Does a belt mean anything anymore?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Bruce Calavera, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Bruce Calavera

    Bruce Calavera Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    After reading higher learning's thread about the WB who didn't get his blue and many other threads about belts with absolutely no conclusion I've made a list of the things that belt promotion apparently DOESN'T depend as has been stated on THIS forum.

    -Time
    -Tapping others
    -Technical Ability
    -Competition Record
    -Experience
    -Money
    -Loyalty
    -Active role in one's own club

    So if none of these things matter in getting promoted WTF does?
     
  2. Jiujitsunoob

    Jiujitsunoob Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    4
    More and more I feel BJJ belts is exactly like karate/kung fu belts. To like 85% of BJJ guys, the belt is the only reason they show up, its very douchey and honestly makes me respect mma/nogi guys alot (at least the nogi guys that don't have 'belts')

    A belt represents:
    -Money
    -Loyalty

    Now if you win at your belt rank, and compete successfully (or somewhat successfully), then you show the other traits listed above.
    -Time
    -Tapping others
    -Technical Ability
    -Competition Record
    -Experience

    Fortunately I've been able to visit a bunch of average bjj gyms, and thats pretty much my conclusion.
     
  3. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Messages:
    32,493
    Likes Received:
    562
    Location:
    NY
    Don't take anecdotes and generalize them. There are fraudulent and questionable belts out there. Most of them aren't that way. For most people (myself included), any combination of the factors you listed are necessary for achieving a belt. It just seems like shady ranks are all that is out there because we hear about every single example. After all, when some random person gets a well-deserved purple belt or something, there's no thread about it, because it's expected. Get what I'm saying?
     
  4. Jiujitsunoob

    Jiujitsunoob Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    4
    To me, the only thing that matters is rolling ability for your given fitness level.

    Yes, a 135lb blue belt will probably never tap a 250lb blue belt of equal experience, thats why I include 'fitness level' in there.

    Some may say teaching ability, but honestly someone who claims to be a good teacher and only OK at live rolling is probably just the sign of someone delusional.
     
  5. Jiujitsunoob

    Jiujitsunoob Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hopefully your right, I really do. I mean when I got my blue belt, I felt it was my highest achievement in life, it really meant alot.

    But after visiting so many rinky-dink school, it makes me think less of the whole process. You might not hear about them, but there are a truck load of small schools around the country with horrible blue and purple belts. I think it has to do a lot with 'affiliate' programs.

    I guarantee you I could call up 10+ black belts asking to become an affiliate school, claim to have 10+ years in 'grappling', and automatically receive a blue/purple belt. This crap happens all the time now and they go on to spawn their own group of shitty 'purple belts'.
     
  6. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Messages:
    32,493
    Likes Received:
    562
    Location:
    NY
    Hey hey now. I train at an affiliate school, and am a purple belt. But I do understand what you mean. You get guys with little experience who sign up to be affiliates. My instructor is a black belt under Renzo (and recently received his first degree) and had Renzo's blessing to open up his own school, which only recently became an affiliate.
     
  7. InvertedBJJ

    InvertedBJJ Green Belt

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,309
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Florida, Virginia
    Yeah belts mean nothing. That's why I don't wear a belt in bjj class.
     
  8. Steve3730

    Steve3730 Green Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    993
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Chicago
    Here is more order of importance for belt promotion. I only put tapping others so low because a guy using pure strength shouldn't be considered above a technical guy

    -Experience
    -Technical Ability
    -Competition Record
    -Time
    -Tapping others
    -Loyalty
    -Active role in one's own club
    -Money
     
  9. Jiujitsunoob

    Jiujitsunoob Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    4
    Obviously thats different from what I'm referring to. If Cobrinha opens an Alliance gym, I'm clearly not going to call shenanigans.
     
  10. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    1
    A belt means whatever you want it to mean. That being said, it shouldn't be your only measure for success. Most people that measure themselves by the color fo their belt quit within a year.
     
  11. RibCrusher**

    RibCrusher** Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    sorry, but I am now dumber after reading this shit.

    you can point out bad things about certain schools but to say generically that this is the case at all schools is pretty stupid. if you are not saying that, then why make this post.

    people are different, a 45 year old brown belt may have more tech knowledge than a younger blue belt but the younger may have speed and strength advantage. if the old man loses in practice is he a fake brown belt?

    in most bjj schools belts mean something. especially legit schools. some promote slower than others. some require time and some will reward comp wins.

    but belt progression is based on something bjj related.

    but until you start awarding belts you don't know much of shit as to an instructor's reason for promotion.

    what the does you instructor hand belts out for?
     
  12. redaxe

    redaxe Silver Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Messages:
    10,166
    Likes Received:
    26
    IMO, ideally it's a combination of the ones that I bolded. Money and loyalty definitely play into it more than most instructors would like to admit, though.

    Realistically I think the only thing that matters is "your instructor thinks you deserve it." It's so subjective.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  13. Bruce Calavera

    Bruce Calavera Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    I didn't point out anything about any school. These are the things specifically stated by others that apparently don't matter to get your belt so my question was simply what does matter? And you're right I don't know shit, that's why I'm asking dumbass.
     
  14. kyred

    kyred White Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    1.5 week old blue belt here. Of the ff. list:

    -Time
    -Tapping others
    -Technical Ability
    -Competition Record
    -Experience
    -Money
    -Loyalty
    -Active role in one's own club

    I can safely say that the only factor that didn't come into play was competition record, as I am only to start competing later this year (which is probably why it took me slightly longer than most to get my blue). As for money, it's not like I took hundreds of privates or anything- it's mostly that I stayed loyal to my teacher and paid tuition for the 1.5-2 years it took me to get my blue.

    Yes, at the point I was promoted, I noticed I was tapping many other white belts, and staying competitive with same-level white belts and surviving, sometimes getting advantageous position against some blue belts. When some beginners would come to try classes, regardless of size, and not many higher belts weren't present that particular day, our teacher would call on me to roll with the new person and help point out some of the basic concepts to get them started (i.e. positional transitions so the new guy gets an idea of things he could work for).

    At our place, I believe that belts still *do* mean something. More than just tap people out, it also means an ability to help out your teammates, and respect them as family. This I tell you- the douche who may tap a lot of people but spazzes out and/or treats everyone else like crap is never going to get promoted, because character plays a huge part in the responsibility of getting a higher belt. I've personally rolled with some great higher belts who will not only destroy you on the mat (with intensity ideal for the skill difference), but also happily explain what *you* should do when they do that to you again.
     
  15. Sensei

    Sensei Banned Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    I train BJJ at a very respected academy near my house. Im a young teen and have been ranking up at the normal rate of 1 stripe every three months and after one year of training I still am on my white belt. I am not complaining about this and I am actually quite happy with my rank and progression. But, the frusturating things is exactly what your talking about. From my view people will show up at the academy and try to train in the blue-black belt class (get there ass kicked) but, they get that stigma that there good all of the sudden. So when I have trained for half a year and recieving my second stripe on my white belt, some fourty year old hack is getting three stripes put on his empty belt. Maybe I just don't know everyone's story and they have had former training or garage training. So I think it is a growing issue in martial arts, but whatever. Another issue related to this topic is the issue that came up when Rolles Gracie gave Rashad his black belt.
     
  16. Sensei

    Sensei Banned Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Im a kid and I am not a strong or developed as alot of guys. So even though I put in more time on the mat and have spent alot of time developing technique alot of guys can muscle me. Does that mean they are a better practitioner, no.
     
  17. FollowYourBliss

    FollowYourBliss Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    i dont think that not competing should hurt someone during promotions. if you're at that level you're at that level regardless of competing. some people just dont like doing tournaments.

    so with that being said i think belt promotion should consist of:
    experience
    consistency of skill level
    ability/willingness to help others most notably the inexperienced
    loyalty to school
     
  18. blindgod

    blindgod Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    3
    What exactly do you mean by "loyalty to school?"

    I ask because I've met many people with many different ideas about this.
     
  19. FollowYourBliss

    FollowYourBliss Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    i think it's basically just not hopping around schools all the time. just stay where you're at and train there regularly. obviously every situation is different and jobs/location/moving plays a big role in it but if you're just randomly hopping around local schools every so often just cause' you're bored it should take a lot longer to get a belt.
     
  20. rkobo719

    rkobo719 Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, it still means just as much as it always has, if you're with a legitimate instructor. The fact of the matter is that it isn't based on one of those criteria, it's a combination of all of them, and more.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.