What ICP4 Means for an Outsider


I am practically an outsider of Gracie Barra. I currently do not train with any of the Gracie Barra schools, nor do I have a belt. I am basically a writer, so what I do is write. Yes, I am good at writing (or so my friends say). To speak the lingo that everyone in Gracie Barra understands, I guess I’m still a purple belt. I relish in the idea that I am.

I was caught by surprise when Professor Flavio Almeida sent me an email. No, it wasn’t any assignment “to get in touch with a Jiu-Jitsu black belt.” No Sir, it wasn’t. It was more of asking me, and together with the staff to take the Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP4). To my understanding, my job description is basically to write articles for the website, get paid, and get it over and done with. But, I guess being in the circle of Jiu-Jitsu artist and experts, you have to know your stuff. You have to walk the talk, and live the culture of Jiu-Jitsu. At first, I didn’t get it. Why did I have  to take a course that will have little or no effect in my job as a writer?

Through this experience I have come to realize several things: appreciation, growth, passion, and discipline.

Taking the instructors’ certification program is one of the best things that I have ever experienced. I have worked with different organizations that follow the structure of typical, traditional styles of management. It works great to some extent, but other organizations offer a structure that is based on working-hard, and getting paid (pretty much every other company in the United States). To be able to work for an organization that aims to improve the lives of each member is astounding.

The ICP4, the structure of Gracie Barra, and all of the modules add up to what every person in Gracie Barra is going for. What it does is it gives you an insight about where you are now and where you can be. The ICP4 is a treasure trove of knowledge for every instructor and school owner. I envy these instructors to have had the chance to be in a spot to make a difference. They do so by being able to teach and inspire students. The power of an instructor is boundless by the amount of influence they have within a school. This is just one of the things that I have come to realize after taking the ICP4.

Probably, my greatest dilemma is that I had the wrong idea about Jiu-Jitsu before I REALLY met Jiu-Jitsu. From an outsider’s point of view, it never occurred to me that I will grow to appreciate the organization that has produced champions and has changed countless lives through the culture that is Jiu-Jitsu. From the strong lineage of Master Carlos Gracie, to his sons, to our professors, to probably me; the writer. The passion that the ICP4 has instilled in me is awesome. I am more motivated to read and learn Jiu-Jitsu. Even from a distance. Even from a spot where I can still get the most of Master Carlos’ teachings by applying it in my life.

I am filled with envy because where I am at, there is no Gracie Barra school. There are no leadership seminars on Jiu-Jitsu, nor tournaments such as the CompNet. Where I am at, there are no heroes. But what the ICP4 has given me is that I can be a hero by distilling information from it and applying to in my daily affairs. Jiu-Jitsu is for writers as well.

If you are an instructor, and you have yet to sign up for the ICP4 program, then I say you are missing a lot by not doing so. Often appreciation of something great can come from someone who has yet to have seen the beauty of the ocean, but has only felt the sand between their toes.