University Information

  • About the Gracies
  • About the University
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  • Testimonials
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  • Gracie Timeline
  • Founding Principles


I just checked out the new Gracie University Mobile Functionality on my smartphone. It is awesome! This will make it so much easier for me to watch the videos at my Gracie Garage, there is no wifi but the 3G connection works perfectly! The way set up the lessons and the multiple buffer options for slow or fast connections is great, since it allows us to load the lessons while we practice so that we are never waiting for the data! Another huge step forward for Gracie University and Distance Education as a whole!
Kevin Murray
Pemberton, BC, Canada
I love the Gracie Bullyproof program! I went over the Crazy Horse lessons with my daughter once, and since then she asks me every night to do Crazy Horse. It actually works! I look forward to going over this with her for years to come and then years from now my grandkids. Thanks guys for putting together a top notch system.
Kevin Sims
“Hi guys! Congrats on such a well developed site! I and a friend have recently purchased the Gracie Combatives and are on our way to learn the principles of GJJ. I am director of a school for children with special needs, throughout my career modifying curriculum and devising programs for kids has been my number one goal. I am dazzled by the way Ryron and Rener have managed to make such instructional lessons with high pedagogical standards. You may find it interesting to know that I often use Combatives video clips to demonstrate to my teaching staff how a good task analysis of a complex skill should look like. Well done guys!”
Ali Khakpoor
Bangkok, Thailand
“The Gracie University and the Gracie Combatives Course is first class with absolutely incredible material! I am 48 and currently taking your course with my two sons, ages 13 and 19, and we are not only having a blast, but we are learning vital fighting skills that could save our lives if we ever had to use them in a real fight! Let me say this… If there are any skeptics in the crowd, they will only need to go through about 4 or 5 lessons to be completely convinced that the Gracie Combatives Course is exciting, thorough, explosive, effective, balanced and well-thought-out! This course in anything but easy -- on the contrary, it’s appropriately challenging. Yet, you present the information in a way so that even those of us who have no prior martial arts training can easily understand it and execute the moves with pure confidence. The things I’ve learned in The Gracie Combatives Course has changed the way I would defend myself and my family forever. Thank you for creating and protecting the Gracie Jiu Jitsu legend and methods. You are helping many of us become equipped to effectively protect our families for the first time in our lives! much is that worth?”
K. Bates
Tennessee, U.S.
Received the Gracie BullyProof DVDs yesterday evening and I spent four hours stright watching them. I was so amazed at how much fun the kids were having. Thank you for putting together a very important training tool for our youngsters. You can see that they are excited, eager to learn and they are soaking in the info like a sponge. This will help me to make an even better bond with my Grandbabies.
Steven Hartwright
I just wanted to say Gracie Bullyproof is incredible! My 7-year-old has learned two of the games and we spent hours playing them the other day. Ryron, Rener and the Gracie family have given me and my son such a gift, thank you so much!
Ashley Cravens
“My friend and I started the lessons a couple of weeks ago and nedless to say we're hooked. We have some BJJ experince but never had the chance to experience such detailed instruction from anyone, it's like taking a private class indeed. Unfortunately there's nothing close to GJJ here in Puerto Rico, the schools are mostly sports or tournament oriented, I hope we can count with a Gracie Academy down here in the future. Today my 4 year old daughter and us "played" Jiu Jitsu for a bit and before putting her to sleep, out of the blue, she told me how much she enjoyed it. That really made my day. So "Thank You" for sharing your art, your passion and your lifestyle with the rest of us, it's really having a possitive impact in my life and familly. Hope to see you and train with you guys in the near future.”
Jose Gutierrez
Puerto Rico
“I recently started the blue belt qualification program with a friend from my local BJJ school and have to say the level of instruction and detail are amazing. It’s even better than actual live class, I find myself understanding and perfecting techniques I had already learned like the Americana armlock. My level of retention for every move is now 100%. The way Rener and Ryron go into the detail of every technique is just an amazing learning experience. I’m actually combining my training at my local BJJ school with the combatives curriculum and loving it. Heck!! I’m seriously considering taking some time off my BJJ school to dedicate fulltime to my Gracie blue belt certification.”
Alfonso J. Vázquez
Puerto Rico
I'm a public school teacher of 30+ years, and have also been teaching a children's safety program for several years. When your Bullyproof program was released, it looked great, and I bought it. I must say it has exceeded my expectations, and I began to incorporate it into my last class. The Mother of a 3rd grade girl told me how her daughter was being bullied, and had been beaten up by a boy in her class. She went on to explain how her daughter came home one day very excited, saying "Mom, I did it... I did it!". "You did what?", Mom asked. "I told him 'Are you challenging me to a fight? Because if you are I'm not afraid of you!'" The boy responded no , he wasn't.... and he backed away. And it get's better.... the next day, he came up and APOLOGIZED TO HER. 3rd grade! Now this was after learning only about 5 Gracie Games. What struck me was how she retained and repeated the 'verbal tackle' almost verbatim, after hearing it only a few times! The Mom said her confidence level has changed so much. (The 1st night she didn't even participate in Shark Bite.) Now she's an eager learner. Also, the reaction of the bully was just as you describe in the course. Thanks guys.....your program is..... purrr-fect :^)
Don Witt
Connellsville PA
Just got the Gracie Bullyproof program yesterday and as soon as I come home from work my 5 year old has his Gi on waiting at the door for me ready to do Lesson 1: Spider Kid. My daughter was at a dance class at the time and was so upset that she missed it that I had to do the lesson with her at 9:30 p.m. My wife says they are obsessed! I say it is better than having them obsessed with T.V. or video games. They love it, Ryron and Rener you have yourself a family hooked on GJJ! I have a Blue Belt in BJJ(sport) and I am going to purchase the Gracie Combatives DVD set soon. I am ready to get my Blue Belt in GJJ and my dream is to become the first CTC in North Carolina. I don't currently have a school, but my goal is to open a CTC in the future. Thanks for having two awesome programs for me and my family to share!
Scotty Dennis
“Just wanted to share something with you. I work for XXXXX, and when I got back to the office at the end of the day, a fellow co-worker, who also sits at the desk and waits for everybody to come in at the end of the day, totally went off on me for no apparent reason, he was yelling really loud, telling me to "F*** Off" Called me a "Piece of Sh**" and a "Piece of Garbage" along with several other vulgarites and still raising his voice, I told him several times to "calm down" "relax" but he just went on and on and got really close to me, and was throwing his hands around in the air. At one point his face got all red and he was pumping himself up like Hulk Hogan and yelling "I am soooooooo mad" at that point I turned away from him, and walked away from the situation. And the entire time I was thinking, He hasn't touched/shoved/punched etc... me in any way, and doesn't look like he wants to get physical, so I thought, this guy can ramble on with all the names in the book, that's cool. And I also knew that I could take this guy no problem, and in doing so I would be proving nothing, so once I knew that I could walk away cleanly and safely I did. Of course he came rambling out behind me to the parking lot, and I said nothing to him, but I did have an eye on him, in case he did decide to do something. I just want to say thank you to you guys for instilling that way of thinking in me, I have also learned this mind set from training with Jim Hughes & Royce Gracie, but I was just watching one of the lessons the other day, where you guys talked about this very type of situation, so thank you.”
James P. Donahue
Massachusetts, U.S.
“I've recently purchased and have been working through the Gracie Combatives. Incredible content. I've been to other BJJ schools and have also done MA for 15 years. These are the best instruction I've ever rec'd. period. Even in person instruction at other schools don't compare. And once you get the techniques down, they are so easy to do. I'm impressed at not only the quality of instruction, but that the techniques take very minimal effort to perform. For someone like myself who has a tremendous amt of arthritis at such a young age, 38, these lessons and techniques seem like a Godsend. It seems that every minute or so of watching and practicing I'm saying out loud "this stuff is genius!!" Thank you and your grandfather.”
Rick Lehman
Iowa, U.S.
I am working the crazy horse with my son. He loves it, my ears hurt (literally) of hearing his happiness and screaming when "practicing". Thanks!
Marco M.
“Hi, I can't tell how much I appreaciate you taking the time to make Gracie jiu-Jitsu available to people like me who have no local school to attend. Last year I had the pleasure of attending a seminar in N. Ireland with the legandary Royce Gracie. Half way during the seminar I thought this is the type of Jiu-Jitsu that I want to learn. So I can't tell you how delighted I am that I now can thanks to you! As for the Gracie University. Well words can't express the quality of the teaching and methodology of the programe. It is first class all the way and I am watching my partner make tremendous progress thanks to Gracie combativies. So once again thanks so much for making this fantastic course available to the world, regardless where one lives.”
Keith Foster
United Kingdom
“Hi guys, Your instruction and website are excellent. This is the best instruction I have ever seen. I have been doing jiu jitsu for a long time, and I have picked up a lot of details after only three lessons. I have been inactive for awhile, and you have inspired me to start up again back at the roots as to why I started in the first place. Wanting to defend myself. Thanks and keep up the good work.”
Darren Kuhling
You guys are amazing. Not only are my son and I learning jiu-jitsu but you guys are helping me be a better parent too. Your teaching methods and abilities are incredible. Thank you.
Sparky Watson
Rener, I just got the Gracie Combatives collection for myself and went to a Gracie Garage(Michael Forrest) for the first time. He is a great guy and represents the Gracie Family well.The reason I am sending this message is to tell you I took my son Levi with me to the GG training session. He is 5 and had just finished his 10th lesson in Gracie Games. After the class was over I asked him if he wanted to show the guys what he had learned in the Gracie Bullyproof program. Levi is usually shy in front of people he doesn't know. He said yes and showed them CRAZY HORSE,CRAZY LEGS,SPIDER KIDS,CROCODILE CONTROL and a few others. Most of the guys had never heard of the Bullyproof program and they were blown away how much he knew and how good he did for only having had 10 lessons. You guys do a great job Thanks!
Scotty Dennis
“You have done a great job. It is just perfect. Especially for us who are not living in the big cities and close to Gracie schools or other bjj gyms, but love to stay as close as possible to the art of gjj. Loved it since the first seminar that i attended back in '95 at toronto (i was living there) with your father and Royce.”
Nick Liriotakis
“I’ve been in martial arts for 25 years. It has been nearly impossible to train in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu due to my location. This program is genius and groundbreaking. Grand Master Helio Gracie would be proud!”
Lukas Kastner
Dear Ryron and Rener, Firstly I'd like to just say WOW!...I am so inspired by your creativity and teaching genius. I've now had the Gracie Bullyproof program for about 2 months. One of my student’s fathers came into the academy and said "Jason you should check out the Gracie brothers "BULLYPROOF" program on YouTube.' So I said "Yeah ok I will." So a couple of days went by and then I remembered. I sat down and watched the video of you both talking about "The Most Common Teaching Mistake" I was captivated by that and thought wow! There is something about these guys and I should probably get this and see what it's all about. So, after sitting down on and off and watching every DVD when time allowed I now sit back in my office chair and wonder in awe of the greatness of this program. I have a kids program at my academy and it is going well, but this just takes the cake and I now feel like giving up...haha. At our academy we do a lot of non-profit teaching and I have been sent a lot of disenfranchised kids by parents and professionals alike and I know that they would get great benefit from "BULLYPROOF" I've told everyone about it and the parents are really excited by it. I have read on your forum that some teachers are teaching the program in their schools and primary schools. I'd love to do the same if that is ok? So I guess my question to you both is can I too, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees with your blessing introduce the games and techniques into my kids classes. My kindest regards,
Jason Fox
“This is fantastic! I’m learning the techniques, asking questions, and testing for belt promotions from over a thousand miles away. I feel like I’m actually training at the Gracie Academy! In fact, the system is so good that I’ve been able to share the experience with my wife and two sons.”
Jason Anderson
“I’ve done over two dozen seminars with some of the most accomplished martial artists in the world. The attention to detail and the passion for teaching are what make Ryron and Rener the best instructors I’ve ever come across.”
Isaac Harris
“As a traditional martial artist, I was a firm believer that martial arts could never be learned through the Internet. Gracie University changed my mind.”
Caesar Langley
Kansas, U.S.
“The Gracie Combatives course by Ryron and Rener is by far the best instructional video series I have ever seen. The smoothness of the instruction, and the fact that these techniques definitely work in real fights proves once and for all that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is the best! Your Grandfather would be proud!!!”
Pat Hardy
Texas, U.S.
“This is amazing. You guys have started a whole new revolution.”
Hank Lin
New York, U.S.
“Just wanted to say great job on this site! I have been training in MA for many years and BJJ for over 8 years and I must say that the level of detail in your lessons here is unbelievable. I also just reviewed your sample Blue Belt test videos and was very impressed with the sharpness, accuracy, and pace of the techniques that John Nguyen executed. If that is an indicator of what can be learned here, then I am sold! Keep up the good work!”
Jonathon Longwood
New York, U.S.
“Really great website! It’s just what the world needed: a great way to get learning GJJ for self-defense in your own home! Brilliant! I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Clint McCourt
“First let me say that this was a great idea! For years, I have admired the great work of your family in the martial arts and with the proliferation of Gracie Jujitsu, within the UFC and without. This is great!!!”
Don Lirette
Louisiana, U.S.
“I just wanted to comment on how efficient and effective this program is. I viewed the Trap and Roll Escape a few hours before going to my gym to roll, and I easily used this move against experienced opponents, even when they thought they were safe by putting the back leg-hook in. Thank you for making these sessions and moves easy to access and utilize.”
Kevin Blackburn
Minnesota, U.S.
“Let me start by saying that I have received my DVD's and I love them. Some of the things that I like the most about your program are the Reflex Development Drills and Fight Simulation Drills, the details to all of your techniques, the indicators, and the outline that comes in the booklet. And the poster I got, which provides me with a visual image of the way all the techniques fit together, is very helpful! Great job guys! I look forward to learning your complete system.”
Chris Gammel
Oklahoma, U.S.
“Thanks to both of you. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has changed my life forever.”
Jeremy Freitas
Pennsylvania, U.S.
“First I have to say the site looks amazing! I have been dreaming of this kind of opportunity for quite a while. I am planning on purchasing the $196 DVD set, featuring Rorion and Royce, in addition to the online blue belt curriculum. Thank you for your time and for this phenomenal opportunity.”
Thomas Hungerford
Texas, U.S.
“I just want to say that I think what you guys are doing is great. It really gives people an opportunity to learn Gracie Jiu Jitsu who otherwise wouldn't have the means. I know where I live, it would be impossible to train without driving 3 or 4 hours. I have been involved in the martial arts for 17 years, but I must say I am highly impressed with your system. I just purchased the Gracie Combatives DVD set and recruited a training partner. I look forward to the long, but rewarding journey. Thanks!”
Joe Collett
Kansas, U.S.
“New to Gracie University! Just wanted to say that this ROCKS! I can't wait to starting training. Thanks!”
Ronsoie Xiong
Minnesota, U.S.
“I just signed up, and the first thing I did was download the Blue Belt Qualification Handbook. All the content is great, but my favorite part was the recommended training schedule. You guys thought of everything!”
Philip Delos Santos
“I'm very thankful you guys have put this online. I'm from Medicine Hat, Alberta, and I was planning and budgeting my vacation time to go down to Torrance. Now, thanks to this program, I won't have to! Thanks so much for doing this guys, I can't wait to start training.”
Cody Girling
“I ordered all the Gracie Combatives lessons online. It is truly amazing stuff! I expected short 5-10 minute lessons, but was shocked when I realized they were more like 30 minutes each! The detailed explanation of techniques is just awesome!”
Adrian D’Souza
“I just wanted to thank you guys for all the valuable information. It's a dream come true to become an extended member of the Gracie family—a real pleasure.”
Shannon Durbin
California, U.S.
“I just wanted to say “thank you” for answering questions so quickly. This is by far the most organized martial arts web experience I have ever seen. I have been around martial arts for a while and this program is done in a very professional manner! Congrats on being innovators once again!”
Daniel Regan
California, U.S.
“Thanks for everything, specifically for maintaining Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as a self-defense system and not a sport. After practicing for five years, I have now begun to realize there are a lot of bad habits developed by sport practitioners as far as street defense is concerned—myself included. Thanks again for keeping it real.”
Steven Graves
Wisconson, CA
“Hey Rener! The new university web site is very cool. I'm just getting started in learning how the site works, but it looks like an awesome learning tool. The way you guys present the information is almost as good as being there in person. I have set it up to train with my 17 year-old son and my 9 year-old daughter. Both have studied Tae Kwon Do and showed a great desire to learn the techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I apologize for not being able to come down for the Law Enforcement recertification course, our company is going though a re-bid process and we couldn't swing it though our finance department. Next year I am going to bug them to death so I can return to Torrance and continue my training with you guys. In the meantime, we will be learning the techniques at home working hard towards earning our blue belts.”
Cory L. Rivero
Nevada, U.S.
“Ryron/Rener: I got the DVDs and I am impressed by their quality. I like the fact that you do not beat the techniques to death—allowing the viewer to go back to them on their own, if necessary—and that you show them from several different angles. These are up there with some of the best instructional videos I have ever seen, and it is nice to see something structured so that those of us who have been training for a while can go back and pick up the basics. Hoping to test in 6-8 months.”
Aaron Sweeney
Alaska, U.S.
“Great online academy! I'm a certified personal trainer, a boxing fitness instructor, and a sworn police officer in our nation’s capitol. I've grown to love the art of jiu-jitsu. After research, it is very clear that the Gracie's are the best!”
Neftalia Boone
Maryland, U.S.
“This is not a question but a statement of FACT! I have been watching the Gracie Combatives DVDs, and practicing along, and I’m telling anyone who wants to learn how to fight; get these DVDs. They explain things so well and are consistent throughout all the lessons. You will even start talking like them! Seriously take the time and invest in this program—you won't regret it.”
Paul Evans
Utah, U.S.

Can't make it to any of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu live seminars? Start your 5-day Free Trial right now, and get unlimited access to the entire Gracie University curriculum for 5 full days without paying a penny! Don't think it's possible to learn from home? Watch this and see what Scott has to say!

 Gracie Combatives Seminars
 Women Empowered Seminars
 Gracie Bullyproof Seminars
 Bullyproof Summer Camp
 Gracie Survival Tactics Seminars
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Free Gracie Jiu-Jitsu 101 Seminar

Free Women Empowered Seminar

Free Gracie Bullyproof 101 Seminar
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Bullyproof Summer Camp

Gracie Survival Tactics Level 1

Gracie Survival Tactics Level 2

Gracie Survival Tactics Dual (L1 + L2)
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Custom Seminar

About the Gracies

History Overview

Although the complete Gracie Family history far exceeds what is included herein, the timeline below briefly describes 12 of the most significant occurrences that took place over the three generations the Gracies have been teaching jiu-jitsu. If you have any questions regarding Gracie Family history, beyond what is covered in the content below, please submit your question to the Forum section so we can help you find the answer.

1925- The Gracie Academy is Born
Carlos Gracie establishes the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Carlos and his brothers taught Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques that Carlos learned from Esai Maeda, a Japanese immigrant.  Helio Gracie, the youngest of Carlos’ brothers, was restricted from practicing due to his small size and weak body.  As a result, Helio spent most of his time observing the lessons taught by his older brothers. 

1928- The Transformation Begins
Carlos Gracie is late for a private lesson, so Helio offers to teach the class in his brother’s absence.  Although he had never practiced the techniques, he had memorized them after years of patient observation.  Helio quickly realized that he was not strong enough to successfully apply the Japanese techniques against a larger opponent.  Never one to quit, Helio sought ways to make the techniques work using leverage, timing, and natural body movements instead of strength, speed, and coordination.

1931- The First Test
Helio defeats Antonio Portugal, a much heavier boxer.  Helio submits the boxer in minutes, proving that his improvements would enable a smaller person to defeat a larger, more athletic opponent.  His victory inspired him to continue modifying the Japanese techniques until he produced an art that would enable anyone, regardless of their physical attributes, to defend themselves against a larger assailant.

1947- Helio Gracie vs. Joe Louis
On June 6, Helio Gracie publicly challenges world heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis, to a no-holds-barred fight to refute an article published in Reader’s Digest arguing for the superiority of boxing over jiu-jitsu.  Joe Louis’ manager declines the invitation.  Even though the fight never took place, Helio’s challenge confirmed that he was willing to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, in order to prove his system’s effectiveness.

1951- The Ultimate Confirmation
On October 23, Helio Gracie fights Masahiko Kimura, the best Japanese Jiu-Jitsu fighter of his day.  After more than 20 years of modifying and adapting the techniques, Helio was very curious to see how his adaptations would fare against the world jiu-jitsu champion.  Kimura, who was eighty pounds heavier than Helio, was so confident of victory that he declared if Helio lasted more than three minutes he should be considered the winner.  Helio frustrated Kimura for thirteen minutes before Carlos ended the fight to protect his brother from serious injury due to the shoulder lock that today bears Kimura’s name.  Many consider this “defeat” to be one of Helio’s greatest accomplishments, as Kimura was so impressed with Helio’s technical skill that he invited him to share his improvements with his Japanese peers.

1955- The Longest Fight
On May 24, Helio Gracie, 41, fights Waldemar Santana in the longest uninterrupted no-holds-barred fight in history.  Even though retired from competition, Helio accepted Santana’s challenge, despite being 16 years older and almost 40 pounds lighter than the former Gracie Academy student.  After fighting nonstop for three hours and forty minutes, Helio became disoriented and Carlos again ended the match to protect him.  Although Santana was the victor, Helio’s ability to fend off the attack of a younger, stronger, more athletic, highly skilled grappler for nearly four hours earned him great respect and recognition.  In fact, this dramatic demonstration of his art’s effectiveness resulted in the greatest influx of students in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy’s history.

1978- The Garage Days
In the summer of 1978, Helio’s eldest son, Rorion, leaves Brazil for the United States determined to share his father’s revolutionary system of self-defense with the rest of the world.  Rorion knew that the popularization of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the United States would open the door to worldwide exposure.  He arrived in Southern California with nothing but his passion for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and his faith that he would succeed.  Short on money and turned away by every martial arts school, he resorted to teaching classes in his garage.  He offered a free lesson to every person he met and, within months, had a dedicated following. 

1980- The Gracie Challenge
Rorion invites anyone of any size or discipline to fight him to prove his superiority of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu over all other martial arts.  Rorion derived the Gracie Challenge from his frustration with America’s misplaced belief in the effectiveness of flashy martial arts that used high-flying kicks and brick breaking to prove their worth.  Following the first generation’s example, Rorion issued the Gracie Challenge as the supreme statement of his confidence in his family’s system of fighting.  Martial artists of all disciplines flocked to the challenge, and were shocked as the gentle, efficient techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu defeated all-comers.

1989- The Grand Opening
Rorion, with brothers Rickson, Royce, and Royler, opens the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California, to meet the overwhelming demand for instruction in this unique Brazilian self-defense system.  Local martial artists quickly grasped this significance of the stunning Gracie Jiu-Jitsu victories over heavy-hitting opponents.  With 130 students training in the garage, and 80 more on a waiting list, Rorion established what would eventually become the world headquarters for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

1993- The Global Awakening
On November 12, Rorion Gracie changes the martial arts world forever with the airing of the Ultimate Fighting Championship®.  In the 1970s and 80s, the popularity of Hollywood martial arts hatched hundreds of fighting styles, with each claiming to be superior to all others.  Rorion sought to end the debate over which art was superior once and for all by pitting masters against each other in a true no-holds-barred setting.  The results of Rorion’s eight-man, single elimination tournament shocked the world, as Royce Gracie-the smallest and most unassuming fighter in the competition-emerged victorious.  Royce’s victory, as had Helio’s victories before him, proved that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was not only the most reliable system of self-defense, but also the only system that gives the average person a realistic chance against a larger, more athletic opponent.

1994- The U.S. Army Goes Gracie
The U.S. Army, the world’s most powerful army, chooses Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as the basis for its military combatives program.  Members of U.S. Army Special Operations units charged with finding the most effective combatives systems selected Gracie Jiu-Jitsu based on its demonstrated effectiveness.  They asked Rorion to develop an intensive training course that would prepare soldiers for hand-to-hand combat in the least amount of time.  After thoroughly analyzing hundreds of fights, Rorion identified 36 techniques that were used more often and with more success than all others.  He crafted a short course based on these techniques, and presented it to the Army.  These techniques now serve as the foundation for the U.S. Army’s Modern Army Combatives Program, and have been adopted by hundreds of military and law enforcement organizations around the world.  Today, through the Gracie Combatives program, they are available to private citizens seeking maximum self-defense skills in the shortest amount of time.

2008- The Global Training Program
Rorion’s sons, Ryron and Rener, launch the Global Training Program to preserve the effectiveness of the art as a self-defense system.
  The demand for Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction continues to grow, mostly as a result of its popularity as a sport.  The unchecked growth and emphasis on competition, however, has resulted in the modification of many techniques without regard for the foundational principles of street applicability, energy efficiency, and natural body movements. Students are learning moves that rely more on sheer athleticism than on leverage and technique, and unknowingly develop reflexes that could lead to their demise in a real fight.  To counter this disturbing trend, the brothers developed the Global Training Program aimed at preserving and perpetuating the complete Gracie Jiu-Jitsu curriculum, in its purest form.

The Founding Principle of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Grand Master Helio Gracie was introduced to the Japanese art of jiu-jitsu by his brother, Carlos, at such a young age that, as time passed, he no longer remembered many of the techniques in their original form. However, he vividly recalls experiencing great difficulty when he attempted to use the techniques on a larger opponent and, as a result, had to modify nearly everything he had learned to accommodate his frail physique.  He points out that, despite the overall effectiveness and value of the Japanese techniques, nearly all of them had one or more limitations that prevented them from being fully useful to him.  In most cases, he attributed the limitations to: 1) inapplicability against a striking opponent in a real fight, 2) over-reliance on strength or speed, and/or 3) dependence on body movements that were awkward or uncomfortable for him.  Accordingly, he began modifying the art to ensure that every technique was fully street applicable, energy efficient, and based on natural body movements. Using these principles as a guide, he spent several years developing a complete system of self-defense consisting only of techniques that he could successfully apply against larger opponents.  Confident in his adaptations, he spent the next thirty years of his life proving his system’s effectiveness by using it to defeat numerous challengers, including several opponents who outweighed him by as much as 100 pounds.

The Gracie Guidelines
After nearly a century of testing in a wide variety of settings, Grand Master Helio Gracie’s system of self-defense remains fundamentally sound and intact.  To be sure, three generations of Gracie family members and other equally committed practitioners of the art have evolved the original techniques and added to the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu arsenal.  All of these changes, however, strictly adhere to the Grand Master’s requirements for street applicability, energy efficiency, and natural body movement.  Today, we call these requirements the “Gracie Guidelines.”
On your path towards Gracie Jiu-Jitsu mastery, your knowledge of the Gracie Guidelines will serve you in two important ways.  First, it will enable you to solve problems on your own by modifying techniques in accordance with the guidelines, and second, it will enable you to recognize the multitude of impure techniques that are being developed by instructors who do not know, or choose not to adhere to the founding principles of the art.

  • Gracie Guideline #1: Street Applicability
    Focus only on practicing techniques that are fully street applicable.  Practicing techniques that are not “punch proof” will cause you to develop a false sense of security.  By practicing techniques that keep you safe from strikes, you will develop the most important reflexes and avoid habits that could lead to injury in a real fight. If you modify a technique, you must verify that the new variation keeps you safe from all potentially dangerous strikes.
  • Gracie Guideline #2: Energy Efficiency
    Any technique that relies on speed and power rather than leverage and timing is not energy efficient.  In a real fight there is no time limit, so you must learn to save your energy.  The only reliable way for you to defeat a larger, more athletic opponent is to utilize techniques that cause your opponent to exhaust energy while simultaneously preserving your own.  Before adding any technique to your arsenal, you must verify that it is more reliant on leverage and proper timing than on your athletic capabilities.  Do not trust techniques based on strength or speed as they are unlikely to work against a larger, stronger attacker. 
  • Gracie Guideline #3: Natural Body Movements
    Any technique that requires you to move your body unnaturally is likely to fail in the heat of battle. Natural body movement is the best foundation on which to build the instinctive reflexes needed in a real fight. 

Violations of Guideline # 1
With the demand for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction at an all-time high, thousands of self-proclaimed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors have opened schools around the world and are creating or modifying techniques at an unprecedented rate.  The problem is that most of these techniques violate the first guideline of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu – they are not street applicable.  The main reason for the divergence from this foundational principle is that these instructors are creating techniques for sport competition rather than real street fights.  Any technique that is designed to work exclusively in a controlled competition with all of their associated rules, weight classes, time limits, safety considerations, and point systems, will give the practitioner a false sense of security since these circumstances are totally non-existent in a real fight.

About the University

Top 10 Benefits of Gracie University

  1. Complete Curriculum: Although there are many online learning sites for jiu-jitsu, Gracie University is the only one that presents the entire curriculum in linear fashion from white to black belt. As a result, you can begin with absolutely no experience and you’ll never feel overwhelmed or confused.
  2. Total Control: When you learn online at Gracie University, you can go through the curriculum at your own speed, and you have total control over your training schedule.
  3. Pure Techniques: The quality of instruction varies from one jiu-jitsu academy to the next. Through Gracie University you can be sure that you are receiving instruction with the highest regard for the founding principles of street applicability, energy efficiency, and natural body movements.
  4. Linear Learning: The order in which you learn the techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu greatly affects the time it takes for you to master the art. As a Gracie University student, you will learn every technique in the exact order that you would experience in live private lessons with Ryron or Rener Gracie.
  5. Ego-Less Training: Training injuries are most likely to occur when you are practicing with someone who is more concerned with victory than with safety. By learning online and training with a select group of trusted friends and family members, you avoid the tough-guy, egocentric environment that is so commonly associated with mixed martial arts.
  6. Dynamic Reflex Development: Gracie University is the only online training site that introduces each new technique through a series of simplified presentations known Technical Slices, and then joins these Slices in carefully designed Reflex Development Drills and Fight Simulation Drills so that you begin building reflexes in the execution of the techniques, individually in combination with other related techniques, right away! In other words, we don't just show you the techniques, we teach you how to build muscle memory and make them your own!
  7. Learn to Teach: Over the last 90 years, members of the Gracie Family have dedicated as much time to perfecting their teaching methodologies as they have to perfecting their chokes. If you are an instructor, or a student who aspires to teach one day, use these lessons to fine tune your teaching skills so that you can more effectively share your knowledge with others.
  8. Save Money: The price for the online courses has been set as low as possible, and with so many convenient subscription plans to choose from, anyone in the world can learn Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as long as they have the discipline and the dedication to put in the mat time.
  9. Optimal Hygiene: The big green mat is swept and sanitized twice a day at Gracie University for the protection of our students. Believe it or not, many jiu-jitsu schools spend several weeks without sanitizing their mats, and students contract a variety of skin infections as a result. When learning from home with a trusted group of friends, you can give proper hygiene the attention it deserves since you will have full control over the cleaning/sanitation of your training area.
  10. Official Belt Promotions: Through Gracie University's Video Evaluation Process, you can digitally record yourself performing the techniques at various points throughout the curriculum, and then upload the video in the Testing Center where it can be viewed and evaluated by a Gracie University instructor. The in-depth personalized feedback you receive from these evaluations will help you sharpen the sword as you prepare to test for official belt promotions at one of many Certified Training Centers around the world!

Certification Levels

There are four levels at which a Certified Training Center (CTC) can be recognized by Gracie University. Level 1 constitutes a school that is authorized to teach Gracie Combatives and Gracie Bullyproof while Levels 2-4 constitute schools that are authorized to teach the Master Cycle advanced program. Select schools at all levels also offer the Women Empowered program.

  • Level 1: A school where only Gracie Combatives is taught.
    A Level 1 Certified Training Center is a school where only the beginner programs, Gracie Combatives and Gracie Bullyproof. If you are new to jiu-jitsu, a Level 1 CTC would be an excellent place to learn the foundational techniques of the art.
  • Level 2: Blue Belt
    A Level 2 Certified Training Center is led by a Blue Belt head instructor who can instruct the Master Cycle techniques required for promotion to Blue Belt.
  • Level 3: Purple or Brown Belt
    A Level 3 Certified Training Center is led by either a Purple or Brown Belt head instructor who can instruct the Master Cycle techniques required for promotion to Purple or Brown Belt, respectively.
  • Level 4: Black Belt
    A Level 4 Certified Training Center is led by a Black Belt head instructor who can instruct the Master Cycle techniques required for promotion to Black Belt. The actual promotion to Black Belt is by invitation only and conducted at Gracie University Headquarters in Torrance, California.

"Elite" Certified Training Centers
Elite Certified Training Centers have gone above and beyond to create an exceptional student experience that mirrors what you would get at Gracie University Headquarters in Torrance, California. In addition to offering all of Gracie University's proprietary jiu-jitsu programs, Elite CTCs, and their instructors, have dedicated significant resources to elevating every aspect of their school, and are always capitalizing on ways to improve. From their black belt level customer service and pristine facilities, to their inspirational leaders and the overall culture of the school, Elite CTCs are special and they are recognized on our map with red pins.

"New" Certified Training Centers
Each time a new Certified Training Center is established under Gracie University, they undergo a review period to ensure curriculum adherence and quality of instruction. For this reason, all new CTCs are labeled as "New" and once all the initial requirements are met, this label is removed.

CTC "Coming Soon"
When a person or organization is interested in establishing a new CTC in a territory, they are given the opportunity to reserve the territory for up to 12 months while they go through the Instructor Certification Program. During this time, their location will appear on the map as a yellow pin.

Certified Jiu-Jitsu Agencies
Most law enforcement agencies offer 2 to 4 hours per year of hands on defensive tactics training to their officers, and it's disastrously insufficient. To solve this problem, Gracie University created a special defensive tactics curriculum called GST Hybrid. Once an agency is offering this program to its officers on a weekly basis, it is recognized on our map with a blue pin.

Quality Control
Our primary objective is to make Gracie Jiu-Jitsu available around the world in its purest form. All our instructors go through a rigorous certification process and are required to maintain their certifications through ongoing instructor education. All our instructors have been given the tools to run top-level programs and create a culture of positivity and growth.

We work hard to maintain the highest instructional and operational standards at our CTCs. To assist with this, we ask that all students share their feedback with us. Positive feedback, constructive criticism, and of course any concerns about anything within our CTCs should be reported.

All student feedback should be sent to [email protected]

The Gracie Triangle
As the demand for effective Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instruction increases, more and more schools are claiming to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu without certification or authorization. For this reason, we have permitted all official CTCs to utilize proprietary training programs as well as display the registered Gracie Triangle logo on their storefronts. Any school claiming to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that is not listed in the CTC database, is not endorsed by Gracie University. Any school that utilizes any proprietary Gracie programs or trademarks without authorization is infringing on Gracie University’s intellectual property rights and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

For information on the Gracie University Instructor Certification Program, click here.

The Five Questions

With more than ninety years of experience instructing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to a wide variety of students, the Gracie family has addressed nearly every question and situation that may arise in conjunction with the practice of this martial art, and what they have found is that five questions have been asked more than all the others.  Furthermore, they found that the five most common questions can usually be answered by applying a set of established problem-solving principles. 

If you have a question about a technique, first review the entire lesson to ensure you did not miss something as there are many details in each segment.  Next, determine if your problem falls under one of the five most frequently asked questions, and apply the problem-solving principles to find your answer.  If you’re still having trouble, submit your question to the Technique Forum so we can help you find the answer.

Question #1: Why isn’t this move working for me?

Problem Solving Principle: Apply the four reasons that account for most students’ inability to execute a technique.

Reason #1: Missing Details
The most common reason for difficulty with a technique is that you simply overlooked an essential detail.  Watch the lesson one or two more times to ensure that you have learned every detail.

Reason #2: Bad “Bad Guy” Behavior
We designed the Gracie Combatives techniques to neutralize or counter the most likely attacks that would occur in a real fight.  For this reason, it is very important that the “bad guy” realistically simulates the attacker behavior or else the technique may not work.  Review the “Bad Guy Reminders” that are discussed in the presentation.

Reason #3: Bad Timing
Timing is everything.  If you feel that you are performing all the steps correctly but the technique is still not working, there is a good chance that your timing is off. Review the lesson for hints on how you can use better timing to increase your effectiveness.

Reason #4: Physical Limitations
Although the techniques have been proven effective for people of all demographics, it is possible that an extreme physical limitation prevents you from successfully applying a technique.  However, it is very important that you verify that the problem is not due to reasons 1-3, before concluding that you cannot physically execute the technique. If a physical limitation is the problem, we recommend you use your understanding of the Gracie Guidelines (see ‘Founding Principles’) to modify the technique to accommodate your body or consider using another technique from the curriculum to solve the problem.  

Question #2: What if the bad guy does something different?

Problem Solving Principle: The objective of the Gracie Combatives course is to prepare you to defend against the most common attacks that a larger, unskilled opponent would use in a real fight.  If during the practice of a technique your partner varies the attack behavior from that covered in the instruction, then consider the following:

Consideration #1: Street Realness
Remember that the Gracie Combatives techniques address the most natural and, therefore, most common bad guy behaviors.  Your training partner’s role is to consistently simulate the most common behavior so that you can perfect the techniques as you are most likely to apply them in a street fight.  A poor training partner will constantly change behavior in order to defeat the techniques.  This will prevent you from learning the techniques properly and may even promote development of bad habits.  We will address all the “what if” scenarios later in your training, during the Master Cycle.

Consideration #2: Training Speed, Street Speed, and the Surprise Element
When practicing, always execute the techniques so slowly that it is impossible to make a mistake.  The slow pace and predictability of proper training will provide your partner with many opportunities to counter the technique. Again, your training partner’s role is to consistently simulate the most common behavior so that you can perfect the techniques – not to fight with you.  Eventually, your diligent and exacting practice will produce precise, efficient, and quick reflexes that will leave your attacker with no opportunity to counter your techniques. In a real fight, you will also have the advantage of surprise since your attacker will have no advanced knowledge of how you react to his actions.

Consideration #3: The Complete Curriculum Will Address Nearly Every Scenario
If the modified bad guy behavior is legitimate, you can either wait to learn the solution to the problem in a future lesson, or you can use the Gracie Guidelines to develop your own temporary solution.  Above all, remember that you must perfect the 36 Gracie Combatives techniques as we present them in the course.  Any time you spend on modifications based on less likely bad guy behaviors will slow your progress toward blue belt and delay your access to the remaining 600+ techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Question #3: Can’t the bad guy punch you from there?

Problem Solving Principle:  Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling art that puts you within very close range of your opponent.  As a result, you must be constantly aware of your opponent’s ability to punch you.  Here are some facts you must consider regarding punches:

Fact #1: You Will Get Punched
In a fight, the question is not whether you will get punched, but whether or not the punch will hurt you. We score a punch’s effectiveness from 1-10 on the hypothetical “Punch Power Scale” with “1” being a weak punch and “10” representing a potential knockout blow.   The objective of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu techniques is to completely avoid all punches that score 5 or above and minimize the rest. 

Fact #2: Distance is Everything
In order for a punch to land effectively, your opponent must establish the proper distance and angle.  Accordingly, your ability to neutralize punches is almost entirely based on how effectively you control the distance and angles between your face and your opponent’s fists.    Any time you are within two arms reach of your opponent, you are liable to get hit.  The key is to remain calm and understand that you can neutralize any punch by positioning yourself either inside or outside the optimal punching range.   When you are inside optimal punching range, your opponent will be able to touch your head but will not be able to hit hard enough to hurt you.

Fact #3: Punching is Exhausting
It takes a lot of energy to punch.  Whenever your opponent is throwing punches that score 4 or below, you may take solace in knowing that the punches are probably more exhausting to them than they are damaging to you and that you will soon have the opportunity to take advantage of your opponent’s weakened state.

Question #4: What if the bad guy attacks my eyes or my groin in this situation?

Problem Solving Principle: Although street fights have no rules, we have found that larger and stronger opponents prefer to punch the face rather than attack the eyes and/or groin. However, in order to defend against dirty fighting techniques you must adopt the following priorities:

Priority #1: Respect the Punch
Since punches are the most common form of attack and the most immediate threat at any given time, stopping them must be your first priority.  Shift your priority to defend against other types of attacks only if your opponent clearly resorts to a dirty fighting technique (eye gouge, groin shot, biting, etc.).  Even when defending against other attacks, never forget to block the punches. 

Priority #2: Master the Techniques
You will have truly mastered the techniques when you can apply them without conscious thought.  Once you reach this level you will remain calm and easily read your opponent’s behavior in the midst of a fight leading to quick neutralization of any type of attacks before they happen.  Your controlling techniques and calm mind are your most reliable defense mechanisms.

Question #5: What if the bad guy is too big?

Problem Solving Principle: We have proven the effectiveness of every technique against larger opponents.  Here are some facts regarding the use of the techniques against much larger adversaries:  

Fact #1: True Mastery Takes Time
Learning a technique is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished in one lesson. However, perfecting the technique takes months if not years.   We have found that your ability to handle larger opponents increases as you improve your mastery of the technique.  As your proficiency increases, practice against progressively larger partners until you find your limit – if you have one.

Fact #2: Reach Maximum Potential with Perfect Technique
Most Gracie Jiu-Jitsu techniques will work against an opponent of any size when executed with perfect timing and accuracy.  While you can’t control the size of your attacker, you can control the amount of time and energy you dedicate to perfecting the techniques. Your ability to successfully apply your techniques against a giant is directly related your mastery of the skills.

To submit a question regarding a technique, click here.