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Instructor Certification Program (ICP)

Along with the development of a formalized curriculum, a standardized teaching methodology, and an interactive online learning center, came the opportunity for dedicated students and martial artists from around the world to join the Gracie Academy in its quest to make the complete Gracie Jiu-Jitsu curriculum available to students around the globe in accordance to the exacting standards of Grand Master Helio Gracie.

In the past, an individual could not participate in the ICP unless he/she was already an instructor at an established school of martial arts. Since the launch of GracieUniveristy.com, however, we realized that there are thousands of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu students around the world who have the character, desire, and dedication to become amazing instructors even though they have never taught a martial arts class in their life. As a result, we have decided to open the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program to all dedicated practitioners of the art who meet the four basic qualification requirements, so that those who have the passion can help us spread the word.

Due to the segmented nature of the curriculum, a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Certified Training Center ® can be recognized at one of four certification levels. Each level requires successful completion of a highly comprehensive instructor certification course which consists of live training at the Gracie Academy headquarters in Torrance, California, as well as extensive online learning at www.GRACIEUNIVERSITY.com.


There are four levels of certification at which a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center ® can be recognized by the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Level 1 constitutes a school that is authorized to teach the Gracie Combatives® course while Levels 2-4 constitute a school that is authorized to teach the various segments of the Master Cycle® program. The four levels also correspond with the traditional belt system: blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, black belt.

Level 1: Gracie Combatives® (White to Blue Belt)

By focusing entirely on the 36 Gracie Combatives techniques, a Level 1 Certified Training Center is capable of taking any new student from no knowledge to “street ready” in the least amount of time possible. Once the 36 techniques have been perfected individually, the student will qualify to participate in the weekly Reflex Development Classes where they will learn how to execute all the techniques in combination. After a student masters the techniques individually and in every possible combination, they will be tested for promotion to blue belt. The potency of the 36 techniques and the unparalleled structure of the Gracie Combatives course make it the best program for any new student of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Level 2-4: Master Cycle ® (Purple, Brown, and Black Belts)

From blue belt and beyond, the Gracie Academy has divided all remaining techniques into seven Positional Chapters collectively known as the Master Cycle® (Mount, Side Mount, Guard, Half Guard, Back Mount, Leg Locks and Standing). Master Cycle® students study each chapter for 6-12 weeks before moving on to the next chapter. It takes approximately 12 months to cycle through all seven Chapters. A Level 2 Certified Training Center is authorized and capable of teaching you the techniques required for promotion to purple belt, whereas Level 3 and 4 Certified Training Centers are capable of teaching you the techniques required for promotion to brown and black belt, respectively.


Each time a school moves from one certification level to the next, the school will remain on probation until the instructor has proven that he/she can effectively transfer all the knowledge they acquired to their students. Only after the Gracie Academy verifies that the instructor can effectively teach all the newly learned techniques, will the school’s elevated certification status be deemed official.


Many Gracie Academy Certified Training Centers also offer the specialized programs, Gracie Bullyproof® and Women Empowered®, but, due to the sensitive nature of these programs, instructors must undergo extensive training and complete additional certification courses in order to do so. To see if a school offers Gracie Bullyproof or Women Empowered, please click on the ‘Programs and Pricing’ tab for that school in the Find a School Section.


In order to uphold the integrity of the belt system and to ensure the quality of instruction remains high at all Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Centers ®, all students will be evaluated for promotion by the head instructors of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. The student advances through the curriculum at their own pace, and when the Certified Training Center Instructor believes the student is ready to test for a particular belt promotion he/she will digitally record the student’s test performance. The video will be uploaded to GRACIEUNIVERSITY.com where it will be evaluated by a head instructor of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and if the student’s performance meets the Gracie Academy standards, the promotion will be authorized. Upon approval, the name of the qualified individual will be added to the list of Gracie Academy Certified Belt Holders, and an official Gracie Jiu-Jitsu belt along with a certificate of authenticity will be mailed to the training center to be awarded to the student.


The primary objective of the Global Training Program is to make Gracie Jiu-Jitsu available around the world in its purest form. Although we make every effort to select individuals with great character traits, we realize that not all instructors are equally committed to upholding the integrity of the art. For this reason, we rely heavily on the students to report any potential incidences of instructor malpractice so that we may take immediate corrective measures. At the same time, we highly encourage all students to send us their positive feedback regarding their experiences at any Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Certified Training Center ® they attend.

Please send your feedback to feedback@gracieacademy.com


As the popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continues to grow, and more unaccredited BJJ schools open around the world at an unprecedented rate, more and more schools are claiming to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu without authorization. For this reason, ALL Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Certified Training Centers ® are listed on our website AND they are all required to display the Certified Training Center Gracie Triangle registered trademark on their storefronts. Any other school claiming to be affiliated to the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy or to teach any of our proprietary programs (Including Gracie Combatives ®, Master Cycle ®, Gracie Bullyproof ®, and/or Women Empowered®) is not recognized by the Gracie Academy and therefore should not be trusted as a source of pure Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instruction. Any school that displays the Gracie Triangle or any other trademarks without authorization from the Gracie Academy is infringing on proprietary intellectual property and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

For a complete list of all of our Certified Training Centers please click the following link: http://www.gracieacademy.com/training_centers.asp

If you are interested in learning more about the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program, including the Instructor Requirements, School Requirements, and The 4 Phases of Certification, please click HERE.