|Born||November 10, 1983|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg; 13.9 st)|
|Fighting out of||Torrance, California, U.S.|
|Team||Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy|
|Rank||Gracie Jiu-Jitsu4th degree black belt in|
|Spouse||Eve Torres (m. 2014)|
Rener Gracie (born November 10, 1983) is an American fourth-degree black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, a head instructor at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and co-creator of Gracie University. He is the grandson of Helio Gracie, the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and the second eldest son of Rorion Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu in the United States. Rener has spent over twenty-five years at the Gracie Academy studying under Rorion and Helio Gracie. Rener and his brother, Ryron Gracie created Gracie University, an online martial arts learning center, and developed distance learning packages for the Academy's proprietary courses. Today, Gracie University has more than 100,000 active students in 196 countries offering tailored self-defense programs for men, women, and children. The curriculum includes Gracie Combatives, Gracie Bullyproof, Women Empowered, the Master Cycle, special instructor certification courses and courses for military and law enforcement professionals.
Early life and education
Rener was born on November 10, 1983, to Rorion and Suzanne Gracie. He has one older brother, Ryron Gracie, and two younger brothers, Ralek Gracie and Reylan, as well as one younger sister, Segina. He also has two half-sisters, Rose and Riane Gracie, from his father’s first marriage, and three half-brothers, Roran, Renon, and Ricon, from his father's third marriage.
Rener received his black belt in 2002 from Grand Master Helio Gracie. He competed in the 2003 Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championship and submitted three-time BJJ World Champion, Fabio Leopoldo with a triangle choke. Later that year, Rener participated in the first Southern California Pro-Am Invitational, a 16-man single elimination tournament with no time limits. Rener was the only one of 16 competitors to wear a gi. He won first place submitting all four of his opponents. His opponents were Joe Stevenson (UFC Fighter), Cassio Werneck (BJJ World Champion), Jason "Mayhem" Miller (UFC Fighter), and Tyrone Glover. In 2004, Rener retired from point-based sport jiu-jitsu competition to focus on the street self-defense aspect of jiu-jitsu.
Rener is best known for his abilities as a Gracie jiu-jitsu instructor and his role in popularizing jiu-jitsu using web-based distance learning programs. He started teaching Gracie jiu-jitsu when he was 13 years old and six years later assumed head instructor duty at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy with his brother, Ryron. He and his brother oversee all aspects of training and program development within an enterprise consisting of resident training at the World Headquarters in Torrance, California and a global network of Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Centers, extension training through the web-based Gracie University and DVDs, and on-site training for law enforcement and military personnel. The brothers completely revamped pre-existing Gracie Academy programs developed by their father and created several new ones to facilitate the export of their instruction through distance education and cadre training.
Rener and Ryron reorganized the techniques of Gracie jiu-jitsu into a curriculum. The first product of the restructuring was a refined, expanded version of a course developed by their father for military and law enforcement professionals called Gracie Combatives. Gracie Combatives prepares entry-level students to survive an attack by a larger, stronger assailant in a “street fight” in keeping with the Academy’s fundamental belief in using the family art for self-defense rather than as a sport. The course consists of 36 lessons covering the 70 techniques that are most commonly used in a real physical encounter. The brothers designed one version of the course for resident instruction at certified training centers and a second version for home study. The Gracie Academy awards a blue belt to graduates of the Gracie Combatives course.
In the second phase of the new curriculum, Rener and Ryron developed a structured path from blue belt to black belt by aligning the remaining Gracie jiu-jitsu techniques to progressively more complex courses collectively called The Master Cycle. The Master Cycle includes over one thousand techniques arranged in seven chapters focused on each of the six major positions in the art – mount, side mount, guard, half-guard, back mount, and standing – with a separate chapter for leg locks.
In addition to these foundational programs, the brothers designed several short courses to meet special needs. They expanded the women’s self-defense course developed by their father to include awareness practices, preventive measures, verbal tactics, and additional self-defense techniques. The new program, called Women Empowered, covers self-defense while standing or on the ground. The export version of the course features Ryron and Rener instructing with assistance from Eve Torres (WWE Diva) and Segina Gracie, their younger sister. The Gracie Academy awards a pink belt to graduates of the Women Empowered course.
Ryron and Rener created the Gracie Bullyproof course, a curriculum specially designed to teach children the verbal and physical skills needed to deal with bullies. CNN, NBC, Yahoo!, and Oprah.com have featured the program in segments on bullying for its emphasis on non-physical response and the lack of violence.
Ryron and Rener updated the instructor course for military and law enforcement professionals developed by their father to align it with the new Gracie Combatives format and to address suggestions from the field concerning some scenarios not included in the original instruction. The brothers teach the week-long course, renamed Gracie Survival Tactics, to a variety of military and law enforcement organizations. The instruction is the foundation for combatives techniques in many organizations, notably the U.S. Army.
In 2008, Ryron and Rener developed the Instructor Certification Program to meet their father’s stringent requirements for instructor certification. Requiring the passing of the blue belt test with a minimum score of 90 points, completion of 60-hours of online instructions, and a two-day live evaluation in Torrance. The Academy places candidates who pass the assessment on one-year probation during which they must complete the remaining requirements for certification. Certified instructors are eligible to operate Certified Training Centers.
The creation of Gracie University, an interactive martial arts instructional website designed for distance learning, is the brothers' most significant accomplishment as instructors and the backbone of the distance education division of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Gracie University had over 60,000 students from 196 countries registered for instruction through the website within three years of its launch in 2008. As of 2011, the Gracie Academy offers online instruction for all of its courses. Some jiu-jitsu practitioners have criticized the Academy for awarding belts through online instruction believing that a physical test is the only valid assessment of a student’s ability. The brothers acknowledge that hands-on instruction is superior to distance learning, but believe that the rigor and fidelity of their video evaluation system sustains a sufficiently high standard to justify the program – especially for students who lack access to resident instruction. Furthermore, a blue belt awarded by video evaluation is called "technical blue belt" indicating that the student has mastered the required techniques. An "official" Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt and all higher belts can only be awarded by a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu certified instructor following an extended, in-person evaluation of the student.
The availability of instruction that mirrors that provided to resident students at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and Certified Training Centers has led to a proliferation of “Gracie Garages.” Inspired by his father’s beginnings teaching in his garage, Rener created the "Gracie Garage" classification in order to help students network with one another in remote locations. A Gracie Garage is an unofficial at-home training center that follows the curriculum outlined on Gracie University and adheres to Academy standards.
The brothers’ use of YouTube to popularize Gracie jiu-jitsu through segments such as “The Gracie Way” and “The Gracie Breakdown” have garnered a large number of viewers. The Gracie Breakdowns are short commentaries on mixed martial arts bouts in which the brothers explain the techniques and strategies employed by the competitors. Their objective is to increase appreciation for Gracie jiu-jitsu and encourage viewers to learn the art. Ryron and Rener’s video analysis of a match between Fabrício Werdum and Fedor Emelianenko was one of YouTube's top viewed videos on June 28, 2010 and was featured on YouTube's home page earning it over 100,000 views in 24 hours. Since then, the Gracie Breakdowns have become the most popular Gracie videos on the web. Gracie breakdowns are now featured on UFC's weekly show 'UFC Ultimate Insider'.
Rener married his longtime partner, Eve Torres, in Santa Barbara, California on April 13, 2014. Eve is a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and a former WWE Diva but currently works as a spokeswoman and head instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered Self-defense program. They live in Torrance, California with their dog, Tioki (pronounced "cho-kee"). In March 2015 they announced that they are expecting their first child together in September.
- "Academy Instructors". Gracie Academy. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- "The MMA Hour Episode 121 Rener Gracie". MMAFighting.com. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
- "Rener Gracie Biography". gracieacademy.com.
- "Southern California Pro-Am Invitational". Retrieved April 7, 2010.
- "Gracie Combatives Course". gracieacademy.com.
- "The Master Cycle". gracieacademy.com.
- "Women Empowered Course". Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Fighting Back Against Bullies". CNN. October 6, 2010.
- "Gracie Survival Tactics Course". gracieacademy.com.
- U.S. Army Field Manual, Combatives, FM 3–25.150. US Army.
- "Instructor Certification Program". gracieacademy.com.
- "Rener Gracie Interview". tapoutlive.com. December 27, 2011.
- "Gracie Garage Overview". gracieuniversity.com.
- Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy
- Gracie University
- Gracie Kids
- Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy MySpace
- Rener Gracie on Twitter
- Gracie Brothers on Twitter
- Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy at YouTube
- Gracie Breakdown at YouTube