Gracie Barra Belt System
OK, so I know there has been some other discussion about BJJ belts around here lately, but this is a bit different, so bear with me.
Today after class at the Gracie Barra school I attend, I overheard a couple senior students talking about the way we hand out belts. A bunch of people from our school, including Tim Shears the head black belt instructor, are down in California training. Word is that we haven't been strictly following the "official" Gracie Barra belt ranking system, and that there are going to be some changes coming in the weeks/months ahead. Specifically, we are now going to be following this chart:
Now, this is quite different from the way we've been doing things up until this point. We still use the same belt colours and all that, but I'll guarantee you that there are no 8-month blue belts at our school. We have some two- and three-stripe white belts that have been there for over two years, and they definitely train several times a week. Many of the blue belts at our school assist in teaching classes, and purple belt is definitely an elite rank. By following this chart, our school will see a significant drop in the ability held by people at each belt level.
My question is, should I care so much? I know belt colour doesn't really matter and all that, but I've always looked to BJJ as a system where belt colour still actually means something, and I feel like this might be starting to water it down. How will it look for Gracie Barra schools to have their 8-month blue belts getting subbed by the white belts from other schools? Apparently the theory behind the chart is that belt colour is supposed to imply the amount of knowledge you have acquired in training, and not necessarily your skill at competition. I'm curious to hear what people from other schools think of this idea.
Maybe I'm getting paranoid for no good reason, but I can't help but feel like this is going to lower the quality of training.
EDIT: The chart we have posted at our school has an additional note on the bottom, saying that all the times shown assume training 2x per week. If you train more, you could get promoted even faster.
Last edited by Skepticus; 4/03/2009 12:08am at .
I personally think the belting system is for kids, no matter the system
This the fucking problem with belt systems. They exist to give external gratification and SWIFTLY become a marketing technique.
Frankly, I approve of this for your school, cause you're the guys I fight in tourneys and if I'm -- at 7 years -- going to be put up against a 8 month blue belt chick I already out weight, I've got gold medals coming out of my ass for the next year.
Edit: by that system -- I train 2-4 times a week depending on my work schedule, I am a black belt in BJJ.
I AM NOT A FUCKING BLACK BELT. :redx:
Yeah, it's going to water down the value of belts in BJJ. But a lot of the more major affiliated schools are going to the attendance thing for belt promotions. We're going to see black belts in BJJ that get totally owned by good competition purples.
That's my prediction.
Belts system work around a level of skill, not an amount of time - at least that is the ideal. I would agree that you should be wary of this, it's the first step to cash-for-rank schools.
Like you said - some people take years to get a blue belt. Once in a blue moon, someone with natural ability or frank determination and drive can go much faster. There are average time ranges that can be calculated sure, but when it becomes "you should be" rather than "you are" in skill level, the art gets watered down.
hmmm, that's really lame
IMO your belt should relate to your skill only, all the way up to brown belt. However it is my belief that a black belt should also be good teacher that has very deep understanding of the subtleties of grappling and can communicate it to others. This would ensure that black belts are truly the most qualified people to learn from.
* signs up at Gracie Barra affiliate school *
I would see that chart as a minimum amount of time to progress to each level, not an expected. I'd double it all. Seriously, I'm only just beginning to not get subbed like crazy by good blues and purples, i don't deserve the same rank as them until I hold my own.
Hey, like I said, by that chart:
I AM A BJJ BLACK BELT.
hmm with that system you would hit black belt in little over 5 years.
It took me like over 7 years to get brown.