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Debating with your friends whoโ€™s the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach?

Helio Gracie, Carlos Gracie Jr., or Rickson Gracie?

Here is our list of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coaches:

  1. Helio Gracie
  2. Carlos Gracie Jr.
  3. Rickson Gracie
  4. Rigan Machado
  5. Royler Gracie
  6. Renzo Gracie
  7. Marcelo Garcia
  8. Andre Galvao
  9. Rorion Gracie
  10. John Danaher
  11. Fabio Gurgel

#1 Helio Gracie

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Credited with founding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; Grandmaster rank (10th degree red belt)
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: Early 20th century until his death in 2009
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Gracie Academy
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Helio Gracie is revered as one of the primary figures in the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Through adaptations of traditional Japanese judo and jiu-jitsu, he crafted a martial art that focused on leverage and technique, allowing smaller fighters to defeat larger opponents.

Helio’s influence on BJJ is immeasurable, as he was instrumental in spreading the art globally. His teachings formed the basis of modern BJJ and helped establish the Gracie family’s legacy in martial arts.

As the patriarch of the Gracie family, Helio’s direct instruction and mentorship produced numerous champion practitioners and instructors, solidifying his place as a foundational figure in the sport.

#2 Carlos Gracie Jr.

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Confederation; Founder of International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF)
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1970sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Gracie Barra
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Carlos Gracie Jr., the son of Carlos Gracie, is renowned for his contributions to the organization and regulation of the sport of BJJ. He founded the Gracie Barra Academy, which became one of the most successful BJJ schools in the world.

Through the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Confederation and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Carlos Jr. has been pivotal in the establishment of standardized rules and competitions for the sport, promoting its growth and recognition globally.

His legacy includes not only the coaching of elite competitors but also the nurturing of a generation of instructors who have propagated the Gracie Barra methodology and philosophy worldwide.

#3 Rigan Machado

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: 8th degree black and red belt; Multiple-time Pan American and Brazilian National Champion
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1980sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: N/A
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Rigan Machado, a member of the illustrious Machado family, is a highly respected figure in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a competitor, he amassed numerous titles and now holds an 8th-degree black and red belt.

Transitioning from competition to coaching, Rigan has trained many successful fighters and celebrities in BJJ, spreading his knowledge and expertise through seminars and his association.

His technical innovations and training methodology have greatly influenced the art, and his students have gone on to achieve significant competitive success under his guidance.

#4 Rickson Gracie

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Undefeated in professional MMA; Multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1970sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Rickson Gracie Academy
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Rickson Gracie, a legend in the BJJ community, is often considered one of the best fighters in the history of the sport. His record remains largely undefeated in both MMA and BJJ competition.

As a coach at his Rickson Gracie Academy, he has imparted his comprehensive approach to BJJ, emphasizing the traditional aspects and the spiritual side of the martial art.

Ricksonโ€™s status as a mythic figure in BJJ lore is enhanced by stories of his incredible technique and composure in the face of any challenge, making him an iconic coach and mentor.

#5 Royler Gracie

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Multiple-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion; ADCC Champion
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1980sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Gracie Humaitรก
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Royler Gracie hails from the esteemed Gracie family and is celebrated for his dominance in the lightweight division throughout his competitive BJJ career, with multiple world championships to his name.

As a coach, he continues the Gracie tradition through the Gracie Humaitรก academy, teaching the techniques and principles established by his forebears.

Roylerโ€™s influence extends beyond individual coaching achievements, having played a significant role in mentoring countless students worldwide who uphold the Gracie legacy in BJJ.

#6 Renzo Gracie

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Pioneer of BJJ in MMA; ADCC and World Combat Championship titles
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1990sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Renzo Gracie Academy
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Renzo Gracie is recognized as much for his fighting career as for his coaching. As part of the Gracie family, he has continued the tradition of BJJ and has been influential in its integration within the world of mixed martial arts (MMA).

His Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City is a hub for training both competitive fighters and practitioners looking to learn self-defense, with a curriculum that combines BJJ with a practical approach to real-world applications.

Renzoโ€™s charismatic personality and practical teaching style have amassed a loyal following of students and fighters, contributing to the wider appreciation of BJJ in combat sports.

#7 Marcelo Garcia

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Multiple-time ADCC World Champion; Multiple-time IBJJF World Champion
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: Early 2000sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu Academy
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Marcelo Garcia is admired for his exceptional competitive record, marked by victories in the most prestigious BJJ tournaments such as ADCC and IBJJF World Championships. His mastery is particularly noted in submissions like the rear-naked choke and the guillotine choke.

After a successful competition career, Garcia opened his own academy in New York, which has become renowned for producing top-level competitors and innovating BJJ techniques.

Marceloโ€™s teaching philosophy focuses on technique and leverage, advocating a style of jiu-jitsu that is both efficient and applicable for all body types, fostering an inclusive atmosphere for student growth.

#8 Andre Galvao

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Multiple-time ADCC and IBJJF World Champion; founded Atos Jiu-Jitsu
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: Early 2000sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Atos Jiu-Jitsu
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Andre Galvao stands as one of the most accomplished BJJ competitors of his generation, having secured numerous world titles in both gi and no-gi competitions. He is recognized for his dynamic and aggressive grappling style.

As a coach, he co-founded Atos Jiu-Jitsu, which quickly grew into one of the most successful and respected BJJ teams in the world, combining high-level technique and modern training methods.

Galvao’s influence extends to his ability to build champions across various weight divisions, and his academy is a testament to his coaching expertise and his dedication to the advancement of the sport.

#9 Rorion Gracie

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Co-founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC); Promoter of BJJ in the United States
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1970sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Gracie Academy (USA)
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Rorion Gracie is instrumental in introducing BJJ to a wider audience, particularly through his role in the creation of the UFC, where the effectiveness of BJJ was showcased on a global stage.

Besides his influence in MMA, Rorion has focused on teaching self-defense aspects of BJJ through Gracie Academy branches in the United States, adhering to the principles his father, Helio Gracie, emphasized.

As an educator and coach, Rorion has developed numerous programs and curriculums aimed at self-defense, ensuring BJJ remains accessible and practical for everyday individuals.

#10 John Danaher

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Renowned instructor at Renzo Gracie Academy; Coach to several BJJ and MMA champions
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1990sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Renzo Gracie Academy (New York)
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: New Zealand-born American

John Danaher, although not Brazilian by birth, is a pivotal figure in the modern BJJ scene, known for his extensive knowledge and analytical approach to the art. Under Renzo Gracie’s mentorship, he developed a deep understanding of the fighting system.

His coaching has produced elite competitors, particularly in no-gi grappling, with his students often displaying a high level of technical sophistication, especially in leg lock submissionsโ€”a testament to his cutting-edge methodology.

Danaher’s influence extends through his instructional videos and seminars, which have reshaped how BJJ practitioners approach training and competition, making his mark on the sport’s teaching and strategic development.

#11 Fabio Gurgel

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Co-founder of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu; 4-time IBJJF World Champion (Adult Division)
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: Late 1980sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Teams Coached: Alliance Jiu-Jitsu
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Brazilian

Fabio Gurgel, also known as “The General,” is one of the co-founders of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, one of the most prominent and successful BJJ teams in history. His individual competitive achievements set the foundation for his coaching career.

Under his guidance, Alliance has produced dozens of world champions and has become synonymous with excellence in BJJ training, thanks to his leadership and strategic vision.

Gurgel’s commitment to fostering a strong team culture and an emphasis on continuous improvement has solidified Allianceโ€™s reputation. His contributions to the sport have cemented his status as a legendary figure in BJJ coaching.

If you’re part of a team or starting one, generate a unique identity with our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team name generator.


Who is considered the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach of all time?

Rolls Gracie is often considered the greatest BJJ coach for innovating modern grappling techniques and shaping future champions.

Who was the most successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach?

Master Rickson Gracie is one of the most successful BJJ coaches, with a focus on discipline and technique transmitted to his elite students and fighters.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning โ€˜realโ€™ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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