Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu Schools Legacy And History

Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu Schools Legacy And History

1. Gracie Barra

Gracie Barra is one of the top schools for learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It has academies all over the world to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at all levels. Its mission statement is to teach BJJ to everyone. The founders of Gracie Barra wanted to make BJJ accessible for every BJJ enthusiast.

Carlinhos named it Gracie Barra after his family name and the area of Brazil (Barra) where the first branch opened.

2. Carlos Gracie - Founder Of BJJ

2.1. What Inspired Him To Learn BJJ?

In 1914 when Mitsuyo Maeda came to Brazil, he started a Jiu-Jitsu learning program. Gastao Gracie took his hyperactive son, Carlos Gracie, to Maeda in order to engage him in martial arts. Maeda introduced Carlos to Jiu-Jitsu when he was 14 years old. Carlos was a very swift learner. Jiu-Jitsu inspired him in such a way that he became addicted to the art.

He deeply studied, analyzed, and implemented the techniques and mastered them to perfection.

2.2. Carlos Gracie Taught Gentle Art

At the age of 20, he shifted to the capital of Brazil with his family. But he did not leave Jiu-Jitsu training and fighting. In Brazil, the occupation of Jiu-Jitsu was not very progressive at that time.

That is why his first students were Law Enforcement Officials. These links opened a gateway for him to propagate the teachings of Jiu-Jitsu across the country.

3. The First Gracie School

In 1925, the first Gracie School was founded by Carlos to instruct the teachings of BJJ to the people of Rio de Janeiro. This school was capable of achieving a milestone to grow BJJ as a national sport in Brazil.

Though this school had limited resources, it laid the foundation for BJJ in Brazil. He taught his younger brother in that school, Oswaldo (1904), Gastao (1906), George (1911), and Helio (1913). His brothers made their name in the Jiu-Jitsu community and are considered pioneers of modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

4. Carlos Gracie Junior - Founder of Gracie Barra

Carlos Gracie Jr aka Carlinhos founded the 1st Gracie Barra School in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro in 1986. Only in a few years, Carlos Gracie Jr. was able to transition Gracie Barra into one of the most successful schools of BJJ that produced the legends of grappling martial arts.

Carlos Gracie Junior - Founder of Gracie Barra
Photo credit: @graciebarra

“My life is dedicated to Jiu-Jitsu. My goal was simply to build a brotherhood to lead the expansion of Jiu-Jitsu while respecting the essence of our art. My students are an extension of my family. I want each of them to achieve their personal best while helping spread Jiu-Jitsu. We must do that by honoring the traditions and efforts of those who came before us”.

(Carlos Gracie Jr.)

4.1. Influence of BJJ on His Life

He was born in 1956. Being from a family of BJJ fighters, BJJ had a strong influence on his life. He was a great fighter and a fast learner. Being surrounded by BJJ fighters taught him key success elements like persistence, fortitude, and hard work. He was open-minded like his brother Rolls Gracie. He learned a lot from his brothers and cousins.

4.2. Taught at the Gracie School

He taught at the main Gracie School in Rio de Janeiro. He worked with his brother Rolls and cousin Rorion.

4.3. Death of Rolls Gracie

died in 1982 in a hang-gliding accident. Before his death, he had joined forces with Carlinhos. After his death, all of his students and family got together to continue the mission which Rolls Gracie started.

5. History of Gracie Barra

After the death of Rolls Gracie, the Gracie Family dedicated their time and efforts to propagating BJJ because it was the main goal of Rolls Gracie.

5.1. Carlinhos Moved to Barra da Tijuca

After staying in Copacabana for 4 years, he moved to Barra da Tijuca. In the Gracie Barra School, a term was coined “Gracies of Barra”. After this term evolved the name of the academy, Gracie Barra.

5.2. The Number of Students Increased

Primarily the school had only 20 students. After the first year, the number of students increased to 200. The increasing number of students led to the expansion of the school. It was moved to a larger space which was inside a gym. It stands till this day.

5.3. Gracie Barra Was Founded

In 1986, Gracie Barra was founded by Carlos Gracie Jr. also known as Carlinhos. He had worked as an instructor at his uncle’s Master Helio and later at his brother Rolls Gracie’s school. He wanted to establish his own institute. And then finally he made his dream come true.

5.4. Gracie Barra Uniform

How the practitioners dress at the academy represents their values and principles. The red shirt represents the Gracie Barra Family. This red shirt signifies the pillars of equality, discipline, unity, and philosophy of being a part of Gracie Barra.

A Red Shield is also present on the Gi. “Proud to be part of this GB Family” is written on that Red Shield.

“I want red because it represents heart, blood, and love. All my students fight with heart, have GB Jiu-Jitsu in their blood and they love our team. Gracie Barra!”

(Master Carlos Gracie Jr.)

6. Mission Statement of Gracie Barra

Values Principles Motto
Brotherhood To Commit to a Common Goal above Individual Selfish Needs Organized Like a Team. Fighting Like a Family
Integrity To Think Long Term and Pave the way for Future Generations Keeping the Legacy Alive.
Development To Promote and Expand the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone.

7. Expansion of Gracie Barra School

With time, Gracie Barra schools multiplied and went beyond the borders. It is one of the most diverse BJJ organizations in the world with 600 schools around the world.

8. Relocation of Gracie Barra Headquarters

At the start, the headquarters of Gracie Barra was in Barra de Tijuca, Brazil. In 2005, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. shifted the headquarters to the United States. He also moved there.

9. Expansion of Gracie Barra Schools

Along with the fame of BJJ, many Gracie Barra schools were opened around the world such as in Australia, Europe, and Denmark. It is a BJJ association with almost 800 schools on 6 continents and still it is expanding.

10. Current Head Coaches At Gracie Barra

Gracie Barra has schools and academies in different countries. The head coaches at GB are themselves accomplished Black Belts and are devoted to teaching the values and principles of this gentle art. Some of the head coaches at GB are given below.

10.1. Conrad Roberts

He is the founder and Head Coach of Gracie Barra in the Isle of Man.

10.2. Victor Estima

He is the founder of Gracie Barra Nottingham and Gracie Barra Europe. He received his Black Belt from Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

10.3. Sean Coates

He is the Head Coach at Gracie Barra Nottingham. He also competes in BJJ tournaments. He received his Black Belt from Victor Estima.

11. Famous Students of Gracie Barra

11.1. Andre Almeida

Andre Almeida
Photo credit: @andrealmeidagb

Andre Almeida is a BJJ Black Belt and one of the top representatives of Gracie Barra in the super heavyweight division. He is an IBJJF Hall of Famer.

11.2. Romulo Barral

Romulo Barral
Photo credit: @romulobarral

Romulo is a BJJ Black Belt. He was the ADCC World Champion in 2013. He has won many IBJJF World Championships.

11.3. Victor Estima

Victor Estima
Photo credit: @victorestimagb

Victor is a BJJ Black Belt. He is an IBJJF Hall of Famer. He also secured 1st position in the IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2011) and IBJJF European Open (2012).

11.4. Roberto Gordo

Roberto Gordo
Photo credit: @gordobjj

Professor Roberto is a 6th-degree BJJ Black Belt. He won the CBJJ Brazilian Nationals in 1996, 1997, and 2000 among many other accomplishments.

11.5. Kyra Gracie

Kyra Gracie
Photo credit: @kyragracie

Kyra Gracie is a 4th-degree BJJ Black Belt. She is a member of the IBJJF Hall of Fame. She secured 1st place in the ADCC World Championships in 2005, 2007, and 2011. She also secured the 1st position in the IBJJF World Championship in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

11.6. Samuel Braga

Samuel Braga
Photo credit: @samuelbragagb

Samuel is a BJJ Black Belt. He has won many IBJJF World Championships. He won 1st place in the IBJJF World Championship in 2002 as a Purple Belt and in 2004 as a Brown Belt. He received his Black Belt in only 5 years.

11.7. Marcio Cruz

Marcio Cruz
Photo credit: @marciocruzbjj

Marcio is a 5th-degree BJJ Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr. he won 1st position in the ADCC World Championship in 2003. He also secured 1st place in the IBJJF World Championship in 2002 and 2003.

11.8. Roger Gracie

Roger Gracie
Photo credit: @rogergracie

Professor Roger Gracie is a 5th-degree BJJ Black Belt. He is called the Greatest Of All Times (GOAT). He has won 10 IBJJF World Championship Titles.

12. Gracie Barra Association

Carlinhos taught BJJ to his students to embrace a healthy lifestyle. He knew how BJJ changed and revolutionized his life. He wanted to expand the benefits of BJJ to the whole world not only to keep the art alive but also to give new meaning to the lives of people.

Many Black Belts who graduated from the Gracie Barra schools wanted to teach BJJ as they learned from their masters. So they came to Carlinhos to seek permission and assistance to teach under the flag of Gracie Barra. He not only allowed them to teach but also helped them in opening their own GB schools. So GB instructors opened their own GB institutes in different states and countries.

When so many institutes were opened, Carlinhos felt a need to create standards, procedures, and rules for the Gracie Barra schools which they must follow. To address these needs, the Gracie Barra Association was founded in 2005.

13. Gracie Barra Franchising Program

Master Carlos Gracie wanted to have one BJJ school in each city. The GB franchising program was started in 2010. With this program, BJJ instructors were able to provide the support which GB schools and instructors were looking for.

It started in California and now it is available throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. It offers franchises for the operation of BJJ institutes which are solely responsible for the teachings of BJJ.

The staff in GB schools is highly skilled. They also conduct a number of events and competitions throughout the year. They also have provided the necessary gear for BJJ.

14. Gracie Barra Franchise Cost

The minimum investment required to open a Gracie Barra franchise is $70,500 and can exceed $223,500. This amount is according to the 2021 Franchise Disclosure Document by Gracie Barra.

  • Initial Franchise Fee: $8000
  • Total Investment: $70,000 to $223,500
  • Working Capital: $10,000 to $30,000

It can take 6 months to 2 years for the franchise to establish.

14.1. Franchise Data

Year Start of Year Units Opened Units Closed End of Year
2016 104 25 6 125
2017 125 26 3 148
2018 148 40 5 181
2019 181 31 8 209
2020 209 19 1 224

15. FAQs

15.1. What is the Meaning of Gracie Barra?

Master Carlos Gracie named Gracie Barra because of his family name, Gracie, and Barra because the very first school was opened in Barra de Tijuca.

15.2. What is the Contractual Commitment For Running A Gracie Barra Unit?

Gracie Barra franchises require a 5-year contract. The stipulated duration can be renewed after 5 years. One can exit early but then he will not be eligible for a certain refund.

16. Conclusion

Gracie Barra started with a single school and ended up being a complete organization that has hundreds of BJJ schools around the globe. It works with the sole aim of teaching BJJ to everyone. Gracie Barra wanted to make BJJ accessible, which is why there are so many GB schools today and growing.

Photo credit: @graciebarra

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