Talent vs Knowledge. RE; Belt promotion.

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by stato, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. stato

    stato Purple Belt

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    After a discussion with a friend about who is "more deserving" of a belt promotion, i thought i would ask for other peoples opinions.

    I'll use 2 extremes as an example;

    1) a 100lb 65 year old woman that has been training BJJ for 15 years, in her head she knows every move/counter there is, but physically because of size/age/lack of agility etc can only do very little(almost nothing) on the mat.
    or
    2) a 6'4" 250lb man in their 20s, GREAT athlete, fast, strong, only been training for a few years, uses the same 2-3 moves all the time, but can sub everyone because of their size/strength/skill/athletic ability and wins BJJ comps.

    In Your opinion which one (and why) would YOU promote to a higher belt first?(eg; to black belt)
     
  2. NateTx4112

    NateTx4112 Brown Belt

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    If he only knows 2-3 moves then he will never get a black. I can see the case for blue, maybe purple if he has a good grasp of most concepts/positions just to see him challenge himself in competition but never brown/black until he knows all the techniques required.
     
  3. TonyTank

    TonyTank Guest

    What's the background story to this question? Or did you just make up the scenario?
     
  4. dza76wutang

    dza76wutang Black Belt

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    Both of them get promoted, albeit the tournament winner will get promoted faster for the very simple reason that he needs more challenges faster.

    If you clear out the blue belt division consistently you NEED to compete against the purples, so give the guy a purple. He'll hit a wall and need to increase his knowledge at some level.

    As for the feeble bodied woman, if you're doing BJJ for 15 years and you're not competing you're probably NOT chasing a quick belt so you'll get it when you get it.
     
  5. lanp3960

    lanp3960 White Belt

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    Not to ignore your hypothetical, but I'm in a similar situation personally. In my academy, there are a group of 4-5 of us who are right on the cusp of testing for our blue belts. In our academy, we do not test directly under our instructor, but rather under his instructor. We're under the Roy Harris lineage, so there is a rather formal, structured exam comprised of techniques and evaluation of your live rolling.

    My personal issue is this--as far as the techniques go, all of my team mates and my instructor agree that out of the 5 of us, I know the techniques the best and can perform them the smoothest against a non-resisting opponent. However, I'm not particularly athletic. I'm lanky and not exactly fast or strong, so in rolling I often end up on the wrong end of submissions. I can hang with the other white belts, usually getting 2 submissions to their 3 and can generally hang with our blues. Ok, I can at least survive with our blues, but I play a more defensive, survival oriented game with them. As it stands now, I will not be testing with my team mates in 2 weeks because my instructor thinks my rolling isn't on par with the rest.

    I guess I'm ranting at this point, and I agree, I should be better. I feel like I have to earn the belt and continue to refine my technique until I can pull them off on my teammates who know the same defenses and set ups as I do, and who have superior physical conditioning.
     
  6. RangerDanger

    RangerDanger White Belt

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    I think we need more information, but it's more important to have the techniques and knowledge rather than just being a guy that muscles his way with the same moves.
     
  7. hughes fan

    hughes fan Silver Belt

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    The first is a case of leaving it too late. If you know how to but can't and the moves can't bet catered to help you then that's it.

    The second is kind of like if you see a tennis player hitting the same three shots but winning. You'd like them to have the ability to do others and know how in case they have to face someone who can counter their favoured moves.

    Long story short I would promote neither but with my arm twisted I would say the young guy who can still pull it off.
     
  8. pliftkl

    pliftkl Green Belt

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    Are you doing anything to correct that problem?
     
  9. Jagcorps_esq

    Jagcorps_esq Red Belt

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    What a tough question.

    You really hate to give a belt to someone that knows no technique, but tears it up on the mat. Perhaps, as someone said, the challenge of higher belts would make that person want to learn more.

    As for the older person, that's really hard. It's not like Helio was doing flying arm bars when he was older, but he could when he was younger and that sort of means something.
     
  10. Darkslide632

    Darkslide632 Brown Belt

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    A friend of mine is like this. He is very knowledgeable, but is just one of those people who doesn't have a killer instinct and has difficulty applying what he knows at the level in which he knows it. Does that mean he is not worthy of promotion? I don't think so.

    As much as I disagree with many of Eddie Bravo's thoughts on grappling, this following statement was made by him, and I agree wholeheartedly with him.

    "At my academy sometimes promotions are given to people that may not have the physical and mental attributes of champions but they have vast 10th planet jiu jitsu knowledge and/or are excellent teachers ...

    We had 2 black belts back in the day that fit this description. They were brazilian jiu jitsu yodas who had a real talent for conveying jiu jitsu theories and strategies but it was not uncommon for them to get tapped by purples ... But no one ever questioned the legitimacy of their black belts because we all knew they had true black belt wisdom. Their lack of competitive firepower was never held against them ... They had black belt brains but were unlucky in the genetics department. I learned alot from them and so did most who were taught by them."
     
  11. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I'd have to say the young guy. It's a fighting art and application is the most important part of winning a fight.

    At some point, I'd like to promote the old woman since she'd make a great teacher and you need someone to teach the next generation.
     
  12. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest Orange Belt

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    As for the old woman, she gets promoted in my book. She knows what to do. As long as the attempt is made and she can teach it to others do it. I would watch her interactions with others more so than her physical ability on the mat. The body is a limiting factor.

    As for the other guy, using the same 2-3 techniques and going out of your way to use them every time does not get you a promotion in my book. You have to learn as well as apply. On the other hand, he may need to be promoted to a rank where he is out of his element to force him to learn and apply.
     
  13. 3dsmax

    3dsmax Orange Belt

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    Something that my instructor does is he looks at where you came from and where you are now. There is no single standard for everybody. If somebody is physically gifted and comes from wrestling background then he/she is expected to be tearing it up in competition. However, if you get an older person who's never done anything athletic in their life, they are graded way differently and the expectation are different as well. We all have our own starting point and promotions are based on how far along we've come not how far are we compared to others.
     
  14. Rod1

    Rod1 Titanium Belt

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    If the woman really knows the technique, not only fo the moves but the transitions and the biomechanics implied then the woman.

    However the second man will get stuck in blue, i would tell him to put a purple, brown or black to compete, and only to compete.

    Purple means that you know most techniques and their theory, i wouldn't want a purple not know questions about techniques and say that i gave him the belt.

    Im only a blue belt in judo (the equivalent of purple), and i have competed extensively against higher grades, my coach was in the national team and he was a brown, others were granted belts because of competition, but the belt system in judo means that you understand the concenpt of judo can teach judo, not that you can win in a tournament under judo rules.
     
  15. Tony Manifold

    Tony Manifold Brown Belt

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    I was think about something along similar lines the other day. Because we have a relatively small amount of advanced belts (2 purples and a dozen blues) as well as the fact that 2/3 years as a white belt and 3/4 as a blue are normal in my academy, we don't have "beginner" classes. All classes are open to everyone. As such, we often do techniques that are rather complex. When i look at the people who have syllabuses for white belts, I look at it and say my game is way beyond that. Most of the techniques, I am shown I get even if I decide I won't spend much time on it because it doesn't fit me for what ever reason. Judging by what I see with other white belts (outside of our gym), I play a more advanced game then they do.

    Now, with that bit of background I will bring it back on topic. I have been at my gym for 2 1/2 years now but due to work (army) and injuries, I end up taking long breaks and have about a year of mat time (Strictly BJJ, I have wrestled and grappled for years). Because of these factors, I rarely compete and I tend to spend the first few months getting back into BJJ shape. My knowledge is often hampered by my conditioning/injuries/or just plaining getting my timing back after a long break.

    When I look at that, I see it taking me a long time to get my blue belt although some of the guys that I have trained with over the last year or so and am still competitive with (in terms of rolling ability) are now blue belts. I don't worry about it much as I mainly do it because I enjoy it and a belt doesn't change anything really as everyone already knows me and my skill/knowledge level. But sometimes, I wish there was more of a focus on knowledge and less on the competitive aspect of it.
     
  16. Steve3730

    Steve3730 Green Belt

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    I like this idea. Especially if you don't compete too much
     
  17. Il Wop-O

    Il Wop-O Green Belt

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    Why is it an "either-or" Sounds like both may be okay for promotion. Good competition results have always been grounds for promotion with many instructors, and BJJ knowledge irrespective of physical capability/attributes is kind of the selling point of BJJ, so there's a good case for both.
     
  18. HardEight

    HardEight Blue Belt

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    I have to agree with this fellow here. I don't look at a black belt as someone who can kick my ass. There are a lot of people out there who have never trained a day in their life who can do that.
    I look at a black belt as a guide, someone who I can ask questions, who can teach me, someone who knows what I should be doing even if they themselves can't do it.
    Every body type is different. Some people are more capable of certain things than others. Doesn't mean they should be considered any less knowledgeable and held back from ranks because of it. There is no person alive that can pull off every technique ever created.
     
  19. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    By the time I give them their brown, they both will teaching for me.

    So they better know their BJJ techniques otherwise they can't teach and if they can't teach then no BB!
     
  20. stato

    stato Purple Belt

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    Totally hypothetical.

    It started from 2 conversations;
    1) My friend clamed that there is no way Wanderlei Silva is a black belt, my reply was that he has been training BJJ for 15+ years, surely he KNOWS alot even if he doesn't use it to try and sub people in fights.

    2) Person X(blue belt) can sub Person Y(black belt) therefore person Y isn't a "real" black belt. Again my reply was "person Y KNOWS alot, they just don't have the same physical tools as person X.

    It looks like opinions are split about 50:50 so far.

    Personally i'd promote the "old lady" but i can see why alot would promote the "athlete"


    EDIT;
    Yes i did(kind of) just compare Wanderlei Silva to a 65y/o 100lb woman. :D
     

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