Gracie Combatives Review: Conclusion, Bad For The Sport

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Mike Harris, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Mike Harris White Belt

    Mike Harris
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    INTRODUCTION:
    A little about where I am coming from, I have needed an outlet to discuss this for weeks. I was a student in a Gracie Combatives Certified Training Center when I started training in BJJ. I left this school on good terms, I feel the instructor cared about the students learning the material, the environment was friendly, and every student would try to help each other. The instructor was and still is a Blue Belt. I met 3 guys from the same school I used to attend in my division at a local competition that I was friendly with while awaiting our names to be called to the mat. I won 4 gold medals in this competition Gi and No Gi, weight class and absolute. Although I won, some people were a challenge, but I completely dominated the 3 from the Gracie Combatives Program. 1 of these guys has become a face book friend of mine and we have hung out a few times. He has a crazy sense of reality when it comes to BJJ.

    Now to introduce the review.

    GRACIE ACADEMY ONLINE

    Ryron Gracie and Rener Gracie have developed an online program. You sign up at their website. Learn moves that you can purchase from the curriculum. After purchasing all the moves in a set curriculum for the given belt level you are allowed to submit a video demonstrating that you can execute the moves in a pre-determined way, and it will be graded, for an additional fee of course. Then you receive a certified blue belt, congrats!

    GRACIE COMBATIVES INSTRUCTORSHIP COURSE:

    The school offers a Gracie Combatives Instructor Course. You enroll in a seminar style course for a very high fee. You are required to fly to their main academy or wherever they are hosting the instructorship course and find a place to stay, this is not included in the course fee. The course length is something like 1 week. I am writing from memory so the time frame may be a little off on this but it is close enough and even if its 2 weeks long, its irrelevant.

    After the instructor course is complete you are then given a blue belt, and if you are an instructor of a school in another martial arts discipline you now qualify to apply to have your school become a Certified Gracie Training Center. Now everyone who is trained by one of these instructors in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is under the prestigious umbrella of the Gracie Family Lineage.

    CERTIFIED COMBATIVES TRAINING CENTERS

    Now Instructors that have their school certified offer the combatives program and curriculum. This consists of something like 26 moves. You must take 2 or 3 lessons in each move, then complete a reflex development transition class where you try to understand how these moves connect with each other. Your instructor can record a test and submit it for approval by the Gracie Academy in Torrance, CA and receive your Blue Belt. This process can take a few weeks to a few months, this depends on the schedule of training and the instructor being willing to test you and submit it.

    THE POSITIVE:

    I will address the benefits I can appreciate in this program before I attack it...

    -Structured Curriculum, Structure is rare in the teaching of BJJ.

    -Benefit to the instructor: Standardized Foundation, schools teach the basics but rarely is it organized, the benefit may be for the instructor to know what each student has in his/her arsenal.

    The End of My Positive Feedback

    THE NEGATIVE: MY MAIN POINTS AND OPINIONS

    First and foremost the curriculum is clear that White Belts DO NOT ROLL. Your question might be “But they receive a Blue Belt and have never rolled in class?” Answer: Yes, If they roll its with friends outside of class. I think this is because it is ineffective Jiu-Jitsu and the more you roll the more you’ll realize this but that’s just my opinion.

    -In my experience the students are convinced that the Gracie Combatives program is the best method to learn effective "street ready" Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I understand all schools use the “My style is best” approach to student retention. It’s just part of the martial arts business tradition but I think this approach only works when the students are performing at an equal level compared to other schools of the same art. I personally do not feel the students in the Gracie Combatives Program are at the same level as students compared to any or most other BJJ schools .

    -This process grants a blue belt to people very fast. Even if an instructor prolongs the process, the extent of knowledge is 26 moves give or take, if you are following the white to blue curriculum. I will not address this programs masters cycle (blue to black) curriculum, it is a JOKE to think this is possible. but I will use strong language to provide a formula in which to help you understand it.

    It does not seem to make sense that a person can become a certified instructor in a week, receive a Blue Belt, then teach a curriculum to a large quantity of students and require them to spend more time acquiring skills that the so called “instructor” doesn’t understand himself.

    FORMULA:
    (Gracie Combatives * Marketing Hype) Devided by (Lack of skill * 10 per belt) = Inefficient Jiu-Jitsu to the power of 10 per belt.
    This means when you reach a belt in the Gracie Combatives Program people from real Jiu-Jitsu schools will be progressively 10 times better at that same level. Black Belt will be the exception, you will not be comparable.
    Blue Belt = 10x better
    Purple Belt= 20x better
    Brown Belt= 30x better

    This means that if you follow this program in my opinion a Gracie Academy Certified Training Center’s new Brown Belt will be of equal value to a normal BJJ school’s Blue Belt.


    MY ANALYSIS OF THE ONLINE SYSTEM

    -The online combatives system is definitely a profit motivated initiative aimed towards obtaining a large quantity of students, without providing the quality of in person instruction.

    Unlike online academic colleges providing schooling where you would essentially hear a lecture, or PowerPoint, complete reading and writing assignments for the course, and ask the teacher question can be done in a face to face class or by online correspondence.

    Everyone who practices BJJ has used sites like YouTube to look up moves. This is a good tool for students in Jiu-Jitsu schools but it should only be supplemental to in class instruction. The development of the physical precision needed in BJJ needs to be monitored by a well trained instructor who pays attention to details, where you are subject to correction and minor tweaks according to limitations some students may have.

    This is basically giving a blue belt for clocking hours watching YouTube style instruction, this is a horrible tradition to start. It leads people to believe they have a skill or credential that they do not really have. Much like a for profit technical college like ITT Tech, ECPI, etc... Where they advertise you can get your bachelors (blue belt) in a much shorter time than anywhere else. The only catch is no one else will recognize it (you will be much like a 1 stripe white belt if attending a normal BJJ school) and you will not be competitive in the job market (unless you were a talented wrestler before this, you will be completely dominated in any Jiu-Jitsu tournament at Blue Belt level, even in white belt divisions you will not perform to well against the 3 and 4 stripers). That’s my analogy on the online Gracie Combatives.


    IN SUMMARY

    The Gracie Academy Online and Certified Training Centers are a Joke. I believe it is a profit motivated agenda that does not promote the art in its fullest form. I am sure that many people have commented on this but I wanted my turn. I probably didn’t cover my opinion as well as I like but I am at work and started to feel rushed. Please flame me on anything that wasn’t clear or that you disagree with.

    My last words can be considered food for the soul. Lets provide a small piece of an answer the age old question:

    HOW DO YOU SPOT A BJJ McDOJO?
    - If your BJJ instructor is a BLUE BELT you might be in a McDOJO.
    - If your instructor can not promote your belt color on his own you might be at a McDojo.
    - If your head instructor is a Purple Belt, you might be at a McDojo.
    - If any of the above is true and you pay more than $50 a month. You might be at a McDojo.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
    TheGZA likes this.
  2. Title Fight Productions Steel Belt

    Title Fight Productions
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    Most people in this thread will stop reading right here.:redface:

    I will continue to be nice.:icon_chee
     
    #2
    Was at Pride GP 2000 likes this.
  3. SonOfZion** Black Belt

    SonOfZion**
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  4. Title Fight Productions Steel Belt

    Title Fight Productions
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    Im sorry i didn't stop reading when other will..........
     
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  5. kahyo Orange Belt

    kahyo
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    Took the words right out of mouth... :icon_chee
     
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  6. CELS Brown Belt

    CELS
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    Interesting read. Ironically, the people who should read reviews like these, never do.

    I can see where you're coming from, but I would put up different criteria. For example, the classic staple of a McDojo is that belts are handed out to anyone with a minimum of experience and a large wallet.

    - If your BJJ instructor never participates in tournaments, you might be in a McDojo.
    - If you BJJ instructor has never won any regional / state tournaments above white belt level, you might be in a McDojo.
    - If coloured belts are promoting other coloured belts, you might be in a McDojo.
    - If your BJJ instructor wears a black belt from karate, japanese ju jitsu or judo, you've just bought a happy meal your local McDojo.
     
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  7. EternalRag3 Rear Naked Poker

    EternalRag3
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    in b4 gsparky
     
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  8. cooltoon999 Orange Belt

    cooltoon999
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  9. Mike Harris White Belt

    Mike Harris
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    edited to correct that fruedian slip, Rorion is one of my favorite Gracies so I typed his name by mistake. Dont judge the content on that, you can disagree because my argument isnt acceptable. I am curious how people feel about it
     
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  10. Narsil** Purple Belt

    Narsil**
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    hey its april, isn't gsparky supposed to be training at Drac's by now?
     
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  11. realllybigrhino Banned

    realllybigrhino
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    I read it and learned some stuff about the program (I have never researched it before). The Gracie combatives program sounds pretty Mickey mouse to me. All of the "bullyproof" stuff looks like slick marketing to me but the funny thing is that its working. These "Certified Training Centers" are everywhere...

    ...Profile: Gracie Jiu Jitsu - Produced, Shot, Edited on Vimeo
     
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  12. Title Fight Productions Steel Belt

    Title Fight Productions
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    Really!:eek: Im dying to hear why Rorion is one of your favorites.
     
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  13. Ballistics Purple Belt

    Ballistics
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    How the hell was that a fruedian slip lol.

    Ryron and Rener are rorians kids. Where Does Rickson come in? lol.
     
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  14. realllybigrhino Banned

    realllybigrhino
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    Maybe because they look the same?
     
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  15. Ballistics Purple Belt

    Ballistics
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    I dont see it.
     
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  16. winst0ned Yellow Belt

    winst0ned
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    I agree that this is all marketing. The certification is garbage, and belts are most likely handed out freely.

    that said, I would use the Gracie Combatives program as a supplement to the training I do at a gym. Undoubtedly it would be great to review techniques and from some of the videos I have seen, they seem to be well made.

    If I didnt already have videos and books that go over the techniques I would pay the money and do just that. Use it as a supplement to my training.

    I dont think its bad for the sport. It helps people that may or may not have the money to try BJJ out and see how they like it. Its not like you can get a black belt online.
     
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  17. Mike Harris White Belt

    Mike Harris
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    Rorion is one of my favorites because when I think of gracie jiu jitsu him, Rickson, and Royce come to mind. I think it was his commentary on the original gracie challenge videos, I have alot of respect for him, he is all calm and precise while saying things like "de kun fu espert never had a shance" in his accent. While some guy is skirming on the ground under his brother royce.

    I also recognize Ryron is a taleted jiu jitsu instructor, excellent communication skills, and great at emphasizing the subtle details. But I also think this combatives approach is a nasty blow to the art.

    Either way, I corrected the names, it was a mistake but not a very crucial aspect of the topic. I think someone could not know who helio gracie was and still be a good jiujitsu practitioner compared to a gracie combatives graduate with the gracie family tree memorized. Either way the gracie combatives guy is tapping.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
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  18. Grandprix Banned

    Grandprix
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    To the TS, on the flip side of the coin, Rener believes that sports jiu jitsu has watered down the original art of BJJ which was meant for self-defense. Helio originally wanted GJJ to be used for self-defense where a smaller guy can win against a a larger opponent.

    What happened now is with all these BJJ schools coming up geared towards sports competition, many of the techniques taught do not account for strikes and slams. This is why many BJJ exponents who transfer into MMA have to take time and modify their techniques to work effectively.

    The Gracies want their self-defense orientated legacy to continue, which they believe is slowly being lost, which is why they created the program. The U.S. Military and Law Enforcement has also adopted their combatives program.

    I personally don't think the idea is bad at all, the only thing I can critique is the online belts. But either way, sooner or later the belt system will be watered down like tkd, karate etc.. just a matter of time.
     
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  19. Jdonw Green Belt

    Jdonw
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    You sound whiney, and you don't have the credentials to whine about what makes a good school. I know plenty of purple belts and blue belts who can teach beginners very well, I know plenty that teach me things.
     
    #19
  20. 5050buttflopper** Green Belt

    5050buttflopper**
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    i wouldnt put too much thought into this, they are selling something exactly as advertised, i agree this wont lead to a quality blue belt but it still provides people without the luxury of blackblets all over a resource to learn bjj, it is what it is.

    BJJ is great, you cant fake your belt, so i honestly dont care about this. More power to them in their business ventures. If they can get BJJ to explode mainstream and taught in high schools along with wrestling, then great and i support them.
     
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