Need some opinions (long read)

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by XTrainer, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. XTrainer

    XTrainer Red Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Messages:
    7,898
    Likes Received:
    3
    I don't post much in the grappling forum, but I've got a bit of a dilemma I'd like to hear some input on. I apologize in advance for the length.

    I got into BJJ roughly 5 years ago. During that time, I have had about a half-dozen instructors in 3 different federations/associations. Numerous factors were responsible for this, including disputes between instructors, schools closing, and instructors changing their associations.

    Additionally, I have been effectively "unaffiliated" for a couple years (since I moved) and most of my training (aside from visits home) has been with an unaffiliated MMA/no-gi club.

    The bottom line is, I have around 5 years of grappling experience, but because of how disjointed it was (different schools, associations, instructors, etc.), I have no BJJ rank to show for it.

    I haven't competed in couple years, but in my last gi tournament, I went 5-1 with 4 submissions...my point is, even at that point in my BJJ career, I knew what I was doing (at least insofar as a whitebelt can ever know what he is doing :D).

    I'm obviously better now, and after a couple of years out the competition loop, I want to get back into competition. I don't feel like I would get any satisfaction out of competing as a white belt anymore. Even though, yes, that's technically my rank, I think I would just feel like a complete bully if I competed as a white belt.

    On the other hand, if I compete no-gi (making belt rank irrelevant), my 5 years of experience, disjointed as it was, will nonetheless put me in the highest-experience division for most small tournaments. I don't feel like that is an accurate reflection of my skills, either...5 years of disjointed experience is nothing compared to as much, or even less time of consistent training in the same school...and there's really no need to even mention that lots of guys have been doing this stuff for much longer than I have.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I don't feel like I "fit" anywhere. I have little doubt that I would crush most white belts I am put up against (after all, I was doing that years ago), and would get no satisfaction from doing so. At the same time, I think it would be quite a stretch to call me an "advanced" no-gi grappler.

    Any thoughts on this, guys?
     
  2. mweaver123

    mweaver123 Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Ooh, that's tough. Any chance of getting to a legit BJJ school and getting ranked? Perhaps not right away, but it would alleviate some of this confusion. I think if you were crushing the white belts at the school, the instructor would take notice and maybe you could work something out.

    I feel your pain, though. I've trained since 2007, but because of frequent breaks, I'm still a white belt. In fact, I don't even want to compete again until I'm a blue because then I'd be 'sure' of my rank. I wish there were a better and/or more standardized system. Combined, I probably have 2 years of experience, but because of the breaks, it's all disjointed and it makes it harder when trying to see which category I'd fit in at a tournament.
     
  3. MUFC

    MUFC Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,719
    Likes Received:
    4
    Do the "intermediate" division in nogi. If you do really well, then you're obviously ready for advanced, if not, then stick with intermediate.

    You're not really sandbagging because you're genuinely not sure where you are.

    Gi is difficult because certain competitions don't allow white belts to compete with blue belts. Do you have an instructor/coach you can ask? Maybe winning a white belt division will push your instructor to promote you to blue.
     
  4. armtriangle

    armtriangle Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,691
    Likes Received:
    7
    I see whitebelts in the bluebelt division all the time, I have even seen a whiteblet in the purple belt division. At my last tourney we had some JJJ black belts in the purple belt division (surprise, they both lost handily)... If I were you I wouldn't sweat it, you have no instructor that you would be insulting, so just enter as a blue belt. Just bring your whitebelt or no belt at all and wear the one the hand you when you walk out on the mat.

    As for no-gi, you know where you belong. As long as you are not sandbagging for an easy win, drop down a division. If you don't feel advanced, go intermediate. No biggie. If you win, go advanced next time.
     
  5. Knock Out Ned

    Knock Out Ned el mero mero

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    4,416
    Likes Received:
    710
    Location:
    펜설배니아, 미국
    I've seen white belts before in blue belt gi divisions. Most notably at the last ADCC competition I went to. If you're really worried about sandbagging why don't you try the advanced no gi and the purple belt division (explain your situation) and see how you do. The worst that can happen is you lose. If you are able to hang with those guys, then you know you are in the right place. If you do absolutely terrible, go down a division. At least you won't feel guilty and conflicted at the end of the day. When I compete in no gi, I do advanced and I've only been training two and a half years, and I've had to compete against professional MMA fighters from here who have way more experience than me. Good luck.
     
  6. HomerPlata

    HomerPlata Purple Belt

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,649
    Likes Received:
    1
    Never apologise for your length.

    On a serious note, I'd say just go in the advanced no-gi division. What's the worst that could happen? Ruin your tournament record?? It would just make a win even sweeter.
     
  7. MUFC

    MUFC Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,719
    Likes Received:
    4
    ADCC Pro usually lumps the whites and blues in one division, purples/browns/blacks in the other.

    I don't think any IBJJF tournaments will allow you to compete up a belt. I'm not sure how GQ and Naga work.
     
  8. Freezing Winds**

    Freezing Winds** Green Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    0
    what do you mean by disjointed?

    just different schools or say noth training for months a time.

    I think you should take the amount of time you were actually training, add it up, and compete in that division.
    ^nogi

    for gi you have to compete in the belt you are ranked in BJJ.
     
  9. Knock Out Ned

    Knock Out Ned el mero mero

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    4,416
    Likes Received:
    710
    Location:
    펜설배니아, 미국
    I was wondering about that.
     
  10. ichimonji

    ichimonji Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have a friend with a similar problem.

    He competes in advance (not usually first place but he does win) and competes in blue.

    Last time (wearing a white belt) he won the blue belt competition.

    This happens a lot with Soldiers who may not always be a BJJ school or they deploy a lot. This also happens with people who train at a MMA gym and do only no gi.

    Good Luck on what ever your choice is.
     
  11. Wrestleben

    Wrestleben Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    After the first couple sentences I knew exactly where you were going. Most tournaments let white belts compete at blue belt with the exception of IBJJF tournaments. Problem solved.
     
  12. redaxe

    redaxe Silver Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Messages:
    10,166
    Likes Received:
    24
    Do you want to compete in gi or in no-gi?

    If you want to compete in gi, start training at a gi school. Be completely honest with the instructor about your experience, tell him you are interested in competing, train for a few months, and see how it goes. If you are as experienced as you say, you will rank up relatively quickly, especially if you compete once as a white belt and kick everyone's ass.

    If you want to compete in no-gi, try intermediate. If it isn't much of a challenge for you, then go up to advanced. It's safer to start in the lower division because once you compete in advanced they might not let you go back down to intermediate. NAGA and GQ are very concerned with preventing sandbagging.
     
  13. BJJ in Chicago

    BJJ in Chicago Livin' la vida bomba

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,916
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Trying desperately to learn the berimbolo
    i'd agree with starting low and going up. itll be intimidating going up a class at first, but in time, you'll grow into it.
     
  14. XTrainer

    XTrainer Red Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Messages:
    7,898
    Likes Received:
    3
    I've thought about that...I'm trying to come up with a solution that does not make my already complicated training situation more complicated...introducing another instructor and another association to mix, even if I could find a place to train at consistently here (doubtful)...meh, brings up a lot of other issues I have to think about.

    That's one good thing about the MMA/no gi stuff over the past few years...it's close to where I live now, no associations, no ranks, don't have to worry about ruffling anyone's feathers. And don't get the wrong idea, it's not just a bunch of guys that get together to "do UFC." All the senior guys in the club have serious training backgrounds and most have competed (MMA, BJJ, and grappling). Sure, I some more experienced training partners/instructors would be better, but again, there's baggage with that.

    Well, that makes sense, except the rule sheets always specify "X years of experience=Y division." I'd feel dishonest if I entered a division that did not square with my training time, even if it did perhaps match my skill level better.

    Also, the jiu-jitsu community is a pretty tight group...it would be noticed if I entered a division not commensurate with my years or training time...and that would not go over well.

    I just assumed you had to compete at your belt level. I suppose the rules on that probably vary.

    See my comment above about no gi divisions.

    ^That's what I'm leaning toward. I'd rather get my butt kicked in advanced no-gi than bully some white belts and ruin what may well be their first tournament experience.

    I've never gone more than a couple weeks without training, but I've had long stretches where I've only trained about 1x per week. Furthermore, this training has been at different places, depending on where I was living, openings/closings of schools, politics between instructors, etc.

    And then there's also the matter of different curricula and ranking protocol between associations.
     
  15. XTrainer

    XTrainer Red Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Messages:
    7,898
    Likes Received:
    3
    I really couldn't care less between gi and no gi...the vast majority of my recent experience has been no gi, but overall, I probably have more gi experience and certainly more gi tournament experience. I could go either way, no major preference between the two.

    (Other points addressed above)
     
  16. XTrainer

    XTrainer Red Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Messages:
    7,898
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks for all of this input, guys, I appreciate it.
     
  17. BJJ in Chicago

    BJJ in Chicago Livin' la vida bomba

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,916
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Trying desperately to learn the berimbolo
    come to us grappling in chicago tomorrow. wrestle me. that'll settle things.

    /thread
     
  18. mtruitt76

    mtruitt76 Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Knoxville
    Seems like you have answered your own question. Compete in the advanced division in no-gi tournaments. Although I will add I would not consider 5 years on intermittent training equal to 5 years of training. Intermediate is where you belong skill wise and experience wise.

    As for gi tournaments enter the blue belt division if the tournament allows it, which many do. If the tournament does not allow you to fight above you rank, then just compete in the white belt division. You may walk through the competition you may not. Winning one tournament does not mean you will win another tournament.
     
  19. Balto

    Balto Silver Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    12,843
    Likes Received:
    1,091
    Just compete in the blue belt division if that is how you feel. Nobody can seriously fault you for that. You usually don't really need to even wear a blue belt to do this, but if you have to then I would just buy one and wear it.

    For no gi I would compete in Advanced since that is your experience. If you get blown out, you just have to work harder. If you really feel you would be placed incorrectly, then do Intermediate.

    Ultimately it sounds like you are honest with yourself so just use that honesty to place yourself accordingly. Normally your instructor does this but since you don't really have one, you are kind of your own instructor at the moment.
     
  20. yovan

    yovan Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I think I'm going to take the opposite route of most people here. If you're still a white belt, you should compete at white belt. I know US Grappling would make you compete at white belt (they closely follow IBJJF rules)

    As far as no-gi, it sounds like intermediate is where you should be. 5 years of on and off training should = intermediate, unless you were a college wrestler or something before BJJ.
     

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.