Online belt testing & training: Straight from the source or just a bad alternative?

Online training programs in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have grown quite a bit in recent months, top black belts such as Cobrinha, Andre Galvao and the Mendes Brothers all have websites supplying  subscribers with the same content these top level black belts are teaching in their own academies. However, one school, the Gracie Academy in Torrance takes it a step further, by including online belt testing for students using their Gracie University online training program from home. This allows students to send the Gracie Academy footage of themselves performing certain techniques on a training partner at home that they are learning from the website. If the evaluators over at the Gracie Academy are happy, they will mail you a belt! Their program allows students to progress from white belt all the way to brown belt 4 stripes all from the comfort of their home.


Does this sound like a quick way for the Gracie Academy to make quick cash with very little effort, or is it something withonline training a bigger goal? The idea sounds very appealing to people who might not have an opportunity to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where they live. Saying you are a blue belt under Ryron and Rener Gracie is something many BJJ practitioners might like saying. However, if you are a blue, purple or even a brown belt under the Gracie Academy but you have never taken a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in your life and only used, does this take legitimacy away from your rank and your knowledge of the martial art? The answer is yes. If you have never taken a class and trained with different training partners you will never know your own skill and you will never be tested by those around you. Sure you might be practicing the techniques you learn from these videos with a friend or two or even a sibling, but the experiences and the learning that goes on inside a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school cannot be replicated through videos and practicing moves in your garage. I truly do believe that if you want to be a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that you have to learn directly from the source, at an academy. If you do not have an academy anywhere near you (yes, some people still do not get this luxury), than online training could be a good solution for you. However, I do not believe that people should be belted through these systems, if they want a promotion they should be training with an instructor who is qualified to give someone a belt.


I do believe that online training videos and other resources are great for the martial art, because they give people opportunities to expand their knowledge of the art when they are not physically  training. However I do not feel that they should be used as primary sources for learning; rather they should be used as reinforcement to what you are already learning in an academy with a live instructor. It really does help to be training in a setting where there is an instructor to answer any questions students may have and to correct them, showing them the little details that might not be presented in a video or in a book. If you are able to apply certain moves to a training partner in a filmed video does that mean you can use them on someone who is fighting back against you? Against someone trying to mug you or in a street fight? If you never test your technique against someone who is trying to beat you just as much as you are trying to beat them, then are you able to say that online training equates to training at a school?
I know that this is considered a controversial topic in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world and that everyone will have their own opinions about the subject. Let me know what you think about online training and belt testing online!


  1. The only reason this would be a controversial issue is if the sentiment were split however; I think anyone who has ever trained or competed would agree, what blows me away is that they are offering up to 4 stripped brown, no wonder Helio would wear a blue belt,,, good grief!

  2. It is a sign of the changing time, rhe groqth of technology has made using video and online education methods more ubiquitous and offer greater flexibility to students who may be further away from a good gym, or any gyk for that matter. Certainly the quality may suffer a little in practice with multiple partners but the basics abd uo to a intermediate level of fundamentals can be learned in this format. Testing for Brown and Black Belt ahouls require a couple of visits to thr parent gym and testing done in front of the instructor in person.

  3. It is not only about being able to show a technic to move up to the next level or in this case to a higher belt in my opinion, you also have to test the character, the heart, determination and the hole package as a human being.
    This is a new way to make money and will bring down the quality and reputation of BJJ in general!

  4. It is not only about being able to show a technic to move up to the next level or in this case to a higher belt in my opinion, you also have to test the character, the heart, determination and the hole package as a human being.
    This is a new way to make money and will bring down the quality and reputation of BJJ in general!

  5. They don't promote anyone past blue belt online. For both purple and brown belt, you are required to schedule a live test with one of their qualified instructors (I believe they must be a black belt, but don't quote me on that). The black belt test is a week long test in California at the Gracie Academy with Ryron and Rener. The only belt test that can be done solely online is blue belt. If testing online, the person receives a technical blue belt instead of an official one, because they have only demonstrated that they can perform the techniques.

  6. They don't… You can't even get a real blue belt without going there in person, they give you a "technical" blue belt, which they don't recognize as a true blue belt. You would think before writing an article like this that a reputable page would do there own homework and not write an article based on something they heard on another bogus page LOL! Go to their website and check it out yourself.

  7. Again we see more MISINFORMATION for the public here. The program DOES NOT PROMOTE ANYONE without a LIVE EVALUATION. As Dave McClure & Cody Wood have already mentioned here, even the blue belt rank will require a LIVE TEST or you are given a "Technical Blue Belt". Opinions and choices vary when it comes to BJJ. Find what you are looking for and get on the mat. But when it comes to feeding students a line of BS lets consider this…The majority of students enroll at martial arts schools for self defense. So lets picture this: New student walks into BJJ dojo and they begin teaching XGuard on his first visit. Is the XGUARD a real TRUE SELF DEFENSE TECHNIQUE? Or is there a possibility you may get your face stompped? Gracie Academy Jiu Jitsu is DIFFERENT. From day one you will learn to defend against common street attacks rather than techniques designed for scoring points in a tourney. Please keep in mind I did not say Gracie Academy is BETTER. I simply said DIFFERENT. So my friends before you go out and enroll at a dojo. Ask yourself Why do I want to train? If the answer is self defense, the Gracie Academy Combatives program is the answer. NOW GO GET ON THE MAT!!

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