Enter your E-mail address to join the Gracie Insider family! Get the Gracie Breakdowns, Gracie Diet Videos, seminar announcements, and contest notifications sent directly to your inbox - for free!

Please fill out the information below
Email Address*


Here is a short list of testimonials from Military and Law Enforcement professionals who have graduated from the Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) Military/Law Enforcement Instructor Certification Course (Note: Over the years the name of the GST course has changed from G.R.A.P.L.E. to Gracie Combatives to GST).

Video Testimonial 1: The Best Techniques and Teaching Methodologies in the Industry

Video Testimonial 2: The U.S. Air Force Goes Gracie

More Videos: To access all the GST video demonstrations and testimonials, click here .

If you have completed the GST course, and would like to submit a testimonial of your own, please send it to:

"GARD"ING Our Skies

"I have no doubt that this course [G.A.R.D. (Gracie Air Rage Defense)], like his [Rorion Gracie] other specialized courses, will set the standard for training of its kind. I cannot imagine a more qualified individual to tackle this increasingly frightening reality faced by airlines personnel on a daily basis."
- Adam K., Chief Instructor, Close Quarters Countermeasures (Retired)
HQs, Federal Air Marshal Division
August 18th, 2001

Preparing the US Army for Urban Combat Operations

"I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for the very professional and effective training that you and your son [Ralek] brought to us at Ft. Riley recently. Your training left me with a calm confidence that I that I can effectively deal with and subdue a very powerful attacker. You guys are a Class Act. Please email a copy of our group photo.
Take care my friend"

- Donnie F.
US Army Chief Warrant Officer
1st Armored Division, Ft. Riley Kansas

Paradigm Shifting

"The modern history of martial arts is written before and after the UFC-and before and after Rorion Gracie"

Best Thing Around

"G.R.A.P.L.E. is the best thing I've seen for law enforcement. As a former police officer, black belt in judo and tae kwon do and teacher of tactical communications, I want to tell all of you "street dogs" that G.R.A.P.L.E. is the most practical and easiest self-defense system to use. If police safety is a concern, the Gracie Brothers should be contacted at once for this type of training."
- Dr. George J. Thompson,
President, Verbal Judo Institute

The World's Best

"Learn these techniques, mate, and you'll arrest without injury and avoid lawsuits, too! The G.R.A.P.L.E. system is the most effective system for police in the world today!"
- Robert Kane,
Senior Constable Special Operations, Melbourne, Australia,
Police Department

Foreign Internal Defense

"Compared to other forms of instruction we have received in the past, this [G.R.A.P.L.E.® Instructors Certification] methodology makes instruction to all levels of ability virtually effortless. This method also allows for the instructor to teach without words. This is crucial for Foreign Internal Defense (instruction to host nation personnel) making the language barrier virtually disappear. "
- Alan J.
First Sergeant, Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Resistance Dictates Level

"G.R.A.P.L.E. is a highly effective method of police self-defense. One of the main benefits, in my opinion, is that it allows the officer to escalate his or her response to meet the level of resistance offered by the suspect. It is easy to learn and can be enough to supplement an existing method already in place."
- Fred B., Special Agent
Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Honolulu, Hawaii

Easy to Learn and Apply

"I have been a martial arts instructor for over 15 years. Because of my expertise in self-defense, I was appointed to a staff instructor position at the Ventura County Police and Sheriffs Training Academy six years ago. I have found the G.R.A.P.L.E. system of self-defense to be both realistic and practical and it is ironic that the most effective form of self-defense is also the most humane way to control a combative suspect without hurting him or yourself. G.R.A.P.L.E. is easy to learn and apply with minimal training compared to other systems."
- Lt. Craig H.,
Head of Training Center, Ventura County
Police and Sheriffs Training Academy

The Real Thing

"Our (goal) was simple: find a form of combative fighting that could complement weekly Ranger Combative training in the 2nd Ranger Battalion; a style that could be systematically taught to a 600-man Ranger Battalion; a style that would prepare them for actual hand-to-hand combat. The bottom line: find a style that clearly enhanced the individual Ranger's ability to quickly destroy his opponent one-on-one in combat, while maximizing his own chances of survival. It was only an hour into training at the Gracie Academy when we realized that we had found our source. This was the real thing."
- Cpt. K.D. M.
2nd Ranger Battalion, US Army Rangers

Increased Her Confidence

"I did not grow up as a girl playing contact sports, so the physical side of police work is always a challenge for me. The skills I received from the G.R.A.P.L.E. system of self-defense were easy to learn and applicable in the field. It increased my confidence as a female police officer, because the techniques do not depend on strength or size."
- Officer Valerie H.,
Torrance, Calif., Police Department

Difference Between Life and Death

"I have had the need to use the skills I learned from G.R.A.P.L.E. several times to affect arrests and to protect both myself and the public. Because of my size (5-feet-9, 160 pounds), and the fact that I work by myself, I find more suspects willing to resist arrest or assault me. I am currently assigned to undercover narcotics and I have used the hand-to-hand techniques where I had no back-up and the availability of a baton was obviously impossible. G.R.A.P.L.E. is the most realistic form of streetfighting, and can be the difference between life and death for any police officer."
- Officer Kevin K.,
Torrance, California, Police Department

Airline Pilots Securing Our Skies

"Given the Gracie reputation, I have to admit that I went to The Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy with what I thought were unrealistically high expectations. It turns out my expectations were too low! I am a believer in their system for one reason: it works. This is the BEST self-defense course available ANYWHERE, at ANY price and it is tailor made for the environment that flight crews will face. The Instructors are not only knowledgeable but also very approachable, creating a relaxed atmosphere that made G.A.R.D. training fun. My only word of caution is this: BEWARE, this stuff is addicting!"
- Marcus Maryk
United A320 First Officer
Former US Navy Flight Instructor

The Secret is Out

"In our opinion, G.R.A.P.L.E. is the most effective self-defense in the world today."
- Al Z., U.S. Secret Service
- Terry C., U.S. Secret Service
- Greg G., U.S. Secret Service

Wishing They Had Training From The Gracie Academy

"I am a X Police Officer and what I think this department needs is a wake up call.
We are trained at the police academy with minimal skills necessary to confront an opponent. Most of us recruits who come out of there feel like a piece of meat waiting for the animals to eat you alive once we get out. I think this is because of the lack of emphasis on self-defense put on this department for their Cops. I think Cops should be trained more so than the average Joe because when push comes to shove the cop MUST win that fight or be subject to serious injury or death. I would like to possibly introduce the fine art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to this department and let them see the great that it can do for the cops here. We wish there was a Gracie Academy here to train us to be winners too. Thank you for your time."

— Anonymus
From A Major City Police Department in the US

Perfect For Team Guys

"At that time [1987] Rorion and his family were virtually unknown in America, so I felt honored to be one of his first students. The first time we worked out he got me on the mat and wouldn’t let me up. I had never been beaten like that before. I feel that the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu system is a superior fighting system. Their locking, chocking, and grappling techniques are well suited for close-quarter combat and that’s perfect for Team guys".
— Steve B.
Former Master Chief


"So much of the credit for what has been accomplished and where we are headed today must be duly given to the Gracie's. It was the Gracie family [Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy] that brought the most effective and efficient fighting system the world had ever seen not only to the ring, but also to our military. Rangers like McChrystal, McCown, and Larsen, were the links between the Gracie's and the military. In those early days of searching for a method of combatives that could be taught to the military, many styles were examined. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu came out on top. Again, I'm not saying who they [US Army] looked at didn't have good stuff to offer; they just didn't have every thing the Gracie's offered in a single, simply taught, effective and efficient package."
— Alex M.
Former US Army Ranger & Security Specialist

Department of the Army

Headquarters and Headquarters Company
XXXX Special Forces Group (Airborne)
XXXXXX, Kentucky
AOSO-SFA-HC 15 Dec 03
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD SUBJECT: Assessment And Recommendation Of Training of Gracie G.R.A.P.L.E. Course

  1. From 1-5 Dec 03 Combative Training was conducted with the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and Army Personnel. All training received by Rorion Gracie, Rener Gracie and their Staff was professionally taught and meticulously executed. Furthermore, the teaching style and methodology that is used by Rorion and Rener are passed on to the students. Compared to other forms of instruction we have received in the past, this methodology makes instruction to all levels of ability virtually effortless. This method also allows for the instructor to teach without words. This is crucial for Foreign Internal Defense (instruction to host nation personnel) making the language barrier virtually disappear.Of the 27 Personnel trained all 27 received their instructor certification in Military G.R.A.P.L.E. and improved their overall fighting ability.The students have all given positive feedback on the training and the command has received requests for follow up training. Some students noticed a marked increase in kicking ability, due to their increased confidence with ground fighting. The stand up fighters were not afraid to fully commit themselves to a head kick, thus, increasing the likelihood to make full contact with the first kick.This course is ideal for starting up a combative program within the unit and having trainers organic to the unit to continue and sustain the program throughout the year.
  2. Point of contact is the undersigned at XXXXXXXX.

First Sergeant


January 15, 2002

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter supports Mr. Rorion Gracie’s offer to provide your airline with a course of instruction in unarmed defense techniques. I am a US Army Officer commanding a forward-deployed infantry brigade with the 2 nd Infantry Division in South Korea. I have served for over 22 years as an infantryman with two tours of duty with Army Rangers and am familiar with military self-defense systems. I’ve practiced karate/tae kwon do since the age of 12, currently have a 5 th degree black belt, and have been a professional instructor. I have some experience with a variety of other martial arts that I’ve sampled over the last 26 years including judo, jiu-jitsu, boxing, and jeet kune do. I’ve found the Gracie system of self-defense taught by Rorion Gracie to be the most effective, most easily learned, and more readily applicable system available of the hundreds advertised throughout the world. As a karate/tae kwon do student taught to strike and block, I was skeptical when first exposed to the grappling-based system taught by Mr. Gracie. I became a believer after watching his younger brother, Royce, win decisively and repeatedly in no-holds barred competitions against much larger opponents. I hired him to teach my soldiers the basics of self-defense. The simple, direct effectiveness of the Gracie family self-defense techniques was simply amazing. The smallest members of my unit were able to neutralize the largest soldiers with only four days of training. Strength and physical conditioning were negligible factors. Moreover, we experienced no significant injuries despite spending 6-7 hours each day on the mats practicing the techniques. I’ve found no other self-defense system that produced such dramatic results in such a short period of time. The Army Special Operations (Delta Force, Rangers, and Special Forces) were among the first to discover the Gracie system and it is rapidly spreading across the Army as the self-defense system of choice. The Gracie system is unquestionable effective, but what really sets it apart from all others is Rorion’s method of instruction. Every one of the participants was able to make the techniques work. This commitment to student learning is captured in Rorion’s belief that there are no bad students, just bad teachers. His personal interest in the student’s ability to execute successfully every technique combined with the simple effectiveness of the system guarantees that the instruction will be worthwhile. Because the system is so straightforward and the quality of instruction is so high, my soldiers have retained their knowledge and expertise for months with minimal refresher training. And, they mastered the techniques so well that they were able to train others. Now, I attempt to bring Mr. Gracie to our unit every 4-6 months to train a new group of “instructors.” The bottom line is that you’ll find no finer self-defense system. We learned the GRAPLE system designed for military and police applications. But, based on our experience with these simple techniques and Mr. Gracie’s talent as a teacher, I’m confident that the GARD program will set the standard for the industry. If you have questions, please call me at XXXXXX (Korea).

William XXXXX
Colonel, US Army

US Department of Transportation

August 18, 2001


Several Years ago, after the Rodney King incident, members of the law enforcement community approached Rorion Gracie and asked him to develop a program that would give police officers the ability to control violent suspects, insure the safety of the officer and be course defensible. The result was G.R.A.P.L.E. (Gracie Resisting Attack procedures for Law Enforcement), which has been very well received and is now taught to members of the FBI, Secret Service, Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and many other federal, state and local law enforcement professionals.In 1996, to address the need for more realistic self-defense training for women, Rorion once again developed a cutting edge program, RAPESAFE, a system which provides any woman, regardless of age, size or physical ability, with the tools required to escape a sexual assault. He is now working with school districts, PTA’s and universities nationwide to have the RAPESAFE program available to female student(s) across the country.Rorion advised me that he now has developed G.A.R.D. (Gracie Air Rage Defense), a program designed to train airline personnel to control unruly passengers. I have no doubt that this course, like his other specialized course, will set the standard for training of its kind. I cannot imagine a more qualified individual to tackle this increasingly frightening reality faced by airlines personnel on a daily basis.

Chief Instructor
Close Quarters Countermeasures
HQs, Federal Air Marshal Division

incident involving Gracie techniques


Yesterday I went to San Francisco for a day of shopping. As my family and I exited a parking garage, a man was standing in the sidewalk screaming violently. We all put our heads down and tried to ignore him. He walked past us and punched a man in the face who was standing behind us. The punch knocked the man senseless. I followed the assailant as I called 911. After about 10 blocks of tracking, he finally stopped and began threatening to kill those around him. A police officer finally arrived on the scene and attempted to subdue the crazed man. She sprayed the man with OC spray: all that did was upset him. When the officer attempted to gain control and handcuff the man, the fight was on. He pushed her away. She re-engaged but was having no success. I began to assist her and found why this was not going well. This guy was solid muscle and a lunatic ! The cuffs were not going on while he was upright, so I decided to take it to the ground.I attended the GRAPLE course last September. Since then, myself and some fellow officers purchased a mat, your CD and many magazines and have practiced your techniques. As I took this guy to the ground, I guided him into my guard without even thinking. While he was in my guard, he made a big mistake: he put his arm on my chest to try and break free. As a result of your training, I took the arm and placed the man in a triangle choke. He attempted to break free but was unsuccessful. I was able to control this guy while the officer retrieved his hidden had (he was lying on it). A little pressure with my thighs coupled with a suggestion that he get his hand out led to a nonviolent conclusion to what could have been a very violent event. He gave up the hand and was cuffed by some newly arrived officers.I just wanted to take a minute to thank you and pass on an incident of your techniques in action on the street. Two things amazed me after the fact: how relaxed I was and that I didn’t think while on the ground.Thanks for providing your knowledge to officers for use on the street – even on a day of shopping!

Deportation Officer
Sacramento, CA

incident involving Gracie techniques

Dear Rorion:

I just had an incident occur while on duty where I had to apply my G.R.A.P.L.E. training in reality. It started with a domestic disturbance at a neighborhood residence and we had to arrest a female for disorderly conduct. When she started resisting, her 35 year older brother ran across the room and attacked my partner.The struggle immediately went to the ground and the bad guy was bigger and stronger than the two officers trying to hold him down. He pushed up to his hands and knees to get up. I mounted his back and put my hooks in, but he continued to stand up. I wrapped his neck and, just like in practice, took my hooks out and based, standing behind him. I pulled him backwards, squatted down and braced my knee against his back and applied the carotid restraint.As he went limp, I pushed him down to his stomach and put the handcuffs on him. I had his arm braced with my knee while putting on the handcuffs just like in training. In a split second, a situation that seemed routine went haywire, then thanks to the G.R.A.P.L.E. techniques, control was regained with no injuries to anyone. The bad guy did not know what happened because it was so fast. Afterwards I just thought it was exactly like training.Our G.R.A.P.L.E. practice mirrored reality and it seemed so natural. I guess that is what makes G.R.A.P.L.E. so different from other defensive tactics. After 70 years of reality based training the Gracie Academy teaching methods make practice mirror reality. But, I guess you already know that.I just finished my second G.R.A.P.L.E. recertification and I feel very comfortable and confident with the techniques. I believe G.R.A.P.L.E. is the answer to police use of force problems. I just wanted to say thank you again.Your friend,


Personal safety of Arson/Fire Dept. personnel

In my 15 months of working for Auberry Fire I have had the privilege of working with some of the finest people under the most demanding conditions. Historically our dangers came from raging fires and rescues under extreme conditions. As time progressed we were faced with the new threat of toxic hazardous materials spills. The department took initive to counteract this ever present danger by appointing me as the hazardous materials instructor and team leader. We are now faced with another danger that for over 150 years has not been in our job description. Today Firefighters are being shot, stabbed, sabotaged, attacked, and assaulted at an alarming rate. Due mostly to heavy drug production, us at Auberry Fire are no longer safe on any call. We have been shot at, threatened, had our station vandalized, and are now in constant fear for our own personal safety. A fear that at one time came only from fire. While many of us at the command level have applied for firearm permits. I have found another means of defense. To say the least it is phenomenal. This “new weapon” is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. My first exposure to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu came by watching Royce Gracie dominate the UFC. Since then it became a long personal dream of mine to train at the Gracie Academy. In August 1998 that dream became reality. My first class amazed me so much that I made a commitment to myself to Drive 8 hours to train at every available chance I got. Recently I had the honor of training with Rorion Gracie in a private G.R.A.P.L.E. SESSION. This was designed primarily for law enforcement but can be easily adapted for fire department use. The effectiveness and simplicity was so unreal that I often asked Rorion to repeat the technique because I was in total shock, it seemed too easy and effective to work in a real confrontation. As the class proceeded I most definitely knew that this was for real and that my seven years of martial arts training was only a slice of the pie and nor the whole baking factory that I had once perceived. I feel that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu should be part of our training just as much as firefighting, rescues, or hazardous materials operations. I recommend that for the safety of the public and for us as Firefighters, the department send our company officers to the week long G.R.A.P.L.E. that is to be held in Torrance CA, in February. In addition, I recommend ordering the GJJ video tapes for the rest of the department as an added means of safety. I with the assistance of my friends at the Gracie Academy will be happy to answer any questions that anyone might have concerning this training. I have enclosed some additional information give to me by Rorion Gracie for your review. Thank you for your time.

Brandon XXX


Dear Rorion:

I hope this letter finds you and your family in the best of health. I am doing well, as are John and Ricardo.I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed the G.R.A.P.L.E. FUNDAMENTALS course and felt both honored and privileged to be able to train with you. Having trained previously with your father, Helio and your sons, Ryron and Rener, at past seminars and the Torrance studio, I was looking forward to this opportunity to study the G.R.A.P.L.E. program.As both a traditional martial artist with 30 plus years of training in Okinawan Karate, and having had the opportunity to train in Japan with the Grandmaster of our system as well as other nationally known instructors and 20 plus years as a police officer, certified as a defensive tactics instructor through the Conn. Police Academy. I feel qualified to access defensive tactics courses that I have attended. In my humble opinion, your G.R.A.PL.E. course is by far the very best system for defensive tactics that I have ever taken. Being a small-framed male in fifties, I recognize the importance of using technique and leverage rather than strength and power in tactical situations. Your course provides realistic tactics against real life street situations that officers encounter everyday. Your methodology and the practical application of techniques make it simple to learn, even for and “old dog trying to learn new tricks.”As well, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of the G.R.A.P.L.E. techniques as I had the opportunity to use the “frame” technique to hold down as much larger and stronger suspect in a recent altercation. While I am not extremely proficient in the course dynamics yet, I was able to apply the technique successfully, lessening both the severity of any force and insuring my safety, while keeping the suspect in custody until back-up arrived.I was also extremely impressed with the Gracie museum and the history and evolution of the Gracie style of Jiu-Jitsu and the influence of Grandmaster Helio Gracie on the system. After having heard of some of the exploits of the Grandmaster, one has to be impressed with his courage, commitment, integrity and character. Your scale model of the Gracie homestead was also very impressive. When one can see the evolution of an art as detailed in the museum, it brings home to the observer, how the art has progressed over the years.Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Gracie system is the way your family approaches teaching the art. The best way for me to describe it is that it’s like training with your best friends and family. The courtesy and respect shown by your entire family is very humbling and impressive, give the stature your family and the Gracie system have achieved in the martial arts world. For me personally, training with your family is pleasurable experience, notwithstanding the technical excellence that goes along with the training.In closing, let me again thank you for providing the law enforcement/military community a program, which not only can help save lives, but does so in a safe and humane manner. My warmest regards to your sons and father.

Very Sincerely Yours,Robert B. XXXXX

Los Angeles County Probation Department

February 18, 2004

Dear Spiro:

First, I would like to thank you for listening to the concerns I had with regard to my position and the position of my fellow officers at Central Juvenile Hall. The information of “how to make a safer working environment” that you gave me, was extremely valuable.In the past the Los Angeles County Probation Department has faced many adverse issues concerning “Use of Force”. Staff when breaking-up fights if they do not know proper techniques to safety secure minors who are combative, develop into incidents that may become investigations for excessive force or even child abuse allegations, some officers have suffered injuries resulting into the staff not being able to work. When incidents such as these occur the facility suffers by having to hire behind the injured staff, our facility is suffering because of budget problems.I as well as my Director Mr. Danny XXXXXXX, Assistant Superintendent, feel that the techniques taught at the Gracie Academy will help alleviate the problems mentioned above. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training will teach myself and my fellow officers apply proper restraint when minors become violent, combative and out of control. The training will also lessen the possibility of injury to the officers as well as the minors, which the end result will be not having staff shortages due to the injuries and budget issues that arise with it.Because of the above-mentioned Issue Supervising Detention Service Officer XXXXX and myself choose to enroll in the GRAPLES Fundamentals Class on January 15 th and 16 th, 2004, learning proper and safe techniques enabling us to create a safer and more confident working environment. Your Certification program will allow me to teach and share the GRACIE Techniques with my fellow officers.

Respectfully, Robert XXXXXX
Detention Services Officer
S.E.R.T. Team Leader
Los Angeles County Probation Department
Central Juvenile Hall


Dear Rorion,

I am currently flying on my five hour flight back to Virginia and still smiling from ear to ear! It truly was and honor and privilege training with you at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy today. I also greatly appreciate the “Gracie family history tour” that you gave us. I feel now that I have a better understanding of your incredible commitment to Jiu-Jitsu and the high standards your father and you have set for his sport. I am very excited about the future possibilities that we can achieve through your training. Both Dave and I agree that our vision of quality security tactics and Gracie’s philosophy are an outstanding fit. I am confident that the benefit of this relationship will help make our skies the safest in the world!Please, also extend our gratitude to your family and staff for their efforts in making our first visit to the Gracie Academy a memorable one! Spiro’s work to coordinate the training day is very much appreciated. I want to thank you once again for an inspirational training and learning experience. I, personally am looking forward to expanding my skills and knowledge in the years ahead through Gracie Jiu-Jitsu!

Sincerely,Marcus XXXXXXX

G.R.A.P.L.E. Training

Dear Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy,

I would like to take this opportunity to share a few comments regarding the two-day G.R.A.P.L.E. program I attended at your academy in January 2004. As one of my department’s Use of Force Instructors, I have attended a number of Defensive Tactics law enforcement training programs. Your G.R.A.P.L.E. Fundamentals program not only impressed me with the techniques presented, but the professionalism of our instructor, Mr. Rorion Gracie.Throughout the two days of training, Mr. Gracie personally worked with each of us to ensure we were proficient with each technique. He was thorough, patient, and personable with each student. I would like to compliment the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy for providing and outstanding program geared toward law enforcement officer survival. I highly recommend this course to all officers. The techniques learned could save your life!

Redlands Police Department

G.R.A.P.L.E Fundamentals

Dear Rorion,

I enjoyed taking the G.R.A.P.L.E Fundamentals Class on May 20 and 21 st, 2004. I learned more in two days with you than I would have in two months with some other program. I am recommending your program to my local law enforcement agencies because I believe that it is a more humane and effective way of dealing with the threats that any officer might face on a daily basis. I also told my son, who has applied to be a police officer, that if he is accepted on the force I will pay his way to take your class. I look forward to seeing you again. Thanking you, I am



Thank you; for the quality training and the hospitality that you and your staff provided this week during the G.R.A.P.L.E. Fundamentals course. I learned a lot, and enjoyed the experience. Especially, thank you for the personal tour of the Gracie Museum. It is very evident that you have, justifiably, great pride in your family. I would also like to mention that I was very impressed by your sons. Not only are they very highly skilled instructors, but from what I saw they are quality people as well. They were respectful and polite, the kind of young men that a parent can be proud of. I hope to see you again.



Dear Mr. Gracie:

I recently had the privilege of attending your two-day course entitled “G.R.A.P.L.E Fundamentals”. As a martial artist of fifteen years and a former karate instructor, I was greatly impressed by your effective yet relaxed teaching style. Furthermore, in my experience as a Deputy Sheriff and peace officer of nine years, I found the techniques you taught to have superb real-world law enforcement applicability and great effectiveness.As you know, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department as a whole is plagued with lawsuits involving the alleged use of excessive force. During the next two and a half months, I have the unique opportunity to attend the Cook County Sherriff’s Police Academy’s entire “Defensive Tactics Control and Arrest Techniques” curse as taught to a new police recruit class. I will compare and evaluate the relevant content of the custom course taught in the Sheriff’s Police Academy to the techniques I learned during your G.R.A.P.L.E. course – which is taught to recruits from dozens of police departments throughout Illinois. I believe the report will favor the inclusion of your safe but keenly effective techniques to help limit legal liability and reduce costly excessive force litigation of settlements. I wish to thank you, your able sons, and your kindly staff for the G.R.A.P.L.E. experience. I plan to attend your full five-day G.R.A.P.L.E. Instructor’s course in September of this year. Please allow me to conclude by offering my heartiest endorsement of your course. Should anyone wish to talk to me about my wonderful experience there, he or she is welcome to contact me.

Warmest Regards, Director Vincent XXXXXXX
Cook County Sheriff’s Police, C.A.B.S. Unit

Certificate of Appreciation

White House Communications Agency

The White House Communications Agency Marine Security Force and Security Directorate wish to express our sincere appreciation for the outstanding manner in which you provided support and coordination for scheduling the March 2004 GRAPLE class. Your superb attitude and professionalism, through several delays in the funding & approval process, ensured our Marines were able to obtain seats in this highly sought-after course. Your efforts will have a long lasting impact for the White House Communications Agency Marines, and their ability to protect Presidential Support Facilities. Michael XXXXXXXX
CTNC, USM Technical Security Branch

G.R.A.P.L.E. attendance review

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Supervisory detention and Deportation Officer

In review of the G.R.A.P.L.E. instructor certification course recently attended November 27 th 2006 to December 1st 2006, was by my experience the most intensive and rewarding course I have attended. All of the material presented demonstrated applicable defensive tactics that can be easily translated and taught with our use of force continuum policy. Moreover, G.R.A.P.L.E. techniques will not only increase safety for our agents in the event of a use of force scenario but will increase the safety of subjects resisting apprehension, detention and removal.The G.R.A.P.L.E. course helps identify and determine appropriate techniques necessary to overcome the worse case scenario that is an idea to exemplify reality training. Reality training has in itself been overlooked to build student confidence; giving students the idea and practice of the advantageous scenario to overcome an attack using approved defensive tactics. However, in the event of a real attack, the habit of having the advantage in their defensive tactics training, lacking reality training, leads them to be overwhelmed by the attacker.G.R.A.P.L.E. techniques and training is by far the best tool our training department will be implementing into its in-service defensive tactics program to replace the advantageous scenario with the worse case scenario. To paraphrase our instructor Rener Gracie, it will be life changing. It needn’t be said, but I strongly feel with the utmost respect to G.R.A.P.L.E. training that it will increase safety and survival for our officers and agents in future operations to include the litigations processes.In closing, I strongly urge and recommend to our administration that the G.R.A.P.L.E. instructor certification and re-certification program be considered for future attendance.

Police Report 1

Leg Hook Takedown, Modified Mount, Taking the Back, Carotid Restraint, Twisting Arm Handcuffing Technique

I responded to a residence in reference to a theft report. As I met with the suspect’s father I was informed that the suspect was at a friend’s house down the street with the stolen property.

I made contact with the suspect at this residence and began interviewing him about the theft he was accused of. The suspect is described as a white male, 6’3”-250lbs, and believed to be a mental health patient. I am 5’8” and 157 lbs and had completed the Gracie Combatives Instructor Certification Course in Arlington, Texas the week prior to this incident.

As I was interviewing the suspect I noticed he was very nervous. He clinched his fists and tried to intimidate me by clinching his jaw. Since I am a K-9 handler, I wanted to get the suspect near my vehicle so that I could utilize my dog. I began directing the suspect towards my vehicle so that I could isolate him from his friends who were also in the house. The suspect pulled away from me. I told the suspect that he was not under arrest right now, and that all I wanted to do was talk to him. I told the suspect that for my protection I wanted to put handcuffs on him while I interviewed him. The suspect began clinching his fists again, and as I began controlling his right hand to put handcuffs on he swung around with his left elbow trying to strike me. I released the grip with the handcuffs and established the clinch. He attempted to use a nearby car to avoid getting taken to the ground but I was still able to execute the leg hook takedown. When we hit the ground I established a modified mount position. The suspect quickly rolled to his knees and attempted to get up after I established the Back Mount. The suspect was wearing a leather jacket during this incident. Using the collar of his jacket, I was able to apply pressure to his carotid arteries until he agreed to cooperate. As the suspect fell down I was able to handcuff him using the Twisting Arm Handcuffing Technique I learned from the Gracies. The suspect did not sustain any injuries, nor did I. The suspect was arrested for Theft and Resisting Arrest. - Chris Vigil, Defensive Tacticts Instructor, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office

Police Report 2

Clinch Control, Body Fold Takedown, Mount Control, Straight Armlock

I was dispatched to a domestic violence call with reports of a man with a knife. Upon arrival the man with the knife had exited the front door and into the front yard. The man was intoxicated and extremely agitated that the police were at his residence.

The man was approximately 6'2" and 200 lbs. I am approximately 6' and 135 lbs. I have attended many of the Gracie Combatives classes taught by Chris Vigil.

The man was given several commands to drop the knife and get on the ground. The man finally dropped the knife but refused to get on the ground… The man kept pacing around in the front yard yelling at officers. The man stood in a fighting stance saying that he wasn’t going to jail…

Once the man got far enough away from his knife I approached him at which point he took an aggressive fighting stance and said that I would have to fight him because he wasn’t going to jail. At this time I closed the distance on the suspect and established the clinch. I then performed a Body Fold takedown to get him to the ground where I was able to achieve the mount. I maintained the mount position as he continued to struggle. In an aggressive attempt to push me off, the man straightened his arm at which point I pivoted on his chest and applied the Straight Armlock from the mount. While I maintained control of his arm other officers easily handcuffed the suspect.

The Gracie Combatives techniques I learned from Chris Vigil enabled me to subdue a much larger, highly agitated, intoxicated man without anyone getting hurt. - Cpl. D Harvey, Patrol Supervisor, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department

Police Report 3

Front Headlock Neck Restraint

I was dispatched to a traffic accident and upon my arrival, I observed a red Nissan Sentra in the middle of a cotton field. Upon contact with the driver I asked if he was injured, he stated "no". I then asked the driver to exit the vehicle and he responded "F*** you I'm not getting out". Again I asked him to exit the vehicle and he said "f*** you". I advised him that if he refused to get out of the vehicle, I would break the window and pull him out. At that time I pulled my ASP and showed it to the driver. He then stated "f*** you I have a gun", and then quickly reached under the passenger side front seat…

At that time I drew my duty weapon with my right hand and broke the driver’s window with my left hand using my ASP baton. As the window broke, I ordered the driver to show me his hands. He then raised his hand quickly and pointed a yellow colored tube at me. I identified that the object in the driver’s hands was not a gun, so again I ordered him to leave his hands in the air.

The driver then crawled into the back seat of the vehicle, and refused to come out. Other Deputies on scene kept the driver at gun point as I opened the driver’s side rear door, at which point he began kicking at me. I then pulled out my X-26 Taser and advised the driver to exit the vehicle or he would be Tased. The driver continued to kick at me so I deployed my Taser and struck the driver in the left arm and in the stomach. After the first 5 second cycle of the taser, the driver still refused to exit the vehicle. I then reactivated the taser as Deputy Wilson and I pulled the driver out by his legs. As we were pulling him out, he grabbed the back of the seat and attempted to pull himself back inside. I then struck the driver in the stomach with a closed fist causing him to lose his breath. Deputy Wilson and I where then able to get the driver out of the vehicle and onto the ground and during the struggle the Taser probe was dislodged from his body.

As the driver came out of the vehicle he began to fight with the other deputies and myself. We were able to get him on the ground but he was still actively fighting. Deputies were attempting to pull the driver’s hands from underneath his body. The driver then attempted to stand up towards me and lunged towards me in an attempt to tackle me to the ground. At that point, I applied a Front Headlock Neck Restraint and used it to render him unconscious. With the driver unconscious we were easily able to handcuff him.

The driver regained consciousness spontaneously about 2 seconds after I released the submission hold. He again began to fight, by kicking and attempted to get to his feet. Deputies were able to control him, and place him into a patrol vehicle.

During the investigation the driver later stated that he had been smoking crack cocaine through out the night.

Thanks to the techniques taught in the Gracie Combatives course by Deputy Chris Vigil, I was able to handle the physical altercation without causing any major injuries to the suspect or to myself. - Corporal Rodney Stevens, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department


The Gracie Survival Tactics® (GST) course has been instrumental in preparing our deputies, sergeants, and command staff for the worst case scenarios up to and including violent assaults and ground level defense. With an emphasis on: surprise attack counters, weapon retention techniques, survival and escape strategies, and arrest and control procedures, this course provides the vital skills necessary to gain the “position of advantage” over your opponent. The material(s) taught in the (GST) course are practical, and based on control tactics . Our agency has adopted the Gracie Survival Tactics® curriculum .

Since hosting our first (GST) course in 2010, with overwhelming success, we fully anticipate on hosting another Instructors course in 2011. We will continue hosting courses to give as many agencies as possible the opportunity to participate and adopt the Gracie Survival Tactics® as their Defensive Tactics program. I would highly recommend this course to any Law Enforcement agency.

- Deputy J. XXXXXX
Training Unit Deputy
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
Portland, OR

"By far, the best I have ever seen."

Testimonial submitted to Gracie University on February 5, 2011:

"I am a reserve police officer and defensive tactics instructor for several departments. Basically, I just wanted to tell you that your curriculum and teaching methods are the best I have ever witnessed. I have trained with many of the most famous martial arts instructors in the world. None of them come close to your teaching ability. I love the way you have structured your Gracie Combatives lessons. I have always prided myself at being able to write great curriculum. I have a college degree in curriculum design. But your curriculum is, by far, the best I have ever seen. Right now all I can afford is your online lessons, which I can't believe you are giving away such valuable knowledge for such a low price. There are many people with the Gracie last name that are teaching all around here, but none of them teach with the detail and clarity that you do. I have benefited greatly by learning from your family online and in person. I definitely would love to get certified and continue my training with you guys."

-Mike Tomaso
Fairhope, Alabama



Dear Gracie Academy,

I am writing today after receiving word that two of our cadets in Afghanistan were killed. I am reminded how important it is to impart the best information in the most effective way-that is what GST does! Our department has sent two faculty members to the Gracie Survival Training; one on the east coast with me going out to the west coast. It was an outstanding week of learning, demonstration and teaching! Thank you. The GST curriculum will be THE foundation for our (VMI) combatives program. More than ½ of our cadets commission in the military and another high percentage go into law enforcement type of occupations. GST will be a big part of their training.

Rener Gracie taught the curriculum and techniques in a progressive and developmental manner – this is ideal for our cadets and will help them with skill acquisition and focus. It is important to VMI that our program is both theoretically and experientially grounded-again the GST provides just that. The one on one corrective feedback was invaluable. The use of field/mission scenarios were essential! This information is critical for our cadets and their development as citizen-soldiers.

Also, web resources with Gracie University is a plus!!!

Prior to the week all communications and questions were quickly answered and attended to. Thank you Spiro Demetriadi!

What an impact the week had on my teaching strategies and skill development. In summary, GST was learning from the best! Thank you to all.

-COL Holly Jo Richardson PhD
Physical Education
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia



For more information on GST, including program options, upcoming course dates, pricing and hosting a course at your department/base, 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 Program Director by sending an email to: or calling (817) 692-8303 (CST).