Jiu-jitsu For Everyone – Making the School Welcoming For All Students

The Gracie Barra Instructor Certification Program (ICP5) talks about the Gracie Barra philosophy of “Jiu-jitsu for Everyone” and how specifically it applies to the culture of the GB School. In many GB School, there is a strong emphasis on competition and an atmosphere where intense rolling and heavy physical conditioning is how the classes are run.

This “hardcore” approach certainly produces strong competitors. But it also requires a tremendous amount of dedication and motivation and may not be the most sustainable approach for the professional in another career who wants to obtain other benefits from practising the art of jiu-jitsu.

The danger of the hardcore approach is that it excludes potential students who would otherwise benefit from training jiu-jitsu a few times a week. “Jiu-Jitsu is a vehicle for which we can experience the virtue of personal growth.” says GB Professor Flavio Almeida


“The goal is,” Almeida says, “from the founder of this sport, to change people’s lives for the better through Jiu-Jitsu. How many dads are fixing relationships with their sons by doing Jiu-Jitsu on the mats? Not by winning a tournament. We are following those values. We are all students of Master Carlos. As instructor or competitor, we want to leave those values on the mats.

Having a jiu-jitsu program that includes students other than only young, hardcore competitors builds a stronger school membership. Some hardcore jiu-jitsu gyms are unable to build their membership beyond a small nucleus of serious students due to this limited approach. This limits the growth and number of people who can benefit from bjj.

Gracie Barra has managed to balance a strong competition team (look at the team results from any large tournament) with programs that allow families to train on the same mat as the medal winners.


“Jiu-jitsu For Everyone” reminds us that there are many reasons to train jiu-jitsu beyond the narrow focus of tournament medals.

  • Health and improved fitness
  • Self defense
  • Self esteem and confidence
  • Character development
  • Friendships
  • Personal development and so on.

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Master Carlos Gracie has a vision for the global spread of brazilian jiu-jitsu that includes all types of people (young competitors, older professionals, women and children) who wish to improve themselves through training jiu-jitsu.

“If we pay attention to and allow jiu-jitsu to make a difference in our daily lives by applying what we learn on the mat to daily life, we open ourselves up to an exciting path of personal growth that helps us make large steps to improve in what really matters to us. Prof. Flavio Almeida

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Credits: Mark Mullen 
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ