L'actualité Gracie

Gracie University Master Cycle Review

Feburary 25, 2011

By Luke Beston (Royler Gracie Black Belt)

"I've been a member of Gracie University since it first went online - having had the opportunity to train with Prof. Ryron and Prof. Rener in the past in person and, already owning the Gracie Combatives program, I knew it would be an awesome product. When it was released, Gracie University was way above and beyond my expectations and with each new module I'm continually impressed with the lessons.

There are lots of great instructional videos on the market today, so rather than give an overview of what each lesson contains let me go over what I think sets Gracie University apart as the leader in its field. For specifics of the actual lesson contents you can click on the curriculum link on the Gracie University website.

(1) The Teaching Method
There are a few unique things that I really like about the way Ryron and Rener teach their online lessons.

Firstly, of course, is the systematic way each new technique or position is introduced and explained in the context of previous lessons, and in the bigger picture of Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

There is a huge emphasis on the student learning to "connect the dots" so that all the learned techniques flow seamlessly together. For me, personally, with such a huge volume of detail for each of their techniques, this was really important in preventing information overload.

Secondly, another unique feature of the Gracie University teaching method is that you have two world class instructors as opposed to one instructor or "master" with a student, as seen in nearly every other instructional video.

This really streamlines the instruction as Ryron and Rener give their take on the topic at hand. They also emphasize how a vital concept of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is the ability to perform right technique at the right time.

With one of the brothers at any given time playing the role of the "good guy" and the other playing the role of the "bad guy," they are able to clearly demonstrate the "indicator," or behavior, that triggers the use of any given technique.

Although it might sound trivial, it does make a big difference to have two instructors teaching rather than one, and if you don't understand what I mean, you can check out any of the Gracie MMA Fight Breakdowns on YouTube, and you'll understand.

Although Ryron and Rener place heavy emphasis the street self-defense aspect of the art, they do teach the full spectrum of jiu-jitsu techniques, including the sportive techniques. When teaching the sportive techniques, however, they are constantly reminding the student in what context the given technique is relevant; a great example of this is Master Cycle, Lesson 28: Butterfly Guard. Not only do they do a great job teaching all the intricacies of the butterfly guard, but they compare and contrast a variety of entries into the butterfly guard, explaining which are street applicable or "punch proof" and which are not.

(2) The Organization Method
Anyone who has ever tried to keep organized notes of techniques they have learned in class, or in seminars, knows how difficult it can be to group the techniques in a logical way.

The seven positional categories (Mount, Side Mount, Guard, Half Guard, Back Mount, Leg Locks and Standing) grouping method used by Ryron and Rener is the best and most logical I have ever seen. Without this magnificent organizational method, their mammoth task of documenting the full syllabus of Gracie Jiu Jitsu would have been near impossible.

Furthermore, the order they introduce the techniques is seamless. The techniques are presented in a sequentially numbered linear fashion, so that each subsequent lesson builds on the previous lesson or lessons. As they mention on their website, this is the exact ordering of techniques they would use if they were teaching you private lessons for 10 years straight at the Gracie Academy. So, in addition to being a great way for anyone to learn the art from anywhere in the world, Gracie University is a powerful tool for anyone who trains at an actual BJJ school and wants to review or relearn any techniques they may have missed in class.

In summary, I think Ryron and Rener have done a brilliant job of creating a program that will help any student improve their understanding of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, from the smallest technical detail all the way to understanding the bigger picture of the higher jiu-jitsu philosophies as well as the overall tactics and strategies."

Luke Beston
Royler Gracie Black Belt