I've mentioned this previously on a few threads, and I don't want to necessarily take away from those of you who have earned your BJJ belt, but... hypothetically, wouldn't BJJ be a lot better without the belt system? (statements in parentheses are from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDojo) Why does BJJ have a belt system anyhow? For example, take the Sam Hoger fight in UFC 56. Sammy Hoger is a black belt in BJJ, he went up against a Karate fighter, and Sam was not being very effective on the ground. People like Chuck Lidell have gone up against black belts and have just completely put their ground game to waste with a good sprawl. In the case of Muay Thai, there is no belt system, you prove your merit by getting in the ring and taking people on. Your reputation rests on the number of fights you have been in as well as your win record. Or for another example, Combat Wrestling. As far as I'm aware, Takanori Gomi does not have a "belt" in the sport, and yet, he is very good on the ground. Reading over some of you guys' BJJ experiences, it seems like you pay for classes, move your way up the ranks, and then you have to PAY someone else to move up to another belt, including people like the Gracies. (Belt factory is a derogatory term for a Martial Arts school where there are a relatively large number of grades or belt ranks for students to progress through compared to most traditional schools. Actual martial ability is not a requirement for progression through the ranks in a belt factory, only a willingness to pay the high testing, grading or grade registration fees.) Doesn't that sound kinda reminiscent of a McDojo? If you're not convinved, what about the fact that the people you usually train with are the people at your dojo/gym. If you are able to beat everyone at your dojo and earn a purple belt, and can't beat anyone who's a blue belt at another gym, what does that say about your purple? (If the established schools were impressed by the martial ability of the newcomer during the encounter, then they would, by tradition, be allowed to stay open. If the new school could not defend themselves effectively, they would be disgraced by being publicly defeated. ) Add to that the whole "Gi/No Gi" argument, where you are relying on an art which largely requires your opponent to be wearing a gi for a lot of your techniques to be effective? (These critics maintain that such ancillary activities often become the focus of one's martial arts training at the expense of learning how to implement the techniques in a realistic situation.) Take this with a grain of salt and post your comments.