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Gracie University

EXPCON 2023 kicked off on Monday with energetic and inspirational situational awareness and defense training sessions led by the world-renowned Gracie University, celebrated for its comprehensive approach to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that emphasizes empowerment and confidence.

eXp World Holdings Founder Glenn Sanford (far right) gives opening remarks at the Gracie University defense training class.

With 32% of agents reporting they have experienced fear when meeting clients in secluded locations, the need for safety training cannot be underestimated. eXp Realty met that need with three 90-minute situational awareness and defense training sessions led by martial artists and co-founders of Gracie University, Ryron and Rener Gracie on Oct. 2.

Eve and Rener Gracie demonstrate how to defend against a potential predator.

“We wanted to address the question: ‘How can we be better Realtors and people,’” said Glenn Sanford, founder and CEO of eXp Realty as he opened the first session. “Martial arts has been part of my life for 27 years, and it not only teaches valuable self-defense techniques but also instills self-assurance in every participant.”

To help agents navigate the often unpredictable situations they find themselves in, the sessions focused on how to approach every scenario with confidence while prioritizing safety. 

Rener Gracie teaches an EXPCON attendee how to safely escape a chokehold. 

“Our goal is to take everything you thought you knew about self-defense and turn it around to give you a new way of thinking,” said Rener Gracie. The brothers then gave attendees detailed instruction and defense tools for working through common situations they might find themselves in. The classes catered to those of all backgrounds and skill levels.

“In our industry, empowerment is key. It’s not just about physical defense, it’s about walking into every situation with confidence and assurance,” said Glenn. “This collaboration underscores our dedication to fostering that among our agents.”

An EXPCON attendee practices her defense stance with Rener Gracie.
A Gracie University instructor practices defense techniques with EXPCON attendees.

eXp Communications Director Jennifer Zimmerman practices her defense techniques with a Gracie instructor.

Robyn Schamberger, an eXp Realty agent from Forest Grove, Oregon, took part in the class and was impressed.

“The class was awesome. I learned some great skills to apply and hope to learn more in the future.”

Her colleague, Briana Cleland concurred. “I just took the Gracie University Jiu-Jitsu class and learned lots of interesting moves to better help protect myself in the industry and am excited to learn more.”


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