Rener Gracie Response To The Loyal Haters Of Gracie Academy

Rener Gracie:

To the loyal haters:

Yesterday, an article popped up in my newsfeed with my face on it along with a headline which suggested that mine and Ryron’s jiu-jitsu perpetuation efforts were negatively impacting the legacy of my predecessors. I was upset, and my initial reaction was to prepare a lengthy response to refute all of the myths and misconceptions about Gracie University (like the idea that GU students don’t actually get on the mat and train as much as anyone else), but when I logged on to Gracie University this morning, I noticed that new student enrollment was more than double the daily average. Over the last 48 hours, 174 new students, from 28 different countries, have began the jiu-jitsu journey with us (most of whom I tried to squeeze into the attached screenshot). Of the 174 new members, most are white belts located 100 miles or more from the nearest Certified Training Center, or any qualified academy, but have the discipline and motivation to find a group of training partners and learn like my grandfather did, through keen observation and lots of training, while using trial and error to pursue perfection. There are also a handful of blue and purple belts from non-Gracie Academies who will use their access to our linear curriculum to fill in the gaps and make sure they are learning the most important, but most neglected, aspects of jiu-jitsu. And then there are two black belts, whom I can only assume have enjoyed the journey thus far and may be skeptical about Gracie University’s effectiveness, but at least they have the courage and humility to log in and understand it before criticizing it.

I was upset at first, but after reflecting on the situation I realize that the right thing to do is to send a small gift to each of our misinformed doubters. Thanks to them, 174 new students from around the world have embarked on the GU journey!

screen shot

p.s. For those who still believe that GU doesn’t work, or that the students aren’t putting in the work and rolling like the rest of us, watch this:

or this


  1. I hope Rener sees this response as some point; maybe he can address my concern. I wouldn’t call myself a “hater” of Gracie University, though I do know a few. I may not agree with everything they do, but I can understand it to a point. I grew up in an area which even now 18 years later has little access to Jiu Jitsu. I am fortunate enough now to be in a great area for Jiu Jitsu and have been training for the past 8 years. The metro area where I now live has 7 Royce Gracie Black belts, two Robert Drysdale black belts and a few others under some other instructors (Machado’s, Maia etc.). I think the reason that people have a problem with “Gracie University” is this: I train at a large Royce Gracie affiliate (with 3 Royce Black belts) with two metro area locations and around 400 students between the two locations. In addition, there are four other local gyms run by Royce Gracie Black Belts. All the area Royce schools teach Grand Master Helio’s original self defense based curriculum. All the black belts received their belts directly from Royce, several of them in collaboration with the Valente Brothers in Miami. YET, just this week someone decided to would be a good idea to open up a CTC 1.9 miles from an authentic Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy…as a FRESH blue belt. While not at my school, the black belt just down the road from the CTC is one of the most qualified instructors I have ever met, with 15+ years of experience. How is this good for Jiu Jitsu? There are 10 qualified Jiu Jitsu academies within 20 miles of this CTC location. Several people I know have reached out to this Gracie University student in an attempt to have him come train. We even had some people contact him about attending an open mat at his new academy. All attempts to communicate have been rejected. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the local Jiu Jitsu community when someone who attends a brief Gracie University certification seminar comes into an area with so much Jiu Jitsu talent and experiance and refuse to learn from or collaborate with the existing community.

    • I will keep it simple. People have the right to train where they want. Under a black belt or under a blue belt. And you have no right to stop them from doing so. Whether you like it or not. For some reason this one chooses one path and that one chooses another. And good for them.

      • I’m sorry but that is total nonsense. When someone is starting out BJJ they don’t know what is best from them. To use an old phrase, “everything looks like karate” to a new person. Any new student that that blue belt gets is being conned.

  2. not speak for anyone from GA, but is your concern that this person isn’t teaching good jiu-jitsu, that they’re misrepresenting their ability, or that they are taking revenue from existing schools?
    or something else?

    • The area schools are all healthy, the revenue isn’t a concern. Everything else is you stated is, and more. There are details which a blue belt is just not capable of teaching at the same level as a black belt. If it where a sport vs Gracie Jiu Jitsu argument I would understand, but its not. This blackbelt is an incredibly gifted teacher. If this blue belt attempted to connect with the local GJJ community, it would be different, he hasn’t. I think thats the greater problem, even though our are instructors are well versed in everything the GU puts out, we by default get treated like and inferior “sport based” jiu jitsu, which we are not. That just rubs people the wrong way.

      • If there is no place in the market for the blue belt, then he will be unable to pay the rent and will be forced to close. If the customer base finds a need for the services he provides over the black belts else where, then the market deems there a need for him to be there.

      • I could not disagree more. As someone who has been there and seen it first hand. And as a twenty year veteran in the art, you need to take one thing into consideration. These blue belts are only qualified and allowed to teach a certain set of moves. Unlike your black belts that can teach whatever they please. The level of detail a lot of these blues bring to the table can exceed many black belts. Not anyone in particular. I just mean generally speaking. Yes, they are extremely limited in what they can bring to the table. But, they are bringing steak, not salad. I feel you. You just need to put it into a little different perspective. Thanks. Much respect all. RP

  3. I think what this blue belt has to offer is just different than most of the bjj schools around,no matter if he is a black belt or a fresh blue belt.
    The instructors teaching at any gracie academy CTC have to go through a proper instructor training program with a test at the end based on what program they will teach in the CTC.

    All of the CTC can offer a simple,efficient and clear formalized curriculum based mostly on self defense with organized lessons that you can learn with no fear that getting smashed up if it’s your first time on the mat.
    And plus you also have access to the videos of the techniques you’re learning online so you can check the details that you forgot after you’re back home.

    I don’t think i would have start bjj other than this way and i think that for a lots of people it’s the same so if it can bring peoples that usually would not start a self defense martial art into the most effective self defense martial art that’s brillant.


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