3 huge benefits of training in the Gracie Combatives Program

After two months of attending classes 3 times a week, I am still very much loving the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Combatives self defense course in New York City.

Here in New York City the only Gracie CTC that I could find when I first started looking was Ronin Athletics. So far I am loving this academy.

One of the top benefits of training here is that it is giving me the opportunity to really dive much deeper into the technique being taught. I’m learning little details about moves that I’ve missed over the years. That has proven to be one of the greatest benefits that I have experienced training here. Since all we do at my current level is solely technique, it has provided me with the opportunity to really iron down those elusive little details that you may otherwise miss.

Another major benefit that I have noticed is that I have no choice but to learn and become better at positions that I’ve always avoided. For instance, I never like to fight from my back, I’m a top position guy all the way. And seeing though I have spent so very little time on my back over the years, I am not very good from that position. Whenever I’ve ended up on my back my focus has always been to survive and regain top position. I seldom if ever attacked with submissions from my back. I’d work to full or half guard, try to not get tapped and look for a sweep opportunity.

At this school we follow a very strict and structured curriculum and I absolutely must master all these back based techniques in order to advance in the course. In other schools (with opponents at my current level) I could kind of get by without really working on my back game. I was dominant enough on top that my weakness on the back didn’t really matter much. I knew I was weak on my back, but I didn’t care. So being forced to work on my back is proving to be a good thing for me. I think that this is going to improve my overall bjj and really enhance my game in the long run.

The third and final benefit I’ll list today is longevity. At least for the time being, I have been able to train without any major or sidelining injuries. This is extremely important to me, especially as a guy who is riddled with injuries. Why do you think I’m still a white belt? Every time I get hurt, that’s months and sometimes years before I return. Most recently, I was told that I should have a disc on my spine replaced. I mean, what the hell?

Since we focus only on the techniques and do not full on spar while in the combatives program, I’ve been able to make it to class 3x a week without fail, while still teaching all my fitness classes and working full time. That’s key because when I train and roll, I need at least a week to recover and I get hurt way more often because I’m always hurt. You get it? You are already hurt, so you compensate and then in turn you get more hurt. I don’t know if this will still be the case when I eventually make it to the master cycle program, but for the time being, I’ve been fairly safe. Bumps and bruises, tweaks here and there, but nothing that sidelines me. I’ve missed only one class and that was due to the covid booster.

All that being said, I recently got my first stripe on my white belt for like the 3rd time in my long extensive white belt career. It all started back in 2004 with Sensei Mike Mullero who I actually helped build his martial arts school in Spanish Harlem.

I then worked with Marcos Santos at Blitz Center.

I spent some time with Jucao at Union square.

I trained for about a year and a half at Una under Fred Villarica and Alonzo Rodriguez.

I’ve tried dozens of different spots over the years and here we are one striping it up all over again. I felt proud when I got this stripe because I’ve been showing up regularly despite my commute, and showing up is how you learn and I’m here for it. I definitely intend to stick with this as long as I am physically capable of doing do so and I’m l loving the ride.