THE MASTER CYCLE
Beyond blue belt, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu consists of hundreds of advanced techniques, all of which we have organized into a clearly defined, systematic curriculum called the Master Cycle. In order to streamline the learning process, we have divided all the techniques in the Master Cycle into seven Positional Chapters: Mount, Side Mount, Guard, Half Guard, Back Mount, Leg Locks, and Standing. For more detailed learning, we further divided each positional chapter into 2-4 specialized subsections.
In the Gracie Combatives course, the objective is to give the students a broad understanding of the essential principles and techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. In the Master Cycle course, the objective is to take each student from basic understanding to positional mastery by dedicating 8-16 weeks to the study of each chapter before moving on to the next. By spending such a prolonged period of time on the specialized study of one position, students learn several closely related techniques. This enables them to “connect the dots” more effectively than if they were learning random techniques, from random positions, every day of the week. This type of scrambled learning, although entertaining in the short term, greatly increases the amount of time it takes for the students to master each position.
The secret to success as a Master Cycle group class student is disciplined attendance. Since we will dedicate a finite number of weeks to the study of each position before moving on to the next, the students who benefit most are those who attend class most often during each chapter. Students understand that once we complete a chapter, we will not repeat the instruction until we have cycled through the other six chapters. Each time a student recycles through the 7 chapters they have the chance to learn new techniques as well as strengthen and expand their foundation of existing skills. This cyclic process continues for several years until the student becomes a master in every position of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, one of several prerequisites for promotion to black belt.