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The Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) Military/Law Enforcement Instructor Certification Course is a 5-day “Train-the-Trainer” course during which all participants learn the techniques and teaching methodologies necessary to return home and effectively transfer the Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) to the other members of their organizations. Although no experience is necessary to participate in the 30-hour course, participants should know that participation does not guarantee certification. By the end of the training week, only the participants who meet the Gracie Academy standard for technical execution and instruction will qualify for certification.

Bonus Gracie Video: San Diego PD Goes Gracie

"Reduced liability for me and my agency."
-Mark Ammerman, Police Officer in Virginia

Without a doubt, the best training I’ve ever had in any subject."
-Danny Savery, Police Officer in Rhode Island

"Amazing course…especially for women."
-Danielle Desanctus, Police Officer in Virginia


Altogether, the GST course is 5 days long, with 6 hours of training per day, totaling 30 hours of instruction. Absolutely no experience is necessary to participate in the course, and the techniques are designed to work for anyone regardless of age, gender, or fitness level (participants are not expected to be in extreme physical shape but a reasonable and minimum level of fitness is recommended). The first three days of the GST course are dedicated to technical instruction. Course participants will be introduced to all GST techniques in a calm and cooperative setting, and then they will strengthen their confidence through a series of Reflex Development Drills. The fourth day of the course is dedicated entirely to instructor training. Course participants will learn the Gracie Teaching Methodologies that have been perfected over nearly a century. For most participants, this is the highlight of the week. The last day of the course is when the final evaluation takes place. Course participants are tested in their comprehension and execution of the techniques as well as their ability to teach the techniques using the Gracie teaching formula.


Each course participant will receive a GST Program of Instruction (POI) which outlines all the techniques and teaching methods covered during the week. Not only will the POI help the course participants keep track of everything they learn throughout the week, but it will serve as an invaluable reference manual when the instructor returns home and is required to teach the GST techniques to their colleagues.

The GST Level 1 Instructor Certification Program consists of five modules:

1. Surprise Attack Counters: The surprise attack by a suspect who has feigned compliance is one of the most common and most dangerous situations. While most officers learn to recognize and prevent imminent attacks by employing a belt full of weapons, use of these weapons becomes very difficult and risky at close-range. The GST course specializes in defeating the worst-case, close-range attacks.

2. Survival & Escape Strategies: One of the worst-case scenarios for a Law Enforcement Officer is to be taken to the ground by an aggressive subject. The GST course trains participants to use reliable leverage-based techniques to neutralize the initial barrage of strikes and escape from underneath the subject to regain a position of advantage. Additionally, since the techniques do not rely on strength, speed, or athleticism, they can be employed by smaller officers against larger, stronger subjects.

3. Weapon Retention Techniques: A number of Law Enforcement Officers who are killed in the line of duty are shot with their own weapon. The GST course teaches a series of simple yet highly-effective weapon retention principles that will defeat an attacker’s attempt to disarm the officer from any position in the fight, standing or on the ground.

4. Arrest & Control Procedures: In a physical altercation with an actively aggressive subject, the fight isn’t over until the threat has been neutralized and the subject is in handcuffs. The GST course features several highly effective handcuffing procedures that can be applied from any position in the fight and are effective in both solo and multi-officer arrest scenarios.

5. Gracie Teaching Methodologies: The GST course introduces participants to the time-tested Gracie teaching methodologies – perfected over 85 years of training a wide variety of Military, Law Enforcement, and civilian students. Upon learning these skills, the Gracie Academy certifies course participants to return to their organizations to share the invaluable survival skills with their colleagues.

Bonus Gracie Video: Jacksonville SWAT Adopts GST


Upon successful completion of the Level 1 GST Instructor Certification Course, we will issue you an Instructor Certificate and free unlimited subscription to the GST online video course (valued at $395.00) valid for 18 months. During this 18-month certification period, if any excessive force allegations arise involving the use of the GST techniques, members of the Gracie family will be available to testify as “subject matter experts” on behalf of your organization. After the 18-month certification period expires, you must attend a 5-day recertification course in order to renew your Instructor Certificate and your GST online video course subscription.

After the 18-month certification period expires, you must attend the 5-day recertification course to renew your instructor certificate and your GST online video subscription. As with all training, the combatives/defensive tactics techniques taught in the GST program are perishable so you should recertify every 18 months. If you do not recertify, you may still practice/teach the techniques at your organization, but the Gracie family will not testify on your behalf in excessive force cases. The other significant benefit of recertification is the opportunity to learn new/modified techniques based on the feedback from users. In the past, some Law Enforcement Officers and Military personnel chose not to take the GST course because they couldn’t budget time and/or money to recertify every 18 months. You will still benefit immensely from taking the GST course once even if you never recertify.


Although the Level 1 GST course addresses the most common threat scenarios facing Military and Law Enforcement professionals, there are several critical threat scenarios that simply don’t fit into the five days allocated for Level 1 training. Currently, the 5-day Level 2 GST Instructor Certification Course takes place once each year (Usually February) at the Gracie Academy Headquarters in Torrance, California. To qualify to attend the Level 2 GST course, participants must have completed the Level 1 course within the two years prior to their Level 2 course participation date. Not only does Level 2 course completion certify participants as Level 2 GST instructors, but it also serves as Level 1 recertification for participants.

In addition to reviewing all the Level 1 GST techniques and teaching methodologies, here are some of the concepts that will be addressed in the Level 2 GST course:

  • CQB Strategies for Domestic Disturbance Calls
  • Two-Man Takedown / Handcuffing Procedure
  • Edged Weapon Defense (Standing & Ground)
  • Advanced Weapon Retention (Standing & Ground)
  • Rear Attack Defenses (Standing)
  • Advanced Gracie Teaching Methodologies
  • And more…


For more information on GST, including program options (hands-on versus online), upcoming course dates, pricing, and the benefits of hosting a course at your organization, simply click on the additional links found on the upper left-hand side of this webpage.


For National Security reasons, additional information requires our personal attention. Please contact the GST Director by sending an email to: or calling (817) 692-8303.