rener gracie's black belt secrets

Rener Gracie has been writing on his secrets to reaching a black belt in his newsletter here was part one:

The 5 Black Belt Learning Strategies

At the Gracie Academy a black belt is awarded to any person who reaches their max potential in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Although any person who trains long enough will eventually be awarded a black belt, it is fascinating how some people do it in much less time than others. Because the time varies so greatly, people often wonder what the secret is to rapid progress in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Most instructors would tell you that all it takes is hard training as often as possible. At the Gracie Academy we believe that it is not how many classes you take, but what you take from the classes. Those who progress most rapidly in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu are the ones who know how to learn most effectively. In the each of the next 5 issues of the Gracie Insider, we will be discussing one learning strategy that will help you reach black belt in the least amount of time possible.

Black Belt Learning Strategy #1: Learn Between the Lines

At the Gracie Academy, we pride ourselves in providing super detailed instruction. The problem is that students of ours tend to believe that by simply showing up to class and absorbing all the details, they are reaping all the benefit of the class, when if fact, this is totally wrong. What they don’t realize is that in any given class, the spoken details only cover 50% of the valuable information presented during the class. The secret to learning between the lines is to take what is said and see what other valuable information you can derive from it. For example, if we say, “The most important Triangle Choke detail is to control the head,” most people would only infer that they must control the head during the Triangle Choke while the students with more effective learning strategies would also infer that if you are on the receiving end of the Triangle, the most important thing would be to keep your head from getting controlled by your opponent.

By learning to “learn between the lines,” you will benefit doubly from each lesson which is why this learning strategy will unquestionably put you on the fast track to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu mastery.

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Very cool. Thanks for posting. Rener is always on point when he teaches and when he breaks down the game and the learning process. As good as he is on the mat (which he is very, very good) he is an even better teacher.

AlliancePA - Very cool. Thanks for posting. Rener is always on point when he teaches and when he breaks down the game and the learning process. As good as he is on the mat (which he is very, very good) he is an even better teacher.


LOL, shouldn't step one be "Be born w/ the last name Gracie"? j/k Thanks for posting!

Here is #2:
Black Belt Learning Strategy #2: Learn to Love Losing

There is an old saying that says you learn more from losing than you do from winning. On the path towards Gracie Jiu-Jitsu mastery this couldn't be truer. Any student who intends to go from white to black belt can expect to tapout several thousand times in the process. What is fascinating, however, is that some students will get to black belt after only 5,000 tapouts while others will take 10,000 or more. The reason some students are able to earn black belts in much less time than all the rest is not because they tapout less often but because they figured out the secret in less time.

The secret to reaching black belt in the least amount of time possible is to learn to love losing. Although most students acknowledge that you do learn more from defeat than from victory, the vast majority never figure out how to actually learn from their defeats. The reason for this is that their priorities are wrong. While sparring their peers, 99% of all students make winning their first priority and by definition, and if winning is their first priority, learning is not. Any student who is more concerned with winning than learning will be so emotionally charged with feelings of frustration when they lose that they miss out on all the lessons that could have been derived from the experience. The students who progress faster than all the rest have realized two very important truths: first, they must accept that learning is more important than winning, and second, they must remain emotionless during each sparring session in order to capture the invaluable lessons that are hidden in every defeat.

AlliancePA - Very cool. Thanks for posting. Rener is always on point when he teaches and when he breaks down the game and the learning process. As good as he is on the mat (which he is very, very good) he is an even better teacher.



Thanks for posting!

Im in Torrance right now and have been here for the last 5 days attending the 10 day Gracie Combatives Instructor Program. Over 35 people from as far as Spain, Guatemala, London...and of course Connecticut. The program, Rener and Ryrons instruction is top notch. Taking GJJ to a new place away from the sport or tournament. If your looking for the latest X Guard, sweeps, and crazy techniques to help you win the Pan Ams you need not bother stopping here. Example: There was some coverage on arm bars and a question came up as to how to break the hand grip once you have position, the arm, and they protect well with their other arm. Rener's answer: "Break his nose and he will let go" now THATS EFFECTIVE!!
Rick T
Hartford Dojo

"Rener's answer: "Break his nose and he will let go" now THATS EFFECTIVE!!"

How can you say that it's effective? Have you tried it? It's like me telling you to just kick a guy in the groin. No need for any martial arts training, practice, or sparring, just kick your assailant in the groin. EFFECTIVE!

Rener and Ryron do seem like very good instructors from what I've seen from their online videos.

Dear pats0:Rener's comment was during a Combatives Training Program so it should be taken in that context. It was NOT DURING A SPORT BJJ training program. Considering that someone already has the proper positioning & good control on your arm for an armbar (you are on your back and they have your arm). You defend with one of the common sport BJJ defensive moves of grabbing your own wrist, or hugging your other arm,grabbing your gi sleeve... Pushing the arm with a foot to break the grip or trying to attack the wrist are sport oriented responses to your defense.However, If both your arms are busy preventing the armbar what is protecting your face from punches, hammer fists??? Yes, I know, that is not allowed in the Pan Ams, GrapplersQuest,NAGA...which is the point Rener was trying to make. Next time you are rolling and are lucky enough to catch someone's arm start bashing their face with your fists and Im sure they will let go of the arm to protect their face. Do you train for the tournament floor or the street??? I dont know about you, but Im sure most would let go of the arm to protect their face. Would you hang on to the arm while your face gets beat in? Combatives is NOT for the tournament mindset, it was not intended for that.My .02 centsRespectfully,Rick T

If you are talking about your general street fight then most people won't effectively defend their arm anyway. It's odd to assume a random street opponent will know how to hold his arm efficiently to stop an armbar, but will let it go once you start hitting his face.

What I meant by my comment is that it's silly for you to assume something works because someone tells you it does, especially in an art that is based on trying things against resisting opponents. If you opponent is resisting and you punch him in the face you are giving up stability in your own position.

Black Belt Learning Strategy #3: Spar Smartly

Here at the Gracie Academy, approximately half of each advanced class in the Master Cycle program is dedicated to learning the technique of the day, and the other half is dedicated to sparring. Over the years we have found that although sparring is a very exciting way to develop reflexes (and a great workout), the full benefit from sparring is rarely achieved by students. This is because most do not know how to "spar smartly"

Most students develop comfort with a specific set of techniques or sparring strategy and then use this strategy every time they spar, regardless of who the opponent may be. What they don't realize is that in order to progress most rapidly, and benefit most from each sparring session, they must adapt their strategy based on who their opponent is. There are three basic strategies that each student should seek to adopt:

1) Attack Strategy: If you are sparring with someone who matches your skill level, you should utilize the Attack Strategy. Focus on avoiding defeat at first, and once you feel comfortable with your ability to defend, seek to defeat your opponent with your most reliable attack strategies. Use this opportunity to put your "bread and butter" techniques to the test and sharpen your reflexes.

2) Test Strategy: If you are sparring with someone who is less skilled, you should utilize the Test Strategy. Select one or two techniques that you are not too comfortable with, and seek to apply them on the less skilled student. Since there is no real threat of being defeated, you can use this sparring opportunity to practice techniques that you are not fully comfortable with, but would like to master. Once you can successfully apply a technique at will against less knowledgeable students, you will have the confidence to test it on a equally skilled training partner.

3) Survival Strategy: If you are sparring with an opponent who is much more skilled than you, or much heavier, you should adopt the Survival Strategy. The most common sparring mistake is to utilize the Attack Strategy against a much more knowledgeable opponent. Any time you are sparring with someone who is supposed to defeat you, your best option is to focus entirely on neutralizing their attacks. The danger in trying to attack someone who is has sharper reflexes and opportunity recognition skills, is that you unknowingly create a multitude of opportunities for them to submit you. If instead, you focus on defending, not only will you make it much more difficult for them to defeat you, but you will be much more perceptive of their techniques and strategies and ultimately learn much more from each sparring session.

Students who utilize the same strategy every time they spar tend to get very good a handful of techniques very quickly, but fail to perfect all the rest. By using the three "smart sparring" strategies listed above, you will progress faster and will be more well rounded once you reach black belt.

On a separate note, you must never forget that although jiu-jitsu sparring is a great way to enhance your skills and develop reflexes in the execution of your techniques, because punches are not thrown, you can easily develop bad habits without knowing it. When sparring, you should get the habit of asking yourself the following question: "In a real fight, would this technique leave me exposed to get punched or kicked?" If your sparring habits are causing you to expose yourself to potential punches, you risk developing habits that can lead to your demise against a larger, more athletic opponent in a real fight.

AMEN! is all I can add to what batmanbjj just posted.

Pat- what you are forgetting is that the Gracie family HAS tested the positions they teach in REAL FIGHTS, not just in the academy but on the street, on the beach, in bars, and on concrete. For about oh 80 years! With and without ANY rules whatsoever. I remember seeing some film of Ryan Gracie biting off a chunk of another BJJ guy's ear in a street fight.

They were doing this stuff before you were born! the techniques are proven. It's arrogant to think you have anywhere close to the generations of experience those guys have to draw from to even question it.

Okay, no one question the Gracies. They are the best in the world and know all the best techniques. Got it.

I thought I was done with this post but UNIFIEDTEAM1 has changed my mind. He too has struck the correct. So I will once again give another AMEN. I recognize Im biased. But Its NOT nuthugging, its the factual TRUTH, do the research, watch the films...stay informed, be objective.Start with "Gracie in Action", "Southern California Pro-Am, Rener vs Gordo (pan ams)...then post here when you are done. Yes, by the way GIA DVD is old footage of real fights filmed long ago perhaps as UNIFIEDTEAM1 mentioned, before you were born. Just RECOGNIZE where it all comes from, thats all. There are plenty of good athletes out there now, but it all comes from that family. One can easily question the "Best in the world" bit, its subjective. Best at what? RECOGNIZE THATS ALL.

lol, you guys are funny

Glad you find us FUNNY. But before I say Bye Bye I will ask again have you seen the videos I mentioned? Did you see the list of participants Rener defated BY SUBMISSION in the Southern California Pro-Am?

Bye Bye

Rick T

PS. Get informed, stay informed.

I've seen the Gracies in Action videos. I am not aware of Rener's grappling record, but I do know where the top grapplers compete I don't see Rener battling it out with them.

Sure you can say their jiu jitsu is not for sport BJJ, but not too much going on in MMA with them either. So what you have left is Rorian's sons saying their stuff is for the street. It's quite convenient to say that their martial art is ment to work in an environment where you don't have to fight against the top professionals of the day.

I know this sounds that I'm knocking the Gracies (the Rorian line), but its more so to point to the fact that they aren't as magical and unquestionable as you seem to think they are. But hey, I'm not the one talking their combatives programs, going on their cruises, etc. So it's kind of expected.

They are still great grapplers and teachers. They just don't seem to want to put their reputation on the line. It's understandable since they have a lot of pressure on them.