Although I’ve already earned my 2nd stripe on my Blue Belt, recently I’ve been training for my official Blue Belt Stripe 1 (BBS1) test. I know the Gracie University online curriculum is criticized by many – but that’s probably only because they haven’t seen it, tried it, or drilled it to the expectations of the official test. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of dedication, attention to detail, and practice.

Some people have asked me – why bother getting an official stripe when you’re already ahead? Well, my decision to complete this curriculum doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual stripe. Rather it has to do with the knowledge I gain and the reflexes I develop through such a detailed and focused study of techniques.

The BBS1 curriculum covers specific moves – controls, escapes, submissions, and submission counters – from 7 different positions [mount, side mount, guard, half-guard, back mount, leg locks, and standing]. Drilling techniques covering such a wide repertoire at least gives me exposure to various techniques.

I know that over time you begin to develop your own game. You start to have go-to moves and you have preferred techniques and positions. I think, however, when you’re at an early stage of learning (like I am), it’s a good idea to give yourself as much exposure as possible before you settle down to defining your game.

Drilling my BBS1 official moves has been a great experience. Hours each weekend are spent drilling in the garage. It’s so amazing how many details are involved in moves that look so simple – it’s never simple. Each technique involves a perfect balance of pressure, the right angle, perfect body positioning, and the ability to read your opponent’s indicator. What I really love is seeing how different techniques are reflexively entering my rolls. Moreover, I am expanding my knowledge of the universal principles that can be applied from different positions. It’s a lot of work, but it’s all very exciting!


drilling different guard pass variations