“Jiu-Jitsu for everyone”

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"JIU-JITSU FOR EVERYONE!" is the Gracie Barra organization's new slogan.

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.”

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There are 56 comments for this article
  1. Holly Reusing at 10:31 pm

    Thank you Luca for this article!
    Jiu-jitsu for Everyone is an enormously simple, but very powerful, development for Gracie Barra leaders to put into black and white and is the very thing we have all been witnessing. This year alone, there were over 100 blue belt women registered for the IBJJF Mundial’s. It was an inevitable shift to a broader base of practitioners and a natural, albeit organic movement for women and children to fall in love with jiu-jitsu. I was slow to embrace women’s training in the 1990’s and early 2000’s but I soon realized that jiu-jitsu was going to make a large mark on humanity and that in these modern times, women and children were not going to miss the opportunity.
    With any great institution, one of the biggest challenges is that of preserving tradition and now more than ever, the leadership that we have been fortunate to witness being cultivated over many years in jiu-jitsu will continue to be tested and sought for strength. Perhaps this is why the rigors of training and competition have required such sacrifice and dedication, often rivaling the oldest of traditions from ancient times, and sacrifices continue to be made. However, today, the frame that has been erected by the Gracie family and their original students has begun to inspire the masses. The spark that was sent forth can now reach nearly every type of person.
    Throughout the 1900’s, the Gracie’s have showed us just how family-oriented jiu-jitsu can be and we are fascinated with their ways of living and their personal and social achievements. In the schools now we are always trying to figure out how the whole family can sign up so that they can experience the fun of healthy, practical activity for all family members. This is a very natural shift toward a larger population base in the schools, much like the shift that took the art outside of the continent of South America to the rest of the world. Now, we are also becoming more focused on how to provide jiu-jitsu for special populations. More and more, people are getting used to the idea that there is something in it for everyone and the new GB slogan cuts right to the chase. I heard Renzo Gracie say in an interview once, “We learn to fight so that we don’t have to fight”. This statement alone says more about the evolution of humanity and the martial traditions than there is time to contemplate. It is the power of jiu-jitsu. It is why we must go beyond competition.
    The word everyone comes from middle English “everichon” which was closely related to “evermore” and can be seen in such works as The Canterbury Tales. It was used in 1175–1225 Middle English, before the rules of Middle English Grammar were formulated. I like to think of jiu-jitsu particularly in the sense of evermore – for all time to come. For all.

    Holly Reusing
    Gracie Barra Corona
    7-18-11

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