THE ART OF SELF-PRESERVATION
Gracie Jiu Jitsu philosophy sets its foundation on self-preservation as its primary principle. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a derivative of Japanese Judo who share the same techniques. However, they greatly differ in the context of how and when they apply their techniques. While Judo used some leverage, it required strong physical attributes to effectively apply its techniques. Understanding the techniques and how they work (in theory) Helio found that they were difficult for him to apply due to his small stature and lack of strength. Over his lifetime he refined the art to serve his purpose, focusing on managing your energy, mitigating damage and pure leverage so that the weaker individual has a chance against the stronger individual, thus, developing Gracie Jiu Jitsu and famously establishing the Gracie name as the founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
With over hundreds of fights under his belt, Grandmaster Helio naturally identified the most common attacks and threat scenarios. With this, he created a curriculum of techniques to counter these threats and organized them so they can be learned for immediate use. This curriculum was further refined and developed specifically for the US military, by Grandmaster Helio’s eldest son, Rorion Gracie – it was called Gracie Combatives.
Since its inception, Gracie Combatives has been modified for civilian use to address common threat scenarios for everyday individuals . While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has close to a thousand techniques, Gracie Combatives is the only Jiu Jitsu program that focuses on 36 core techniques that have had far greater success than all the other techniques combined. The appeal for beginners is that experience and athletic ability is not important.
The class is 1-hour long and typically addresses 2 common threat scenarios – one standing and one ground. Each scenario will have a self-defense technique that addresses it. These techniques are then broken down into smaller drills allowing the student to absorb the concepts and the techniques easily. The environment is focused on safety and cooperative learning and does not have competitive sparring. The student is provided a progress card, allowing them to track their progress and used for review at the beginning of the next class. Once the progress card is completed, the student would typically be at a level of proficiency to test for their Combatives Belt and an opportunity to move on to Master Cycle, should he or she wish to continue on their Jiu Jitsu journey.
36 ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUES IN 23 LESSONS
Step 1. Learn the techniques. The student is provided a progress card with the list of the 36 essential techniques needed to be proficient in Gracie Combatives. The lessons are numbered, and a monthly lesson plan is posted each month so that the students can plan out their sessions in advance.
1.1 Grace University Online. Included in your membership is a free subscription to Gracie University where you can access all Gracie Combatives lessons in advance.
Step 2. Develop Your Reflexes. Once you have completed each of the lessons twice, you will qualify to participate in the Reflex Development Program. This is where you begin to link your 36 techniques together and develop a seamless transition from one movement to the next.
Step 3. Earn your Gracie Combatives Belt. Once each of the lessons have been completed 3 times and and 12 Reflex Development classes has been completed, the student is eligible to test for their Gracie Combatives Belt. A Combatives Belt test will then be administered and the students level of proficiency in executing the essential techniques will be assessed. If your performance is sharp and you meet all the point stardards by the Gracie University, you will then be awarded a Combatives Belt and invited to join the advanced training program, Master Cycle.
As was Grandmaster Helio Gracie’s guiding principle. The practice of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a practice of self-preservation in order to reach success. The Gracie Combatives Program embodies this approach to learning an artform as challenging as Jiu Jitsu. Focusing on foundational techniques, being patient in absorbing the lessons and a cooperative learning environment allows the student to learn Jiu Jitsu without emotional stress and completely free from injury. Gracie Jiu Jitsu structures a students Jiu Jitsu journey for the long haul.