Jiu Jitsu Times Vs. The BJJ Hour: Verbal Grappling Episode 3

So, you’ve read the articles and you watched Verbal Grappling Episode 2 in which we discussed the potential validity (or lack thereof) of a 17 year old blue belt certified by THE Gracie Academy to own and operate a school. Of course, the kid, Houston Cottrell’s school is a Level 1 Certified Training Center which means he has certain specific programs that he is authorized to offer.

Throughout the podcast, there were several allusions to the various programs offered by Gracie University/Gracie Academy. Rorion Gracie and his progeny have done an excellent job marketing their specific brand, iteration and system of their family’s art, Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

We thought the episode ended kind of abruptly. We felt as though we would need an entire episode to discuss the merits of, and arguments against the practice, proliferation and long term implications of these programs.  Given the response by the jiu jitsu community to this episode we decided to go ahead and air a special episode this Sunday, 10/11/2015 at 6pm Eastern, 3pm Pacific, featuring a guest who will provide us with deeper insights into the Gracie Academy program.

This special guest is one of the most qualified people to argue in favor of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy programs. He has been doing Jiu Jitsu his entire life and he and his brother run the Gracie Academy programs about which we will be debating. That’s right; this Sunday’s special episode of The Verbal Grappling Podcast will feature Rener Gracie.


As with all of these episodes I’m going to do my best to let the podcast speak for itself, but I’ll do my best to give our readers, listeners and viewers out there a preview of the episode.

For starters one should understand the programs that Gracie Academy offers:

1. Gracie Combatives: a program specifically for beginners. This program has been developed to provide people with the basic movements that they need to defend themselves. There is no live rolling at this level.

2. The Master Cycle: a more advanced program still focusing a lot of fundamentals but giving practitioners higher levels of training and live rolling.

3. Gracie Bullyproof: the kid’s version of Gracie Combatives. A very widely known system that has been featured on countless media outlets.

4. Women Empowered: Kind of like Gracie Combatives but specifically formulated as a self defense system for women.

5. Gracie University (the online version): people can quite literally climb the ranks entirely online and through the mail. They do make a point that earning “official” belts requires testing in a Certified Training Center with black belt instructors, though they do allow people to get “technical” blue belts through the mail. A point of contention for many critics of the system.

There’s a lot more to each of these systems, but that’s another article for another day.

In this episode of The Verbal Grappling Podcast we will discuss whether or not this system is healthy for Jiu Jitsu (with two capital J’s.) Here are some arguments (not necessarily ones I personally will make) that we can expect to see for or against the system.


1. Not everyone first getting into Jiu Jitsu wants to, is interested in or is ready to roll. The grind has potential to scare away newcomers.       The Gracie Combatives program offers a safer way for newcomers to acclimate to the system by first teaching people to deal with less skilled attackers and then teaching them to address skilled ones.

2. This is a system controlled by the founding family of Jiu Jitsu. Rorion Gracie helped put on the very first UFC. These are people who know what they are doing and do what they love.

3. Without the various programs many people who would otherwise never get jiu jitsu have been able to make it part of their lives.


1. The grind IS jiu jitsu. If you’re not training to handle skilled opponents you’re not training right. Also jiu jitsu isn’t for everyone, it CAN be, but it’s on them if they want to expose themselves to the hardships that come with it.

2. Allowing people who are at lower belts to open up schools in areas where there are already Sport BJJ Gyms run by upper belts is wrong because people should be getting their knowledge from the very sharpest sources and there is no way for a blue belt to be sharp enough with their technique to guide people.

3. At the end of the day Jiu Jitsu is Jiu Jitsu.       An arm bar or an umpa is an arm bar or an umpa, it’s better to learn how to do these things against someone who knows how to resist them.

What arguments do you expect to see made? What arguments would YOU make for or against these programs?

Tune in!

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  1. McDonalds has the same burger all around the world, that is consistency that is not quality. When I started Jiujitsu we would laughing a 10 year old black belts in other martial arts. What separated Bjj from other martial art is the roll.


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