Gracie Barra is replacing its famous “Organized like a team, fighting like a Family” slogan with one more all-inclusive and in line with its current group efforts: “JIU-JITSU FOR EVERYONE!” The old motto will now be assigned to GB’s competition department, the Gracie Barra Competition Network.
From what the team’s leaders explained to me at a recent meeting we had in Atlanta, Georgia, they feel competition is an essential component in students’ technical development and personal growth, but should not be a martial artist’s primary goal or focus.
Gracie Barra has been in the spotlight of world Jiu-Jitsu since its inception, back in the mid 1980s. Founded by Master Carlos Gracie Jr., the school has blossomed into a worldwide association that has produced countless first-rate instructors and the most accomplished competition team around, counting several world titles and launching some of our art’s biggest names.
“’Organized like a team, fighting like a Family’ has been GB’s motto for over a decade now. It does a good job of summing up our efforts in competition BJJ, but these days there’s a need for a slogan representing our broader ideals,” says Professor Marcio Feitosa, the head instructor at Gracie Barra America (H.Q.).
According to Marcio, the school has always been much more than a competition team: “The underlying foundation that produced the great results was the work ‘Carlinhos’ did as the educator for an entire generation of young people in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.”
“He used Jiu-Jitsu and his personal example to preach a healthy lifestyle based on Jiu-Jitsu training, a balanced diet, staying away from drugs, and embracing a very positive view of the world,” says Marcio, who started training at the age of 12 and is now head instructor at a GB School in Orange County, California.
This change of slogan is part of the organization’s commitment to continually reevaluate the direction being taken – a throwback to the roots of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “The ultimate goal is to achieve Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s plan of establishing one Gracie Barra school in every city in the world,” reveals Marcio.
To carry out such an ambitious vision, they built a franchise structure that is already in operation in California, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and is expanding to other states around the US and Australia.
Carlos Gracie Jr.’s plan is to see the project through by relying on the existing manpower of the hundreds of black belt instructors now spread across the world and the thousands more currently being trained. GB is creating opportunities for them to teach and lead the expansion through an instructors certification program to be enacted at what they call Gracie Barra Premium schools.
Gracie Barra believes to have, for the first time, instituted a formal career through which BJJ students can make their livings as GB leaders. Students from Gracie Barra schools can embark on the path of learning, competing, teaching, running schools, and even help implant GB in new regions.
“Gracie Barra has a challenging but exciting journey ahead,” says Feitosa, who wraps up by quoting late Grandmaster Carlos Gracie (1905-1994):
“Each person who puts on a gi and believes in the Jiu-Jitsu taught by myself and my family is the fulfillment of my life’s work.”