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How to Score a 100 on your Blue Belt Test

March 13, 2013

Danny Cody is the most recent Gracie Garage home-study student to score a 100 on the Gracie Combatives blue belt test. His test was reviewed by three separate evaluators and, aside from some minor notes here and there, his core understanding/execution of the techniques was as sharp as anything we've seen from the thousands of blue belt tests, online students and CTC students, that have been submitted thus far. We were so impressed with his at-home progress that we decided to interview him so that other Gracie University students might learn a thing or two about how to make it happen.

Congratulations on your perfect test score! How many total hours did you train, and what routine did you follow to get your technique so sharp?
I trained approximately 225 hours. The routine I followed was the Gracie Combatives DVD format. I trained on average about two to three days per week. I strictly followed the Gracie Combatives recomended cyclic training schedule that is available on Gracie University. I went through each entire lesson at least six times.

What would you say to other home-study Gracie University students to help them achieve your level of success?
First, I would remind them to approach each lesson understanding that Rener and Ryron are not in your garage with you. Even though all the answers are in the instruction, they are not there to correct any mistakes that you make. Therefore, your focus has to be at the highest level. One thing we did that I truly believe took our training to the highest level is that we would film ourselves doing the techniques. Then we watched and analyzed our movements and compared our performances to Rener and Ryron's execution. If we identified mistakes or differences in execution, then we went back and made the necessary corrections. Above all, there is no shortcut, spend as much time as you can on the mat, and don't stop viewing the video lessons. Every time you view a lesson, you'll pick up new details, even when you think you got it all down. Take your time and don't get caught up in chasing the belt, chase the knowledge. Oh yeah, and be sure to stand up in base 24/7!

Who were your training partners and how did you guys stay motivated?
My training partners are my brother and my 8 year old son for Gracie Bullyproof. Motivation for me simply came in the form of seeking perfection in this system. During each viewing of whatever lesson I was on, my mindset was to try to find any detail that may have been missed previously. With this mindset, I was able to keep my focus and motivation extremely high at all times.

What was the most challenging technique for you to learn, and how did you finally overcome?
The most challenging technique for me was definately the Standing Headlock Defense (Lesson 26)! The way I overcame the challenge was in managing my attitude towards it. I recognized it as a weakness of mine, I accepted it as a challenge to me. My goal was to recognize it as a weakness and then work on it so much that it would literally become a strength. I was really never willing to accept that I couldn't eventually own the technqiue. So, all in all, lots of extra reps on the standing headlock defense, and also lots of extra viewings and even solo drills helped me a lot.

What is your favorite aspect of Gracie University? Why does it work so well for you?
The conviencence of learning at home on my own pace is amazing! I have two children, so time is always an issue for me, and it's very difficult to get to an academy two or three nights a week. I have spent many nights, after the children are asleep, studying GJJ. I also love the forum section on Gracie University. I have asked many questions and gotten great feedback from the certified instructors who oversee the forums!

What are your plans from here? BBS1, ICP, etc?
I have already began BBS1 and it's amazing! I have been doing Gracie Bullyproof with my son for two years, and plan on continuing for the rest of his life. We are currently working on his yellow/orange belt. I am also planning on pursuing the Instructor Certification Program as well.

Anything else you want to tell us about your journey thus far?
The journey has been great. I have so much more confidence in myself since I started GJJ. I also send my son to school very confident that he is equipped with what he needs to stand up to bullying. As if that weren't enough, I have also adopted the Gracie Diet. I have lost 60 lbs during the course of about 14 months, and feel great. Thank you Gracie family!