Differences in the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Schools

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu' started by LoneRider, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. LoneRider

    LoneRider Purple Belt

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    I've been training off and on for six months with the Gracie Barra affiliates in San Diego and Chino Hills whenever I have time off at Fort Irwin (in California's Mojave Desert) and I've enjoyed my experience so far. I'm curious is there any substantial differences between Gracie Barra and the other Gracie type schools in case I wind up stationed somewhere where there are no Gracie Barra affiliated schools.
     
  2. LuckyKBoxer

    LuckyKBoxer Master Black Belt

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    I can not answer this with certainty.
    I am basing this on what I have seen, what I have learned, and what I have gotten from talking to other people.

    The basics in Brazilian based Jiu Jitsu are pretty much standard regardless of where you go.. I mean an arm bar is an arm bar, a rear naked, omoplata, americana, knee bar, etc.etc. are the same.

    The big differences are going to come along when you have people of different styles teaching classes based on their own style..
    meaning that some people will be half guard geniuses, and will have set ups, and manuevers that range from basic to extremely intricate in set up.
    Others will be favoring the mount, the spider guard, etc.etc.
    I know some instructors will lean heavily towards competitive sports jiu jitsu, either gi, no gi, or both... so will slant towards MMA, some will have a combative slant to their teaching.
    I think that one thing I like that Gracie Barra does is it standardized its fundamentals programs, for beginners, intermediate, advanced, Gi and No Gi so that its students all over are given a strong grasp of the basics. I know that some of the other big organizations have similar programs, and I have to assume they are probably fairly close depending on the skill or belt level of the class they are teaching.

    my advice would be to keep hammering the basics, start developing a game, and when or if you move and have to choose make sure you ask the options you have available what their mission is, if they teach to your game, or another game, and then take some classes and get a feel for them.
     
  3. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    I have trained at both Gracie Barra and the Gracie academy. Both are good. The only real difference I saw was in the way the moves were taught. A mount escape from GB was against a collar choke while the GA did the same, but against a mounted punch.
     
  4. Pyrock

    Pyrock Green Belt

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    I have been wondering the same question for a long time and have asked people such as Ralph, Rilion, and Roger Gracie. This is what I've heard:

    There were originally two schools of thought in early BJJ history. Helio and Carlos Gracie had some fundemental differences not so much in their philosophies of BJJ but in there physical abilities which ulitmately led to their teaching methods. Helio was small and somewhat sickly so he focussed on leverage and how a small person would overpower a larger person. He also relied on winning by attrition with no real time limit as dictated by modern BJJ tournaments. Carlos, while still relatively small, wasn't as focussed on the little frail guy overpowering the bigger guy...at least not to the same extent of his smaller and sickly brother, Helio. Consequently, Carlos' techniques were more aggressive and less passive as his brother Helio. I mention their differences because the two brothers came to form the two major schools in todays BJJ community. Helio is the founder of the Gracie Academies along with his sons and immediate nephews while Carlos founded Gracie Barra along with his sons and immediate nephews. These differences are definitly not huge by any means since you will see family members from each side training closely together such as Renzo (Gracie Barra) and Royler and are very good friends. I think the differences are more related to who your immediate instructors are rather than their lineage.
     
  5. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    Wow. Carlos Gracie SR. Opened the first Gracie academy where helio, his younger brother, became a teacher. Carlos gracie jr. Took over rolls academy after his death. Your history needs some work.
     
  6. Gentle Fist

    Gentle Fist Master Black Belt

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    I am a judo player that trains in Gracie JJ (we have a black belt in GJJ at our club) on the side. I heard the difference between Traditional Gracie Jiujitsu and Brazilian Jiujitsu comes down to the core teachings. Gracie focuses on the Self Defense aspect while BJJ is more concerned with sport and the encouragement of furthering the style (new moves etc...). The Gracie JJ that I have trained in has a ton of standup self defense and also teaches striking from the stand and ground. A colleague of mine at work trained in BJJ and tells me they hardly worked standing SD and that strikes were only implemented in the "MMA" classes.
     
  7. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    Wow. Showed this to a brazillian friend and he laughed his a$$ off. Bjj history 101:
    Carlos learned from maeda and opened the first bjj(gracie jj). He tought his family and helio tought for him. Years later the sport movement started and some schools, namely rolls and carlsons, became the more sport oriented schools. Rolls died and carlos jr. Took over that school. Rorion and his sons/cousins/brothers moved to ca and opend gjj school concentrating on the self defense/self defense aspect(non competitive bjj). Gjj bad mouthes bjj for being too sport oriented and bjj badmouths gjj cause gjj brown belts tap to bjj bluebelts. Both groups should take lessons from the other and unite.
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just kind of peripherally related to the subject, but not too many people are aware that Maeda actually taught Carlos Sr. and another gentleman named Luiz Franca, who taught Oswaldo Fadda. Point being, the Gracie family has been very successful and influential, but there are black belts in BJJ who can trace their lineage to Maeda without any Gracie's name attached.

    Oswaldo Fadda actually took his students and defeated the students at the Gracie academy and subsequently, helio acknowledged the lineage as legit. Oswaldo is one of only about 35 red belts in BJJ.

    As with many things, the history of BJJ is extremely interesting, and not everything that is considered common knowledge is true.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  9. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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  10. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    When we are at the level that I believe most of us here are at, it doesn't really matter. It's like comparing a Lamborghini to a Bugatti, when we're all skateboarding.
     
  11. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    I find a couple of things in this thread interesting;

    1. I am pretty sure that Carlos never ACTUALLY learned that much from Maeda himself but rather from one of Maeda's students. Not sure how important that is to some but it does seem to be factual at the end of the day.

    2. Was Helio small and weak comparatively? This story smacks a lot of Kano's story?

    3. It seems that the Gracie camp had no knowledge or usage of leg attacks or even the "kimura" until their competitions and losses to the Fadda's. Strange?


    Just some thoughts,


    Jason Brinn
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    From what I've read, Carlos Sr. actually learned directly from Meada for many years. What isn't clear is whether Maeda taught other Brazilians before Carlos Gracie, and whether or not Maeda had his more senior students teach some of his classes. It seems like, and there's some evidence that a guy named Jacyntho Ferro was well advanced in his training by the time Carlos started. There's no question, though, that Carlos was the most commercially successful.

    There's ample evidence to support this, as well. Helio was much younger than his brother, Carlos, and was sickly. My personal belief is that Helio was small, and so he had to work a small guy's game. He used a lot of leverage, patience and really worked on a technical, innovative approach. It's the difference that is easily seen when watching an elite female roll vs an elite male. Both are technical, but the approach and tactics are different.
    No knowledge? That's unlikely. But as with everything, there are specialities and emphasis to the approach.

    I agree that this is an interesting topic. I know that the GJJ vs BJJ/ SD vs Sport debate is ongoing. Ultimately, I think it's pointless.
     
  13. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    The historical records of Maeda's travels are well-documented and the timeline doesn't seem to support the case for him directly training Carlos. Also Maeda made visits to the same city as Carlo's school and didn't bother to visit, strange?
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    What I've written above is based strictly on what I've read and gleaned from articles and interviews, largely posted on the internet. I'd love to read more about this. Can you point me to your sources?
     
  15. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    My source is a friend who is writing a book on the subject and doing a ton of research on this very topic. I will get with him today and get his lists and get back with you. I was very surprised myself.

    thank you,

    Jason Brinn
     
  16. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    As for historical accounts and who did what, when, you're probably going to get slightly different answers from everybody involved in any of these questions. I've trained and spent time with two of the Gracies and one of their first black belts, I always just sat back and listened. There were sometimes polite nuances that were slightly different versions of minor things. (minor to me, anyway)

    The original post talked about "substantial differences". I don't think so, no. Not substantial as far as technique goes.
     
  17. Ybot

    Ybot Blue Belt

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    I've also had the impression from things I've read (I don't have the sorces, sorry) that Carlos really didn't get much training directly with Maeda, though I hadn't heard that he ever trained with any of Maeda's other students (though, if what I read was true, then the supplemental training makes the most sense).

    As far as diffences between the family sides, from what I've seen and read it seems to me that every Gracie has very strong personalities, and don't seem to shy away from self promotion. Basically they all want you to believe that they all have the authentic Jiu-Jitsu... but in the end it is all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. What I've seen is the only real difference is that Rorion and the Torrance Academy have choosen to differenciate themselves by focusing on self-defense stuff, and that Rorion's other brothers, though their lineage compete more than Torrence academy students, also tend to put more of an emphasis on the self-defense stuff. That isn't to say that the Gracie Barra, and Carlson Gracie academies don't do self-defense, just that it is less of a selling point with them.

    As far as tracing differences back to Helio and Carlos, I just don't think there were any differences. I think this whole thing about Helio being weak, and having to alter the techniques for a smaller weaker physique is a bunch of BS. Most of the pictures we see of Helio are either of an old man, or a man in his 40's and 50's. Ever seen a picture of him in his 20's? While not a monster of a man, it would be hard to claim that he was weak and frail.

    Check these pics:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50544904@N08/4749381727/
    http://tonyferraz.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/heliojovem.jpg

    If your google-jitsu is good you could probably find a pdf copy of Yukio Tani's 1906 book "The Game of Jujitsu" (Tani taught Jujitsu in England, so it's aa great early Jujitsu text written in English). Guess what, that was published well before Carlos ever took his first Jiu-Jitsu lesson from Maeda, and really I don't see much different between the philosophy and technique espoused in that book with the early Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Maeda, from my understanding, traveled Europe with Tani doing prize fights. I suspect that what Maeda taught the Gracies was very close to what is in that book.

    *edit*
    Here is a picture of Helio and Carlos, and to me Carlos looks like the smaller and weaker...
    http://dynamicmma.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/carlos_gracie_family.jpg

    Also, if you want good basic info on Jiu-Jitsu inovators and competitors check out BJJHEROES.COM it's a really good reference site.

    1st generation Jiu-Jitsu fighters:
    Carlos Sr.:
    http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/carlos-gracie-sr-profile

    Oswaldo Gracie (Ha! There is mention of training with Jacinto Ferro after Maeda left in this Bio! Interesting, hadn't read this yet):
    http://www.bjjheroes.com/featured/oswaldo-gracie

    Gastao Gracie Filho:
    http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/gastao-gracie

    George Gracie (to me the most interesting of the 1st generation):
    http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/george-gracie-facts-and-bio

    Helio Gracie:
    http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/helio-gracie

    Oswaldo Fadda (not really 1st generation as his instructor was Luis Franca):
    http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/oswaldo-fadda-facts-and-bio
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
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  18. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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