Table of Contents
What's Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Like? - This article is part of a series.
What is the Master Cycle?
Within Gracie Jiu Jitsu the Master Cycle is your ongoing journey from Combatives belt to Black belt. They Master Cycle consist of 600+ techniques broken across seven chapters. Techniques from a single chapter are studied for multiple months with the number of months varied because the number of sub-chapters in each chapter. For example the Guard chapter has six sub-chapters, and the Half Guard only has two sub-chapters. I know, you would think there would be three sub-chapters because it’s the Half Guard chapter - I digress. It can take around two years to cover all seven chapters. This can be a problem if you only focus on learning techniques while attending class, so some outside study is required on your part if you want to acquire a fundamental understanding of a technique you only drilled for one class.
Another aspect of the Master Cycle are “technical” stripes for each belt. These are just like traditional strips except you have to demonstrate roughly 120 techniques from each of the stripe levels. This is similar to the Combatives test in that you’ll film yourself performing a series of drills and submitting the video to Gracie University Headquarters for evaluation. Once you pass, you’ll get a stripe that something like BBS1 or whatever belt stripe you tested for that you sew onto your belt. You can earn traditional stripes but the requirements are a little vague. From my CTC instructor I was told it’s based on attending a minimum number of classes and evaluation of skill from a certified instructor.
I like the idea of having to demonstrate you know a number of techniques, but I’m not absolutely certain I’ll go this route do to not having a training partner outside of class to focus on techniques needed to pass the strip test. However, I’m unsure how I feel about the traditional stripe route. I wouldn’t want the stripe if it were awarded only attendance alone, so some form of evaluation of my skill would be a must in my eyes. I’m still working on getting my blue belt based on the traditional stripe model, so we’ll see in a few months if it was awarded based on my attendance or a skill assessment.
My Thoughts on the Master Cycle
Thus far I’ve enjoyed my time in the Master Cycle. It was a little overwhelming at first when I quickly released that everyone knew all the counters for the techniques taught in Combatives. Rolling at first wasn’t fun. I must have been tapped at least fifty times the first few weeks. It’s interesting rolling depending on what discipline we’re focusing on. Gi, No-Gi, and Fight Simulation all have their own unique aspects. With the Gi there is so much you can do with the thing and I undoubtedly enjoy this the most. During our Fight Simulation days, survival is key. It’s amazing how much you need to focus on protecting yourself even when going against a trained opponent who knows jiu jitsu. It certainly a different mindset. As for No-Gi, I’m not as big of a fan as I thought I would be. Controlling people is more difficult than I initially anticipated. I look forward to the next few months as I work towards my blue belt and look forward to the next chapter in my Jiu-Jitsu journey.