The Gracie Barra Curriculum: The Best Way to Learn Bjj

Recently, I have had several students tell me that they enjoyed learning bjj in a program that followed a curriculum. I asked them why they felt it was better for them?

“Because in the previous schools I had taken bjj classes, the instructor seemed to teach what ever he felt like on any given day. There didn’t seem to be any method or structure to the classes.”

“The instructor taught techniques that fit his game / body but were not applicable to me.”

“The instructor focuses only on fancy guard sweeps for competition and we don’t do any real self defense.”


read also: The Positional Hierarchy – Your First Year of Training

The Gracie Barra curriculum provides a means of progression and a course to chart your training.In the absence of a curriculum, the instructor might tend to teach classes without any larger vision of the students progress in bjj.

The class topics might then be:
a) A cool move that the instructor saw on Youtube that morning
b) A current part of the instructor’s own game that he is working on
c) A submission seen in last Saturday’s UFC
d) The current trendy techniques seen in sports bjj competition

This haphazard approach is in contrast to the systematic skill development within a structured sports training program. For instance, do you think the Olympic athletes show up at the national training centre for their sport and ask “I wonder what we should work on today?” No, Of course not!

These athletes follow a regimented and often periodized approach to their skill development every single day in the training facility.

The Gracie Barra curriculum ensures that students will be led through a proven progression of positions and techniques in order that they may learn jiu-jitsu in the fastest way possible. It allows instructors to cover all areas of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, leaving no gaps in the BJJ knowledge of the students.


A complete jiu-jitsu that pays attention to the areas of:
1) Self defence (the reason why most people start learning a martial art)
2) Takedowns (90% of street fights hit the ground but 100% start standing!)
3) Ground – the strength of brazilian jiu-jitsu

Professor Marcio Feitosa explains:

“As professors, we can not just stay in our comfort zone. Just teach to our students the techniques that we perform well, or that we like better, the techniques that favour our body type. We actually have a training system in place; a curriculum that will push us outside of our comfort zone. And the end result is that we will teach a well rounded jiu-jitsu to our students. Meaning that every student inside the Gracie Barra schools well have a good understanding of self defence, takedowns and ground: which is the jiu-jitsu that Master Carlos Gracie Jr. always taught inside Gracie Barra.”


A student who trains within a curriculum can be confident that there is a built in progression for their improvement. They will not neglect important areas of jiu-jitsu that escape their attention. Far from being restrictive as instructors can teach variations and favorite techniques in that week’s position.

The curriculum is a valuable tool to guide your training efforts in a focused, directed manner and avoid inefficient, random instruction.

read also: 3 Tips For Your First Year of Training

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Taiwan
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ