How to Find and Choose the Best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy

Professor Brian Ruscio and the Grappling Mastery Team showing support at the Fighting for the Cure BJJ Seminar in Orlando Florida

If you are new to Grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, also known as BJJ, how do you choose the right school to join?  I’m going to assume that you may not live near our Mount Dora location or any future location we may open.  Grappling Mastery opened in 2013 and since then, running my own school (previous to that I helped run a Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu Academy in Orlando), I realized a couple things.  These things are important to check into before joining a new academy.  Choosing the right BJJ Academy is important to your ability to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu effectively.  Joining the wrong school can waste your time or even get you hurt.  Sometimes it can even set you backwards in your progress as you learn improper techniques and strategies.

Your Perspective is your own.  The main thing is that “you”, potential members, are coming in blind.  You may or may not have ever trained in martial arts before, particularly, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).  This means a few things.  First, you have no idea what “good” technique, or for that matter, what “Great” technique is.  If I put a legit blue belt (2nd belt after white) to “roll”, or spar, with you and said they were a “Black Belt” you wouldn’t know the difference.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  As a new martial artist you would simply be overwhelmed by the blue belt, and assume they are excellent. Don’t assume someone being good or better than you means they are good enough to teach you.  This person will be your mentor for a very long time and the decision is very important.

Skill level of the students.  The students are a reflection of the instructor.  Don’t believe everything you are told.  The mats don’t lie.  There are huge gaps between the skill level of each belt.  You shouldn’t see lower belts beating higher belts regularly.  A White belt tapping a Purple Belt or higher doesn’t mean the white belt should be promoted, it means the Purple Belts rank should be questioned.  Belts aren’t to be handed out like candy.  Belts are earned.  Does the instructor compete.  Do the members compete.  Do research on the tournaments. Are they small, in house, or local tournaments? Or are they larger, more prestigious tournaments, where more challenging competitors choose to test themselves?

Is your Instructor a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt according to the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation?Research the Instructors Lineage.  Where did he learn his skills.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed by Carlos and Helio Gracie after being taught by Mitsuyo Maeda (Count Coma).  The lineage should start there and be able to be traced to your instructor.  Usually the closer to the source the better the lineage.  An example of a good lineage can be found in Grappling Mastery.  After Carlos Gracie Sr. is his son, Carlos Gracie Jr., then Marcio Simas, who is Brian Ruscio’s Instructor.  If an instructor doesn’t have a solid lineage that is a red flag. Again, do your research.  Another red flag is when someone “bounced around” and hasn’t been with the same instructor.  There are cases to be made for when someone moves out of state, etc. But if the person in question has been local the entire time, why wouldn’t he stay with someone from beginning to end?

Teams & Affiliations. Similar to lineage, an Instructors team or affiliation should go hand in hand with their lineage.  The Professor who awards your Instructor with his belt is his lineage and they are usually part of a team. Some examples are Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu, Alliance, Fight Sports, among many others.  There are exceptions, like costs of being affiliated or franchising, however, other than that an instructor should be proud to represent the team that taught him everything he/she knows.  For example, here at Grappling Mastery, Professor Brian Ruscio is a Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Master, Marcio Simas in Orlando, Florida.  We have had offers from several other schools to become affiliated with them and turned them down immediately without question.  We feel there is no reason to claim affiliation with a team that didn’t have a part in our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lineage and education.

Affiliation hopping is a red flag!  Did the instructor get his Black Belt from the team they claim affiliation from?  Affiliation hopping is when a person doesn’t stay with the same instructor or affiliate without a legitimate reason.  This is usually because they have done something the instructor of affiliation doesn’t approve of and they get kicked out or even stripped of their black belt!  Beware of affiliate hoppers.  People will sometimes pay for an affiliation just to display some sort of credibility, even though they didn’t get their Black Belt from that lineage.

Research the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation.  Local and Federal Government doesn’t keep track of an Instructor who claims to be a Black Belt.  The could literally lie about it their rank just so they can run a school, or be rewarded rank falsely by another just to collect affiliate fees from them.  So who is here to protect consumers?  It’s the IBJJF, International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation.  They are established to keep track of a Black Belts lineage. The only way to be accredited by the IBJJF is to have an accredited IBJJF 2nd Degree Black Belt sign off on your application. So each person in the instructors lineage would have to be an Official IBJJF Black Belt for them to appear on the IBJJF Black Belts Database.  The academy should also be registered with the IBJJF in their Database of IBJJF Recognized Schools.

There are Black Belts, and then there are BLACK BELTS.  Huh? what?  Basically, getting a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu should never be an easy feat. Or what is it really worth in the first place?  However, even at that level, there are “normal” Black Belts, “good” Black Belts, and “Great” Black Belts.  This goes back to competition.  Do your research. Try not to go in blind.  What has your potential instructor won.  Has he proven himself against other Black Belts in actual high level tournaments? This is not a must, but the mats don’t lie.

Quality of Instruction.  Just because someone wears a “Black Belt” doesn’t mean they are good.  Just because they are “good” doesn’t mean they are a great instructor.  I’ve had over a dozen wrestling coaches and met some great jiu jitsu instructors and athletes in my life. Through various housing moves as a child and have seen the good, great, and downright bad coaches in my life.  The best coaches explain everything in detail.  All the way down to finger positions and which way to look with your eyes (yes, it can be that important of a detail).  Does the instructor give each member individual time or does he get on his phone in between techniques? How well does he answer questions?  Does he get upset when someone questions a technique or does he take the criticism and give a satisfactory response?

Reputation in the BJJ Community.  Ask people who would know firsthand.  These are people who already train in neighboring cities that would know about your potential instructor.  Don’t ask schools that are close enough to be competition. But make sure they are close enough that it’s possible they have old members that have moved there or from there and have heard stories about the gym and instructor.  BJJ is a tight community and they want new people to have the best experience possible. They will be happy to recommend where you should or should not train.

Research if the instructor has a criminal record.  The IBJJF makes this easy since every potential Black Belt must pass a background check. However, it still doesn’t hurt to make a quick search for “Instructors Name Here, Mugshot” or take it a step further and do your own background check.  Remember, this person is going to be spending time with you, your wife possibly, and your kids.  He or she is a role model, whether they like it or not, and should represent what you want yourself and your family to become.  A black belt with a criminal record is a red flag.

Feeling Good about a potential school? Give it a trial.  Call and ask about their trial classes.  Go try it out.  See what the members think.  Most should be happy and friendly.  If they are not, that’s another red flag.  They shouldn’t be trying to prove anything to you.  Remember you are a newbie.  Why would they have to show you how fast they can beat you.  Remember, anyone can put on a show for one day.  At Grappling Mastery we offer a Free 30 Days to everyone!  You want to go back at different times. Watch classes, participate in classes, get every perspective you can.  If members are not ecstatic about training there, it’s a red flag.  I mean, they pay to be there.  Which brings me to the next subject.

Class Format and Curriculum. Are the classes organized and can the instructor provide a curriculum and/or list of moves that you will be learning?  Is there ample time to drill techniques or are students thrown into sparring scenarios without a chance to get a few moves under their belt first.  This is a quick way to get hurt.  Imagine doing takedown training and never being shown how to perform any takedowns or even worse, not knowing the proper way to break a fall.

Contracts?  It’s normal for gyms and martial arts schools to have contracts.  If they offer a month to month plan, it’s generally a good idea to go with that so you don’t get stuck in something you need to get out of.  At Grappling Mastery, we only have a month to month, no contract option.  That’s because we know you will love it and stay.  We don’t need to keep anyone bound to us by paper, just great classes!

Friendliness & Trustworthy? BJJ is addictive.  You will experience improvements in your confidence, fitness, stress levels and so much more.  You will want to spend more and more time at the academy.  You will end up developing relationships with your teammates and meet new people all the time.  For this reason, it will be important that the people you meet at the academy are sincere and genuine in their intentions.  Someone seeming like a nice person is not enough.  BJJ is a martial art that deals with very dangerous positions and if you are “rolling”, or sparring with someone they have the opportunity to severely hurt you.  You need to have 100% trust in your partners at the academy.  I’ve heard numerous horror stories about people rolling with someone and was injured by them, later realizing that the person was sent by the instructor to “teach them a lesson”.

Beware of Toxic Environments and Cultlike Atmospheres!  It’s an unfortunate fact that owning a martial arts business gives manipulative people a powerful position to find victims.  I’ve heard countless stories of instructors doing inappropriate things to younger students.  Instructors sending their “disciples” to hurt students that made them unhappy.  Coercing students to pay for things the instructor should be paying for, lending money to them, or even promising quicker promotions in rank/belt by doing favors for the instructor.  There are certain codes or conduct, or rules of etiquette in any martial art but schools with a cult-like, or manipulative mentality take this many steps too far.  Forcing you to feel outcast, or “not part of the team” if you choose not to follow along. Rules that seem simple and harmless can lead a manipulative instructors “subjects” into a downward spiral of feeling under their thumb, and helpless, and likens itself to an abusive, toxic relationship.  The student even fears leaving the school for the chance they may see their old instructor around town.

Environment. How do the students treat each other? Are there cliques? Or does everyone get along.  Do they respect the instructor and each other. How do they treat new people.  How do experienced students treat the inexperienced ones?  Do they dominate them, or do they try to help them get better?

Cleanliness!  This is a contact sport. The mats should be extremely clean!  No shoes allowed on the mats, no food, no drink.  Members should have clean uniforms (Gi) and should never stink.  There are many skin conditions that can be shared between people in close contact.  I’m proud to say that I’ve been told many times by visitors and sponsors of athletes at Grappling Mastery that we have the cleanest gym anyone has seen.  We keep a foot cleaning station at the door before people get on the mats and one by the bathroom for people on the way out.

Read Reviews.  Most schools have Reviews on Yelp, Google Plus, Facebook, and other sites.  Do your research and look for well thought out reviews.

Visit 3-5 schools and don’t accept any hard sales pitches.  They should be confident enough to let you explore your options and think about whether you want to join or not.  Like stated above, you may want to visit some that are not in your area just to get a good image of what there is out there or even see what they know about the one you plan on joining.

Professor Brian Ruscio earns his First Degree Promotion on his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

IBJJF/USBJJF First Degree Black Belt Card of Professor Brian Ruscio
IBJJF/USBJJF First Degree Black Belt Card of Professor Brian Ruscio
IBJJF/USBJJF First Degree Black Belt Card of Professor Brian Ruscio

Professor Brian Ruscio recently met all requirements and earned his First Degree and Stripe on his BJJ Black Belt.  On average it takes 10 years to earn a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  For some it takes much longer, and others it takes less.  Brian Ruscio earned his Black Belt 7 years after starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He credits his mat awareness, balance, base, and understanding of fundamental positions he learned from USA Wrestling since an early age for his quick understanding and improvement in the sport of BJJ.  It helped him understand what to look for when his instructors were demonstrating the techniques.  It didn’t take him long to recognize that a fight didn’t end when someone was on their back, and unlike wrestling, the match keeps going.  He fell in love with the sport and the ability to be even more creative with his techniques and strategy.  BJJ goes beyond Wrestling in that aspect and quickly became a passion for him.

Professor Brian Ruscio earned his Black Belt in September of 2012 at Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu, from Marcio Simas.  He was even awarded special recognition from Marcio Simas.  Professor Brian Ruscio is an International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and United States Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (USBJJF) recognized Black Belt.

According to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Guidelines, once a person achieves the rank of Black Belt they must do the following to earn their first degree:

  • Athlete must have a Black Belt awarded by a 2nd degree Black Belt certified by the IBJJF
  • Contribute to the Art/Sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for at least 3 years after Graduation, examples are competing, teaching, and refereeing.
  • Maintain CPR Certification
  • Maintain Affiliation with the IBJJF
  • Keep up to date on the rules set forth by the Federation by attending the most recent Rules Seminar.
  • Must pass a Background Check

What’s Next?

Professor Ruscio now has his sights set on his second degree.  To him this will be the most important because at 2nd degree Black Belt he will have the ability to promote his students to Black Belt.  As a student of Professor Ruscio at Grappling Mastery students will have their BJJ Belt recognized by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation!  Abiding by the Federation Guidelines is an important part of maintaining the integrity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a martial art and representing your academy as a legitimate place to train.  It also allows students to compete at some of the most prestigious BJJ tournaments.

The following are the Ranks of Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

  • Black Belt (read how to get your Black Belt in BJJ)
  • First Degree Black Belt (3 years as Black Belt and req. above)
  • Second Degree Black Belt (3 years as First Degree)
  • Third Degree Black Belt (3 years as Second Degree)
  • Fourth Degree Black Belt (5 years as Third Degree)
  • Fifth Degree Black Belt (5 years as Fourth Degree)
  • Sixth Degree Black Belt (5 years as Fifth Degree)
  • Seventh Degree Red & Black Coral Belt (MASTER) (7 years as Sixth Degree)
  • Eighth Degree Red & White Coral Belt (MASTER) (7 years as Red & Black Coral)
  • Ninth Degree Red Belt (GRAND MASTER) (10 years as Red & White Coral)
  • Tenth Degree Red Belt (This Belt was reserved for the Founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Carlos Gracie Sr., Gastão Gracie, George Gracie, Oswaldo Gracie, and Hélio Gracie)

Is your Instructor a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt according to the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation?

 

International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation recognizes Grappling Mastery

We are proud to be Recognized by the IBJJF and just received our Certificate of Registration for our new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy located in Mount Dora!

Is your Instructor a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt according to the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation?

The IBJJF, or International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation is the Official Federation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Federations, in Martial Arts, provide legitimacy to a schools lineage.  Anybody can “buy” a Black Belt.  The Federal and State governments don’t have time to go around and check every martial art school to see if the instructor is really who they say they are when they start teaching.  It is the federations job to ensure that the Belt was truly earned by training with other legitimate Instructors, and so on throughout the students lineage.  A student should be able to trace his lineage throughout the federations records.  Students should also be able to have their rank and hard works recognized by an official organization!  Register with IBJJF

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There are many benefits to schools and their students for abiding by the federation designated for their martial art:

“It’s the right thing to do!”

The athletes registered with IBJJF will have their graduation recognized by an official sport organization. Keeping the athlete’s registration valid and accurate helps IBJJF to preserve the competitor’s record as an athlete or Professor.

In order to register and compete at IBJJF Tournaments certain athletes must have a valid membership Id:

  • All  kids and Juvenile Athletes (17 years old and younger);
  • Brown belt athletes;
  • Black belt athletes
  • All belts Brazilian residents (CBJJ)
  • All belts Italian residents (UIJJ)
  • All belts Portuguese residents (FPJJB)
  • All athletes that wish to compete in tournaments held in Brazil

 

How to become a “Master” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

To earn the title of Master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one must achieve the Red and Black, Coral Belt

What entitles someone to be called “Master” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Becoming a “Master” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a long and rewarding journey. We have outlined the Guidelines to becoming a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) here.  But what is required to earn the coveted title of “Master” in BJJ?

First let’s answer a few common questions about Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

  1. Why is there a patch or bar on the belt? The bar is the place that the degrees are to be placed.  You may be aware of this already since most colored BJJ Belts and sometimes White BJJ Belts have a Black Patch/Bar for stripe placement.
  2. Why do some Black Belts have a White Patch/Bar and some Black Belts have a Red Patch/Bar?  The White Patch or Bar on a Black Belt signifies the Black Belt is a student or fighter.  The Red Patch or Bar signifies that the Black Belt is an Instructor.
  3. What are those white stripes that “frame” the red bar, and why do some instructors have the white framing stripes while some don’t?  The White Stripes that “frame” the Red Bar or Patch on a Black Belt signify that the Instructor or Professor owns the BJJ Academy or School.
  4. What do I call the Black Belts in my BJJ Academy?  This differs depending on the school and sometimes the individual.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a modern martial art and in some ways less traditional than others.  Formal greetings are always appropriate. Sir is usually a safe bet.  It’s best to err on the side of respect.  If the Black Belt says… “just call me…. ‘preferred salutation'”, then you can go with that.
  5. How should I address my teacher?  “Professor“.  Unless they qualify for the title of “Master“, then you should call them “Professor, Firstname/Lastname” (depending on their preference).  There are exceptions, as noted in IBJJF Guidelines Article 6.3 below.  It basically states that IF THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH BLACK BELTS IN THE REGION, that they may approve certain purple and brown belts to sign as Instructors.  Therefore, they should be referred to as “Instructor, Firstname/Lastname” (depending on their preference).
  6. When can a Professor promote his first Black Belt?  According to IBJJF Guidelines Article 6.2 below, an athlete can only be promoted to Black Belt by an Instructor with at least a 2nd Degree Black Belt. (We outline how to achieve 2nd Degree Black Belt later.  Essentially they must be a Black Belt and teaching for at least 6 years.)

ARTICLE 6 – PROFESSORS AND INSTRUCTORS
6.1 The membership form of an athlete graded in belts of gray, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and brown must be signed by
an IBJJF affiliated black belt.

6.2 The graduation of an athlete to black belt can only be signed by a black belt instructor that promoted them and must have at
least 2 degrees certified by IBJJF.

6.3 In countries or regions where there are not enough black belts for the development of the sport, IBJJF will accept purple belt and brown belt athletes to sign as instructors. Once the minimum number is reached, the use of instructor status will be suspended.

6.31 Brown belt instructors can only graduate athletes to purple belt and purple belt instructors can only graduate athletes to blue belt.

Important Note: Belt Promotions are to be given by IBJJF Certified Instructors & Professors Only!

So how does one become a “MASTER” or “GRANDMASTER?

To be called a Master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you must achieve the “Coral Belt”.  The Coral Belt is a Rank awarded by the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) when you achieve the 7th degree as a Black Belt.  Carlos Gracie Jr. is an example of a BJJ Master.  Below you will find a link to a List of Masters in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

How do you earn stripes or degrees as a Black Belt?  Once you are a Black Belt, your Professor no longer awards degrees or stripes.  You must continue to learn and contribute to the sport by attending classes, teaching, competing, or refereeing.  Subsequent ranks are awarded by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation.  Each degree is awarded by applying to the IBJJF after the respective amount of years below:

  1. The 1st Degree is awarded after 3 years of receiving the Black Belt
  2. The 2nd Degree is awarded 3 years after receiving the 1st Degree. If an instructor, they are now granted the ability to promote others to Black Belt.
  3. The 3rd Degree is awarded 3 years after receiving the 2nd Degree
  4. The 4th Degree is awarded 5 years after receiving the 3rd Degree
  5. The 5th Degree is awarded 5 years after receiving the 4th Degree
  6. The 6th Degree is awarded 5 years after receiving the 5th Degree
  7. The 7th Degree is awarded 7 years after receiving the 6th Degree and the Black Belt is switched to a Red and Black (aka Coral) Belt and earns the BJJ Practitioner the Title, “Master”
  8. The 8th Degree is awarded 7 years after receiving the Coral Belt and the Red and Black Belt is exchanged for a Red and White Belt. This rank is also titled, “Master”
  9. The 9th Degree is awarded 10 years after receiving the 8th Degree and the Title, “Grand Master” is achieved and the Red and White Belt is exchanged for a Red Belt.
  10. The 10th Degree is a rank that is currently reserved only to the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracie brothers: Carlos Sr., Oswaldo, George, Gaston, and Helio Gracie

To be called “Master” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you must contribute to the sport of BJJ for 31 years as a Black Belt, achieve Coral Belt and adhere to the IBJJF Guidelines.

To earn the title of Master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one must achieve the Red and Black, Coral Belt
To earn the title of Master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one must achieve the Red and Black, Coral Belt

To be called “Grand Master” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you must contribute to the sport of BJJ for 48 years as a Black Belt, achieve Red Belt and adhere to the IBJJF Guidelines.

To earn the title of Grand Master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one must achieve the Red Belt
To earn the title of Grand Master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one must achieve the Red Belt

Is there a list of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Grand Masters?  We’ve compiled a list here we’ve gathered from various reputable sources:

Here is a List of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Red Belt Grand Masters and Coral Belt Masters:

Here is a list of BJJ Black Belt Athletes, Fighters, and Professors

For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Subscribe to the Grappling Community below!

Which is the Best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team?

Recently the Top 10 Competitive BJJ Teams were ranked by Jiu Jitsu Times and we are not surprised by the results.  Our Lineage, Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu was ranked #1, as the top BJJ Team!  Here are the official results for the best BJJ Schools.

As found on JiuJitsuTimes.com

There are many high level teams competing in the IBJJF tournaments. Here are the Top 10 teams in the IBJJF based on their team performances in IBJJF events from January 2014 to February 2015. The rankings were determined by Top 3 team finishes at IBJJF tournaments which includes Adult Men, Adult Women, Kids, Juvenile, Novice, and Masters divisions. Placing in the Men’s and Women’s Adult Divisions was weighted heavier than the other divisions. The Grand Slam Tournaments (Worlds, Pans, European Open, and Brazilian Nationals) in Both Gi and NoGi were also weighted heavier than other regional tournaments on the IBJJF circuit. You can view the spreadsheet with the data by clicking here.

Here are the Top 10 BJJ Teams in the IBJJF.

1. Gracie Barra: Won numerous divisions at Worlds, NoGi Worlds, European Open, and Brazilian Nationals to clinch the top spot in the rankings. The team also won the overall titles including American Nationals Gi and NoGi, Floripa Open, Houston Open, Las Vegas Spring Open,  London Open Gi and NoGi, Long Beach Pro, Munich Fall and Winter Opens, Paris Open, Rome Open, and Seattle Open.

2. Alliance: Won Men’s Adult Divisions Worlds, Brazilian Nationals, and European Open. The Women’s Adult team took home first place at Worlds, Pans, and Brazilian Nationals. Also won Adult Men’s division at NoGi Pans and Adult Women’s division at NoGi Worlds.

3. CheckMat: Took first place Adult Female and Novice divisions at the European Open. Won overall titles at Copenhagen Gi and NoGi Opens, Paris NoGi Open, and Zadar Open.

4. Atos: Captured first placed Men’s Adult title at Pans and NoGi Worlds. Also took home the gold at the Pan Kids event in both 2014 and 2015. Finished second in the Men’s Adult  division at Worlds. Also captured the overall team titles at American Nationals Kids, IBJJF Kids International Open, and the San Francisco Open.

5. Nova Uniao: Won the Masters, Novice and Kid’s Divisions at Brazilian Nationals. Also took home the overall team championships at the Boston Spring Open, Las Vegas Summer Open, Masters International Open, and Rio International Open.

6. GF Team: Took home the overall team titles at the Brazilian Team Title and Rio Pro events. The Men’s and Women’s Adult teams both finished in third place at Brazilian Nationals.

7. PSLPB Cicero Costha: Women’s Adult team finished in first place at NoGi Pans and third at NoGi Worlds. The team also finished first in the Men’s Adult division at the South America Open and second at the European Open.

8. Brasa: Won first place overall at the Chicago Spring NoGi Open and the Chicago Summer Gi and NoGi Open. Finished 2nd in the Men’s Adult division at NoGi Worlds and 3rd in the Men’s Adult division at the European Open.

9. Carlson Gracie: Finished first overall in the Chicago Spring Open in the Gi and in third place in the NoGi division. At the Chicago Summer Open, the team finished second overall in both the Gi and NoGi divisions.

10. Gracie Elite Team: At Worlds, Gracie Elite finished in first place in the Novice division and second place in the Juvenile. Finished third at Pans in the Juvenile and Masters divisions.

Honorable mentions:

Ribeiro, Bruno Bastos Association, Impacto Japan, Renzo Gracie, Roger Gracie, Gracie Humaita, Icon, Brazilian Top Team, Roberto Traven, and Team Lloyd Irvin