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The Science Behind Gracie Barra - The GB Method

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Have you ever wondered what walking into a different Gracie Barra school would be like compared to your home school? Or, if you have visited other schools, have you wondered why it was all so familiar? The answer to these questions is because of the science behind Gracie Barra! In the early 2000s, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. understood that to continue to grow Gracie Barra across the globe would require a careful plan to ensure we grew stronger together. Master Carlos and some of his black belts decided to study and observe best practices for teaching Jiu-Jitsu. Through this detailed study and observation, the Gracie Barra Method was born. The GB Method is a set of teaching techniques, tools, and standards developed to empower GB Instructors worldwide to teach Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone. Essential building blocks form the GB Method so it can serve as a platform for our instructors to serve as teachers, mentors, and leaders. For this month's blog, we will focus on only a few of the essential blocks and the foundation of safety for students on which the building blocks rest. We will discuss how the GB program and class structure, the uniform, and our teaching and training practices are essential to the student's experience of learning Jiu-Jitsu. Let us remember that these building blocks do not exist successfully on their own. Every member of the GB family is a part of the equation. The execution of the method and the student's experience while training Jiu-Jitsu are valuable parts of the GB Method.

GB Method as Theory

The GB Program and Class Structure is the framework defining the path of each student and the relationships between classes, student rank, and what can be expected from different classes on the school schedule. It is also the very familiar natural progression of the class elements that we have come to expect when we train. Can you imagine showing up and your class started 15 minutes late, the school was dirty, or there was not a clear expectation of what the plan for the training was? And what of the uniform? Could you imagine a class you showed up to, and not everyone was wearing the same uniform? The class would seem odd, unfamiliar, and maybe even uncomfortable for some. Our uniform is not only designed to inspire order, team spirit, pride, and hygiene, but it also is a source of comfort to some to know we all stand for the same values. Learn more about the GB uniform here. And let's take a look at the teaching and training practices we see when we train. You can always count on the instructor to demonstrate a technique in steps to make it easier to learn. The instructor helps to match students that are appropriate training partners to create safe and challenging training situations. Imagine a school that didn't have attendance cards! All of this is part of the science of what makes a GB school successful.

GB Essentials as Execution

The early development of the GB Method is the theory behind why we do what we do. If that is true, then the GB Essentials are the execution of that theory. The GB Essentials are all the little things the professors, instructors, and staff do to ensure that the student walks into the school knowing what to expect from that day's training session. It is also the subtle details we may not notice but give us the feeling of comfort and brotherhood/sisterhood. In simple terms, GB Essentials is about identifying and understanding the basic elements that create the ideal learning experience we want our students to have at Gracie Barra Schools worldwide. Let's look at some examples of this. Whether you are a student, parent, instructor, professor, or school owner, we all know exactly what to expect in a warm-up in any GB class. It is amazing and funny that most of us can close our eyes and complete the warm-up in our heads. This is a GB Essential! Have you ever noticed that although different instructors have their styles, there is always a familiarity around how a technique is demonstrated, always showing it from different angles to understand the steps fully? Or that a technique is often revisited after some practice to add details that may have been missed on the first pass. This is not an accident. These elements are a small part of the GB Essentials and were developed based on studies and practices to deliver the best learning environment possible to study Jiu-Jitsu.

GB Experience as Results

All of this boils down to the most crucial purpose of the GB Method, and that is what we all experience while training Jiu-Jitsu, or the GB Experience! Suppose the GB Method is the theory, and the GB Essentials execute that theory. In that case, the GB Experience is the result that occurs due to the proper execution of the theory. The GB Experience is the shared perception, feelings, and realities team members experience from interacting with GB schools worldwide. Can you imagine walking into a GB school and not seeing a Legacy Wall or blue mats? It would feel different or just a bit off. We may not always be able to see the little details that influence our experience as martial art students, but the GB Method is all those little details. So the next time you are in your school, take a look around. Absorb all the little things you may not always pay attention to. You may understand some of the science that went into developing the most successful Jiu-Jitsu team in the world.

Blog Written by Dawn Korsen, a Gracie Barra Brown Belt

The Story behind the GB Method

Do you know why Gracie Barra decided to become a professional in the United States?

Master Carlos Gracie Jr. talks about the teaching system inside the first Jiu-Jitsu academies of the Gracie family.

See how what we do today at Gracie Barra is aligned with the roots of what his father, Carlos Gracie Sr., and his uncle Hélio Gracie taught.


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