Combatives belt test. In other words, if you were awarded a purple belt by a BJJ instructor, and you pass the official Gracie Combatives test, then Ryron and Rener would consider assessing your skills to see if your purple belt can be formally recognized by Gracie University. Bottom line: without the street readiness, nothing matters.

3. Can I jump straight to the tests if I know the techniques?
Absolutely. If you were promoted by a legitimate source and are confident in the street applicability of your techniques, you are invited to jump straight to the tests without completing the lessons. But, if upon viewing the belt testing requirements/demonstration videos, you are not 100% confident in your ability to execute all the required techniques and drills instinctively, we recommend you dedicate yourself to completing the entire curriculum in the prescribed sequence before taking the test. Remember, the belt should be a result of your training, not the reason for it.