Modern mixed martial arts owes its existence to the Gracie Family, notably Helio's line. Helio developed the technique of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His son Rorion popularized it. Now Rorion's sons, Rener and Ryron, have taken it upon themselves to educate people about BJJ.
Controversially, part of that process is their online courses, in which they award rank via video. After just six years, their Gracie University reportedly has 90,000 students in nearly 200 countries. The practice has received wide criticism, including most recently from their uncle, UFC Hall of Famer Royce.
Royce made his feelings clear when he shared on his Instragram account a statement from manager Mike Kogan:
“I wonder if Gracie Academy Students paying $200 know that all they need to get good at jiu-jitsu is to join online Gracie University. I find it ironic that worlds like Gracie and Online learning are somehow tied into worlds like Helio Gracie. It’s a shame when your own family changes the concepts of everything you stood for then uses your name and then is actually tying to convince the world that it’s better to learn from a screen then a person specially the art as complex and technical as jiujitsu. And on keepingitplayful. Helio Gracie has a saying “two men playing I smell blood” #ikeepithonest. @realroyce”
?Royce then posted on the subject directly, again, via Instagram.
"With all due respect, our nephew's curriculums and online programs are not a true representation of the teaching method, belt grading, and philosophy that we learned from our father, Grandmaster Helio Gracie. They have the right to modify our battle-tested jiu-jitsu system as they see fit, but we feel that it is our duty to ensure that our father's name is not misrepresented. While videos, books and online resources may serve as supplements to jiu-jitsu practitioners, provenly, they can never, by any means, substitute live lessons in a qualified academy."
In an interview with Tatame, Rener offered a defense of the practice, saying it is an fact a superior alternative to learning BJJ in an actual academy.
"Some people do not understand that online study is even more effective than learning in the traditional classroom," said Rener, via Google Translate.