The Top-Ranked Jiu-Jitsu Associations in The World

The Top-Ranked Jiu-Jitsu Associations in The World

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has gained immense popularity worldwide due to its effectiveness in real-life self-defense situations, multiple health benefits, and all-inclusive nature. Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts can easily practice this gentle martial art discipline regardless of their age, fitness levels, gender, or skills. Therefore, the main reason behind the growing popularity of BJJ is the ease of training. However, one must recognize the efforts of BJJ practitioners and BJJ associations in promoting the ground-based combat sport. Different BJJ academies and gyms have spread awareness worldwide by establishing affiliate schools in major cities of different countries.

These Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu associations have ensured the standard of quality training in each of their affiliate academies and gyms worldwide. From following the proper IBJJF-approved belt ranking system to being registered with different international BJJ federations and governing organizations, not only do these associations advance the practice of gentle art but also offer exposure to their students by making it possible for them to compete in the most prestigious international jiu-jitsu tournaments.

While many BJJ aspirants consider IBJJF, ADCC, and UAEJJF as the most prominent international BJJ associations, these organizations do not offer training opportunities and also lack affiliate schools and academies that offer a sense of community to all BJJ practitioners. These federations have a more formal structure, set rules and regulations, provide uniform and belt promotion criteria, and organize competitions worldwide.

On the other hand, BJJ associations are groups of people sharing an interest in grappling, they offer support, resources, and opportunities to their members, and are also responsible for belt promotions. Each BJJ association may have its unique approach to the BJJ curriculum, and skill requirements for a particular belt rank, and also allow more relaxed uniform policies. For this purpose, a particular BJJ association may have different affiliate schools. In this article, we bring you a list of the top-ranked BJJ associations in the world, making it easier for you to find the best BJJ academy in your region for a successful jiu-jitsu journey. 

1. What is a BJJ Association?

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association refers to an organization that specifies the objectives to attain. It sets curriculum, guidelines, rules, and regulations for BJJ fighters. Additionally, it conducts various seminars, events, and tournaments to promote grappling. The BJJ association grants affiliation to multiple BJJ schools and academies, gathering practitioners from several geographical regions and backgrounds under a single roof. 

2. Difference Between a BJJ Association and a BJJ Gym

A BJJ association and a BJJ gym are different entities. A BJJ association sets a framework and guidelines to be followed by affiliated schools. It creates structured programs with techniques and methodologies for BJJ members to practice and thrive in the competitive world of sparring and grappling.

On the other hand, a BJJ gym organizes paid classes for its members with various levels of instruction tailored to different belt levels. These BJJ gyms often hire highly qualified and experienced coaches, mostly brown or black belts having years of experience training and competitive experience. These instructors are dedicated to their student’s progress and success.

However, some BJJ dojos have an ill reputation for hiring inexperienced BJJ practitioners with fake BJJ belts, resulting in poor performances among their members. Therefore, it is important to conduct thorough research when choosing an affiliate school because not all BJJ associations are committed to delivering excellence. 

3. Top 15 BJJ Associations in the World

3.1. Gracie Barra

Gracie Barra
Photo Credit: @graciebarra 

Gracie Barra is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy and team founded in 1986 by Carlos Gracie J. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has over 700 affiliated schools on six continents. Its main motto is brotherhood, integrity, and development. Gracie Barra is ranked seventh for adult female athletes and tenth for juvenile athletes by the World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023.

The three Gracie Barra training programs provide productive and structured training methods for practitioners, allowing them to excel in sports. Its training program has three stages of development for students. The GB¹ Program teaches Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals, while the GB² Program focuses on advanced Jiu-Jitsu techniques. In addition, the GB³ Program offers expert-level Jiu-Jitsu instruction. All three Gracie Barra training programs emphasize the basics of Jitsu and self-defense mechanisms, promoting fitness and self-confidence in members. The GB² Program teaches effective takedown techniques and transitions between Jiu-Jitsu techniques and positions. The GB³ Program focuses on learning cutting-edge Jiu-Jitsu techniques, devising attack strategies, and developing game flow. Furthermore, Gracie Barra offers kids’ programs and fitness programs for women, inviting them to become part of the Gracie Barra family.

3.2. Carlson Gracie Team

Carlson Gracie Team
Photo Credit: @carlsongracieteam 

The Carlson Gracie team was founded in the 1970s by Carlson Gracie Sr, a member of the legendary Gracie family. The main motive of Carlson Gracie's team is to adapt the application of techniques to ensure students' progress. The Carlson Gracie Association has a reputation for producing great fighters through extraordinary coaching skills.

It has 323 affiliated schools, 547 instructors, and 26,643 enrolled students. Carlson Gracie Junior, Ari Fernando “Galo” Rocha, Marcos Flexa, Ricardo “Rey” Diogo, Marcelo Alonso, Paulo Filho, and Sergio Zimmerman are the black belt diplomates of the Carlson Gracie team. 

3.3. CheckMat

Photo Credit: @checkmatbjj 

Leo Vieira, nicknamed “Leozinho” or “Little Lion.” CheckMat has affiliate academies in 34 American cities and 16 countries worldwide. It mainly focuses on individual health and positivity rather than just winning trophies or medals at tournaments. It provides various programs on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kids' martial arts, and fitness training. CheckMat is ranked fifth for adult males, third for females, and ninth for juvenile athletes by the World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023.

The CheckMat members have won the IBJJF World Championships, the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) tournaments, the Brazilian National Championships, and the Submission Wrestling World Championships.

3.4. GFTeam

Photo Credit: @gfteamofficial 

Grappling Fight Team (GFT) was formed by Julio Cesar in 2007. It offers scholarships to athletes, ensuring team growth and learning. It is also expanding its horizons from Jiu-Jitsu athletes to MMA athletes. In 2023, the GF team was ranked 9th for males and 2nd for female athletes by the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The main achievements of the Grappling Team include being a four-time Brazilian Teams Champion, Rio Open Team Champion (2011), and State Champion (Rio) are among its main achievements. The team has more than 250 representatives worldwide and has produced competent fighters like Bruno Malfacine, Rodolfo Vieira, Ricardo Evangelista, and Italo Lins. 

3.5. Renzo Gracie NY

Renzo Gracie NY
Photo Credit: @renzogracieacademy 

The Renzo Gracie NY association was established in 1996 by Renzo Gracie, a prominent coach in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and belongs to the famous Gracie family. He is the grandson of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu founder Carlos Gracie and son of 9th-degree BJJ Red Belt Robson Gracie. RNY offers various programs on BJJ, Muay Thai, submission grappling, and kid jitsu. Mike Jaramillo, Rafael Costa, Royce Chen, Robson Gracie Jr., and Bridget Grace are among its most notable BJJ instructors. It has various affiliated schools worldwide.

“We are not in the business of martial arts. We are in the business of building confidence. Confidence not only to defend yourself—we help build the confidence required to face life.”

(Master Renzo Gracie)

3.6. Alliance Jiu Jitsu

Alliance Jiu Jitsu
Photo Credit: @allianceofficial 

In 2004, Romero Cavalcanti (Jacare) and his students Fabio Gurgel (General) and Alexandre Paiva (Gigi) decided to create their association by merging effective teaching methodologies and implementing the management skills of Fabio Gurgel. Over the years, Alliance Team has expanded to 300 affiliated academies in 28 countries, boasting 13 IBJJF World Championship titles. Apart from the kids' module, it offers online courses for all three BJJ training levels: beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Alliance Team is ranked second for adult males, fifth for adult females, and fourth for juvenile athletes by the 2023 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The eminent champions associated with Alliance Team include Sergio Moraes, Bruno Malfacine, Cobrinha, Leonardo Leite, Leo Nogueira, Tarsis Humphreys, Bernardo Faria, Michael Langhi, Marcelinho Garcia, Lucas Lepri, Daniela Genovesi, Gabi Garcia, Monique Elias, Fernando Terere and Andresa Correa.

3.7. Atos Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Atos Jiu-Jitsu Academy
Photo Credit: @atosjiujitsuhq 

Atos Jiu-Jitsu Academy was founded in 2008 by Prof. Andre Galvao and his friend Prof. Ramon Lemos. Teaching modern techniques of Gi and No-Gi BJJ, Atos has gained a reputation in the world of martial arts. It encompasses evolutionary methods of the Choir bar, leg drag, the 50/50 guard, berimbolo, and lapel guard in its curriculum. It has affiliated academies in over 20 countries worldwide. Its motto is “Innovating Grappling, Transforming Lives.’’ Atos Jiu-Jitsu Academy, now an association, is ranked third for adult males, fourth for females, and first for juvenile athletes by the 2023 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

In a short time, Atos has built the strongest athletes in Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling. The athletes have acquired various positions in the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championships, IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and Pan Kids Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Atos has produced many renowned champions, including Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa, JT Torres, Tye and Kade Ruotolo, Josh Hinger, Keenan Cornelius, Kaynan Duarte, Andy Murasaki, Michael Liera Jr., Michael Carbullido, Jonnatas Gracie, Ronaldo Junior, João “Bisnaga” Mendes, Gustavo Batista, Luiza Monteiro, Rafael & Emilly Vasconcelos, and Daniel Sathler.

3.8. International BJJ Association

The International BJJ Association was formed by Renato Migliaccio, nicknamed Renatinho, who is a 4th-degree BJJ black belt. It provided one-on-one training sessions along with camp training during vacations. It also conducts seminars for extensive learning and growth of BJJ members.

3.9. Icon Jiu-Jitsu

Icon Jiu-Jitsu
Photo Credit: @iconbjj 

Icon Jiu-Jitsu was created in October 2010 by Ze Marcello. It has highly competent BJJ black belt instructors teaching at various locations. Additionally, it organizes various camps with surf lessons, BJJ, Judo, and No Gi classes, effectively training participants. It has many affiliated academies worldwide teaching drilling and practicing techniques for women, kids (starting at age 3), and adults to gain self-defense, self-confidence, discipline, and security. 

3.10. Caio Terra Association (CTA)

Caio Terra Association (CTA)
Photo Credit: @caioterrabjj 

In 2012, the Caio Terra Association was founded by the famous ten-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Black Belt World No-Gi Champion, Caio Terra. It has more than 50 schools affiliated nationally and internationally. It believes in a one-team approach that being together we can perform great. It has a detailed curriculum focusing on the fundamentals of martial arts as they play a significant role in BJJ training. Caio launched the Caio Terra online facility in 2014 to ensure the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. It is one of the most respected Jiu-Jitsu associations in the world.

3.11. BJJ Revolution Team

BJJ Revolution Team
Photo Credit: @bjjrevolutionteam 

Julio Cesar “Foca” Fernandez Nunes and Rodrigo Medeiros co-founded the BJJ Revolution team in 2000. They have the vision to revolutionize martial arts through the teachings and knowledge of Carlson Gracie teachings and knowledge. The BJJ Revolution team is certified through the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation). The BJJ Revolution team has certified black belt instructors who prioritize affection, encouragement, and respect rather than criticism, while also instilling character traits like courage, loyalty, integrity, humbleness, pride, and discretion. The team provides technical programs and a rank curriculum through innovative Jiu-Jitsu teaching methods, encouraging positivity among its members.

The BJJ Revolution Team has international affiliate locations worldwide with over 80 affiliated schools. The organization has a record of 10 U.S. Grappling titles, 6 National Titles, and Pan Am Novice Division Champions. Additionally, it conducts seminars and training camps in 80 various locations worldwide.

3.12. Gracie Humaita

Gracie Humaita
Photo Credit: @graciehumaita 

Gracie Humaita was founded in 1952 by the late Helio Gracie. It has more than 110 certified training locations and conducts worldwide seminars and training camps. The academy provides classes on self-defense, competition training, Jiu-Jitsu conditioning, and private training sessions. Its law enforcement course includes lessons for rapid response tactics, ground controls, stand-up takedowns, and altercation encounters. Gracie Humaita has a team of famous martial arts instructors, including Royler Gracie, Roller Gracie, and Vinicius Aieta.

3.13. Gracie University - (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy)

Gracie University - (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy)
Photo Credit: @gracieuniversity

Carlos Gracie formed its first BJJ institution, the Gracie University, in Brazil in 1925. Later, Rorian Gracie brought Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to America and established the first Gracie Academy in 1978 in Torrance, California.

Ryron and Renor Gracie organized combat techniques based on simplicity and usefulness in a logical order after 15 years of experimentation. The training modules have allowed students to learn at their own pace without feeling overwhelmed or left behind. It has enrolled over 150,000 students in online classes from 196 countries. In addition, it organizes various seminars and events for combat sports. Its notable instructors are Eve Torres Gracie, Rener Gracie, Pedro Sauer, Victoria Gracie, and Ryron Gracie.

3.14. Nova União

Nova União
Photo Credit: @novauniao 

In 1995, Nova União was created by André Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nova Uniao has achieved recognition in MMA after winning various international events, including Shooto, Cage Rage, International Vale Tudo Championships (IFL), and Pancrase. Its representatives operate in the UFC cage, the International IBJJF Championships, and the UAEJJF Championships. The team is ranked tenth in adult males, ninth in adult females, and third in juvenile athletes by the 2023 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Its athletes are associated with famous organizations such as Bellator in America and the Absolute Championship Akhmat in Russia. Its mission is to transform lives through Jiu-Jitsu. They have a vision to never give up when going through hard times and inspire others through technical knowledge of jiu-jitsu. It offers programs for women, children, and black belts. Its most famous Jiu-Jitsu athletes include Robson Moura, Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Marcelo Pereira, João Roque, Ana Carolina Schmitt, Bernardo Pitel, B.J. Penn, and Marcio André.

3.15. BJJ Globetrotters

 BJJ Globetrotters
Photo Credit: @bjjglobetrotters 

BJJ Globetrotters is a worldwide community of BJJ. Anyone can be a member regardless of any specified lineage or academy affiliation. Their core aim is to encourage trainees worldwide and promote equality among its members on and off the mats. BJJ Globetrotters organize camps in various countries to gather members to enjoy life through BJJ.

4. Last Words

If you are a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast, chances are you already know some of the BJJ Associations mentioned in this article if not all. If you are looking for a supportive BJJ academy or BJJ that offers excellent jiu-jitsu training, competitive opportunities, extensive resources, and a strong sense of community, then it is advisable to choose BJJ schools affiliated with any one of these associations near you. 

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