Gracie Barra – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Martial Arts – Jiu-Jitsu for everyone – Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone
Gracie Barra wear

Enhancing the Gracie Barra Learning Experience By Re-Thinking Your Facility

 Providing an Experience that Promotes the GB Lifestyle

Each day, millions of people wake up, prepare for work day and while en route, Americans will take the time to grab their morning joe from their local coffee shop. For a vast majority, this stopping point is Starbucks and for others this is an experience, or a part of a chosen lifestyle.

Why Starbucks?

Starbucks has locations all over the United States. With a total of 17,003 stores all over the world, 10,787 of those are located in the US. It is said that the CEO will not be able to visit all of the stores in his lifetime alone. In the same year, stock market value is at $35.3 billion.

Starbucks is not all about coffee. The products that they sell are as common as grass. But the secret to its success is about a different experience. They believe that providing an added value to the daily habits of coffee drinking of Americans will make a difference. And it sure did.

Throughout the day you can find people their drinking coffee, chatting, using Starbucks as a meeting place, enjoying the free WiFi, etc.

Starbucks has become a lifestyle for millions coffee drinkers worldwide. They were able to succeed in transforming a typically mundane activity of drinking coffee into a unique, enjoyable experience because of an unique customer experience. They call it the Starbucks Experience.

There are many similarities between Gracie Barra’s Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone Project and the Starbucks coffee movement. For that reason, in our efforts at GB, Starbucks will serves as a reference and a great case study.

But let’s get back to the coffee for a little bit more and dig deeper into the Starbucks experience:

As customers enter in a Starbucks store, they are welcomed by its staff members and baristas with a warm smile. Customers are greeded with the aroma of ground coffee mixed into the clean air.

Each Starbucks Coffee Shop is well equipped with the standards set by the Organization. The design of each place ensures that all customers who enters a Starbucks are guaranteed to have a similar experience regardless if it’s the United States, Asia, or Australia.

The counters displays are well lit with Pastries are always looking fresh. Their signs are easy to read, handwritten, and colorful. Almost always, the signs are updated with the “coffee of the day.” A customer is asked for their first name. They are never called out in numbers. This is an advantage since it the customers the feeling of respect and being welcomed.

The processing time of each coffee is less than 3 minutes. Almost always, the orders given are the right orders. In cases of errors, managers always steps in and makes sure that the error is corrected.

The posters are artsy, but not artsy enough to alienate the non-artists.

They give out free sugar. Almost with a smile. Milk is also for free. Almost always, other stores charges for an extra ounce of milk. Starbucks do not.

The seats and couches are always clean. Free of dirt and smell. Tables are always wiped clean and ready for the next customer. The air conditioning is maintained at a comfortable temperature. Lighting is also sufficient for reading.

The description of the Starbucks Experience keeps going on for a long list. As a customer, it is hard for us to tell everything there is into it, but for sure we can tell a lot of thought has been put into creating a unique friendly and comfortable experience that goes far beyond drinking coffee.

What can Gracie Barra Learn from Starbucks?

Similarly, our schools provide a learning experience that goes far beyond the specific Jiu-Jitsu technique prescribed by our curriculum.

We are not selling armbars, chokes, and leg locks. Nor are we selling the promise of a black belt. We promote a lifestyle. Our team strives to create a great student experience that strengthens their relationship with our staff and teammates. The sense of belonging, familiarity, value and the overall feel is all part of a well thought out process that has been researched and modeled after successful practices of good schools.

It is possible that school owners may not be as clear with the idea, or believes that instruction is the only the key in creating that desired student experience, but taking into account how Starbucks does its Coffee thing, in reality, it is the replication of the entire experiences in a Jiu-Jitsu training facility which contributes to the success of recreating the GB experience in each school, in each country, in every continent.

Let us use the GB HQ as an example. When a prospect walks in, he will see, to his right the Legacy wall which that tells a story of the Gracie Barra heritage. As they continue to walk through the Pro Shop, they will see sign-up forms like the Welcome, Visitor or Intro form.

As they move towards the reception area they will see the GB Instructors Certifications and GB Rank Certifications listed on the walls for all instructors and bios. A seating area located near the office area along with all material to conduct a membership sale. As the prospective student is guided through the school mat area, they will be presented with the belt structure, curriculum, programs, etiquette and the images of Great Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr ,Carlos Gracie Jr, and Prof. Marcio Feitosa, the head Instructor of that location. By doing that, we demonstrate to the prospective student the structure and organization behind all we do at GB.

The mat areas are royal blue and are Dollamur flexi-roll brands. Studies show that blue is the most welcoming color, shows loyalty, strength, wisdom and trust. Our tests reveal that Dollamur mats are by far the safest, the most durable, and easiest to maintain.

Think about it. If you were to enroll your kids at a swimming school: would you be confident in knowing that one of the most well accomplished swimming coaches has developed each of the swimming lessons your child is going to go take? Probably yes, right? That’s exactly what you are doing when you hang the curriculum to the wall.

All of these elements (combined) creates a positive impact to our student. This initial experience sets the tone for our instruction. Our condition of our facilities speaks loud about vision, and ultimately what we can offer. Everything we do has a specific purpose that is intended to create that familiar experience when they walk into another GB school.



Now, what exactly are the items that help create this great look and feel? See below list.

  • Forms
    • Welcome
    • Intro
    • Visitor
    • Transfer
    • Cancellation
    • Incident
  • Sales
    • Welcome packets
    • Sales brochure
    • Official GB uniforms either via pro shop or available to order.
  • Mat area
    • Dollamur flexi-roll mats, royal blue 2”
    • Wall pads
    • Curriculum per program for adults and children
    • Grand Master Carlos Sr. poster at the head of the mats
    • Master Carlos Jr. poster on side wall but not same location as Sr.
    • GB Structure posters
      • Adult belt system
      • Kids belt system
      • Attendance card
      • Programs
    • Wall docs
      • Student Creed
      • GB Training Etiquette
      • GB Uniform Etiquette
      • GB Instructor Code of Conduct
      • GB Mission Statement
      • GB Referral
      • Motivational Posters
  • Reception area
    • Legacy wall
      • Count Koma
      • Grand Master Carlos Sr.
      • Helio Gracie
      • Rolles Gracie
      • Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
    • Adequate seating to receive prospects
    • ICP certificates displayed
    • Instructor bios displayed
    • Items to be placed within Reception
      • Welcome Form
      • Visitor Form
      • Intro Form
      • Pens
      • Phone (if no additional space available)
      • Printer (if no additional space available)
      • Current Class Schedule
      • Post cards/VIP cards
      • Business cards
  • Staff
    • Properly trained staff per position
    • Head Instructor
      • AED/CPR Certified
      • Current Instructor Certification Program certification
    • Program Director
      • Lead/intro script trained
      • Enrollment conference trained
      • Sales objections understanding and handlings
      • Understands GB school policies
    • Assistant instructors
      • Barra Trainee Program completion or equivalent instructor program
      • GB Intro class trained
  • Facilities
    • Clean
    • Operating to GB standards
    • Friendly appeal
    • Available to service students and prospects to standard

The above list are just some of the basic items that would help replicate the same student experience to each person a school would come into contact with.

A successful school is not just a beautiful, attractive, modern, and standardized according to the GB standards. Another important element is the service offered at your school. Your team must be properly trained and qualified to service students, parents and prospective students. Smile, be kind, be calm, pay attention and have a good attitude is a good start.

Students, parents and prospective students should be treated well from the moment they enter the school up the time that they leave the facility. At times we will also need to extend this courtesy when corresponding to them offline. They should feel important, comfortable and happy in school. They should leave school excited to come back tomorrow. People like to be treated well, feel loved and welcomed.

Do you want to know more?  When a student enrolls, there is a chance that that student will spread the word about us. Spread the word about their EXPERIENCE. The best advertising is word of mouth. Think about it.

Additionally, retention can also be attributed to each of these elements. If you and your team learn the discipline of maintaining the facilities and really uphold  the GB experience, eventually you will be able to retain more students. This point has been proven time and time again by some of our most successful schools.

“Our facilities must promote the values we stand for as a team.”
Flavio Almeida – Executive Director, GB Association

In the end, we are not selling memberships but creating long lasting relationships that will help see the student make his way to the coveted rank of black belt which can take up to 6-8 years of training.
Providing the right look and feel to each student will ensure that they continue to experience the GB philosophies, principles and life experience throughout their journey.

Gracie Barra Association is committed to assisting schools with enhanced look, feel and overall students experience. We have recently upgraded our store and added more items that will help you accomplish all that. Click here to download the self evaluation questionnaire.

Ready to give your school a new look? Attend the webinar and receive a special promotional code.

We are very happy to offer solutions to help your school grow and you fulfill your mission of teaching Jiu-Jitsu For Everyone.

Find out more by joining us on 31 Jan @11AM with Prof. Flavio Almeida hosting a very special webinar discussing this topic and his successful solutions he implemented at his schools. To register for it click on this link.

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