from the UG, original post here: http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/?go=forum.posts&thread=1482225&forum=11&page=1&pc=13 Post 1/2 When Ari contacted me about affiliation I didn't have any affiliates yet, he and Brandon ended up being my first 2. I admit, I didn't have any idea how I would run this satellite program at first. I knew that Jorge Gurgel had 12 schools and I remember thinking I should ask him how he manages it all. How am I gonna rank these affiliates and their students if they are hundreds of miles away? Online? Do I make them fly out to LA to rank them? Through videos? Before I go any further with the affiliation process, I have to explain exactly how my ranking system works. Back when I first opened my school I had a lot of decisions to make about how I was gonna rank people in my no-gi system. Do I honor traditional bjj belts? Since my style has no collar chokes and no sleeve and jacket pulling sweeps how will my ranking be accepted in bjj? Do I even really care? So many questions I needed answers to. A 10th planet black belt can have zero knowledge of gi submissions/passes/sweeps, so how the hell can he be accepted as a traditional bjj black belt? What do I do if a traditional bjj black belt who doesn't know the rubber guard, the twister variations, and the lockdown half guard wants to join my affiliation? There is no way I can have a 10thpjj black belt who doesn't have all that mastered, so how do I do this? How can a pure no-gi style that is based on the rubber guard, the twister and the lockdown with absolutely no collar and sleeve techniques be ranked in the same way as a style that is primarily based in collar and sleeve techniques with no rubber guard, lockdown and twister? It started to become clear to me that the 10thpjj style was it's own separate system that would eventually totally separate from it's base style. But even though my style was moving further and further away from bjj I decided to keep the ranking colors and system the same instead of changing color order or adding colors, afterall my style is rooted in traditional bjj, so why not keep the belt system as certificates of rank? I also decided to honor all belt rankings from bjj at face value except black. If you came into my system a blue belt you would be a blue in my system, if you came in a purple you would be a purple in my system too. But if you came in a black belt, I would consider you a brown in 10thpjj. You would get your black once you mastered the rubber guard, the twister and the lockdwon series. I knew that things would probably need some serious tweaking as the association grew but I wasn't sure exactly how it was all gonna unfold. I never started my own jiu jitsu federation before, it was beginning to get a little overwhelming. Since I was accepting traditional bjj ranking into my system how would I accept the other submission arts like submission wrestling, sambo, japanese jiu jitsu, judo? As far as ranking was concerned, I decided to only honor bjj rankings at face value upon entering the system but I would also factor in a persons prior non bjj submission experience, like sambo, judo, JJJ, if they were black belts and had incorporated the 10thpjj system into their arsenal as well. For example, when Einstein joined 10thplanet he was already a blue, so he was automatically a blue in 10thp, no background check, no handing him a blue belt, no pictures of me handing him a blue, nothing, he was just a blue. I believed him that he was a blue and I never did any investigating. When Avi came in as a purple, there was no promotion festival for him, he just remained a purple in the 10thp system, again with no background check. Remember, I was starting a jiu jitsu empire all by myself, I barley could keep up with everything and had no time to check everyone's lineage, I just had faith in them. When Shigeki joined 10thp he was also already a purple, so that meant he was already a purple in my system, no special belt promotion ceremony, no nothing, no checking of his lineage, he was automatically a 10thp purple. I just trusted him. When Alder joined 10thp he was already a blue, so he was automatically a 10thp blue, no getting on the internet to check if his blue was legit, no special announcement, no nothing, he was just a 10thp blue. Dustin came in as a blue, he remained blue, same with Blalock, Denny, Brent and so on. Vinny Magalhaes and George Sotiropolis are both bjj black belts so that means they are learning the 10thp system as brown belts. I didn't give them a brown belt party, they are just 10thp brown belts. Bottom line, no matter how much this blue belt knows or how much this purple belt doesn't know, in the end, when it's all said and done, no one is a 10thp black belt unless he has a great all round game, like a great mount, rnc, passing, darce, etc but especially the rubber guard, twister and lockdown. So back to Ari. When he initially contacted me, he gave me the rundown on his grappling experience including his black belt in Japanese jiu jitsu. He told me that his JJJ was more ground based than the other JJJ styles and he also said that he had been fusing the 10thpjj system into his system for a while. Again, no background checks of lineage, I just trusted him. He said he was committed to mastering the 10th planet style and wanted to become an affiliate so I booked him for a seminar a few months later. Since I was only honoring bjj belts at face value and not JJJ belts, he wasn't gonna enter the 10thp system as a brown like Vinny and George. But since he did incorporate the 10thp system into his JJJ style I decided after watching his online videos that he would automatically enter the system as a blue. No belt ceremony, no picture of me handing him a blue belt, no nothing, he was just a 10thp blue. A few months later when I got to Victoria and did the seminar I was super impressed with his 10th planet knowledge. It was obvious that he was studying hard for the affiliation, he had all my books memorized and was like a walking 10th planet encyclopedia, and he had a natural ability for teaching. He has 2 awesome students, Tristan Connelly and Red who are doing very well in Canadian tournaments. Red's 10thp technique is quite amazing, especially his rubber guard. He rarely made mistakes during the entire 4 hour seminar. Ari did such an amazing job with him and Tristan that I decided to give him a 10thp purple.