Are there demotions in BJJ?

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  • #1425258

    Batmanuel
    Participant

    Greetings,

    I am posting this new topic in response to this post made in another topic about how long it takes to get a black belt in BJJ. I didn’t want to derail that discussion with my question. This is the quote I’m wondering about:

    It doesn’t matter how many years it takes to become a BJJ BB. The ONLY thing that counts is can you back up the belt your wearing.

    What the f*** good is a black belt if you are getting your ass handed to you by purple belts. BJJ isn’t like karadee, you can’t hide behind your belt. If you cant back your s*** up the belt is worthless no matter how quick or long it took you to get it.

    -Splinter

    I’m relatively new to BJJ. If what you are stating is true in regards to backing up your belt does that mean there are demotions in BJJ?
    I know a guy that was a purple belt years ago, he stopped for several years, and when he came back to BJJ and to a new school he was essentially demoted to blue belt. BJJ had evolved a little since he stopped and started again and his instructor after evaluating him put him at a blue belt level with a couple of stripes even though years ago another BJJ black belt evaluated him at purple belt. Is that the norm or the exception? Can Helio Gracie physically back up his rank to a 20-something year old BJJ blue belt? I would doubt it.

    I am being sincere in my questions. I have a brown belt in Judo and my instructor is an 8th Dan and I’m pretty sure I could throw him at his old age. In Judo there are no demotions even though many of the old guys, including the 3 living Kodokan ranked 10th Dan’s, can’t physically back up their belts.

    I completely agree with you that BJJ (and Judo) is not like karoddy in the sense that with karoddy (in many styles) you can kick/punch in the air and kata your way to a black belt. But there comes a point where a BJJ black belt’s skills will diminish with age and I personally would not say that their belt or ranking is worthless once that happens.

    I would like to hear other people’s opinions on this.

    #1456318

    jiujitsunoob
    Participant

    In the kids class I have heard our instructor threaten to demote a kid after he consistently performed below his rank although that could have just been a ploy to get the kid to focus and perform.

    In addition to the above I would imagine that if I started at a new school I would wear a white belt the first day and let the instructor place me where he thinks I should be.

    A brown belt in our school went to a school in Atlanta because he works 1/2 of his time there and he let them place him, he didn’t get submitted by any purple belts and submitted all but one of their purple belts even though he has trained exclusively no-gi and was in a gi class. They placed him advanced purple belt not brown like he has at our school but I imagine he would regain his brown belt quite rapidly and in a few months they will see his true skill level.

    #1456319

    Batmanuel
    Participant

    In the kids class I have heard our instructor threaten to demote a kid after he consistently performed below his rank although that could have just been a ploy to get the kid to focus and perform.

    In addition to the above I would imagine that if I started at a new school I would wear a white belt the first day and let the instructor place me where he thinks I should be.

    A brown belt in our school went to a school in Atlanta because he works 1/2 of his time there and he let them place him, he didn’t get submitted by any purple belts and submitted all but one of their purple belts even though he has trained exclusively no-gi and was in a gi class. They placed him advanced purple belt not brown like he has at our school but I imagine he would regain his brown belt quite rapidly and in a few months they will see his true skill level.

    I find this all very interesting. Prior to starting BJJ I have never heard this happening within a martial art. It makes sense from going to one martial art to another but if I were to go to a different Judo school I would not wear a white belt nor would I be expected to.

    Please note that I’m not saying the way this is done in BJJ is wrong because when it comes down to it the belt doesn’t fight for you. I have recently come aware that BJJ does have a federation but at a glance it doesn’t seem very powerful.

    #1456320

    jackjitsu
    Keymaster

    I have no problems with demotions, if you **consistently** fail to defend your rank. BJJ has always been very reality based and id like to see it stay that way.

    #1456321

    Batmanuel
    Participant

    I have no problems with demotions, if you **consistently** fail to defend your rank. BJJ has always been very reality based and id like to see it stay that way.

    What about in the case of a black belt who’s physical skills have diminished? I gave an example of Helio Gracie. Considering he’s in his 90’s I do not think he could defend his rank against a blue belt. Does the status quo change after black belt?

    What about the scenario where, for example, you are a purple belt in a club full of blue belts. If the blue belts catch up to the purple belt in skill after a number of years, does that mean the purple belt should be demoted because he’s getting tapped out by blue belts or does that mean the blue belts need to be promoted to purple belt? I suppose this is an example where said purple belt needs to be competing to defend his belt because his fellow teammates at his club may be catching on to his moves.

    Again, I’m being sincere in my questions because I just don’t know.

    #1456322

    jiujitsunoob
    Participant

    No idea about the Heilo Gracie question but if blue’s are starting to tap the purple and he’s the only purple then it’s probably that the blues are catching up and should be promoted to purple.

    #1456323

    jackjitsu
    Keymaster

    I would say, this is why we have age and weight classes.
    I doubt you could find another 90 year old that could take helio 😉

    If a 55 year old black belt gets subbed by a 25 year old brown belt with a 50lb advantage, then no, I dont even consider demoting the black belt. Age and weight are worth something. They are nowhere near the same fighting class. In competition, the young man would be fighting in the ultra competitive adult division, and the black belt would be fighting in a lighter weight Seniors 3 division. So no issue there.

    What about in the case of a black belt who’s physical skills have diminished? I gave an example of Helio Gracie. Considering he’s in his 90’s I do not think he could defend his rank against a blue belt. Does the status quo change after black belt?

    #1456324

    Batmanuel
    Participant

    I would say, this is why we have age and weight classes.
    I doubt you could find another 90 year old that could take helio 😉

    If a 55 year old black belt gets subbed by a 25 year old brown belt with a 50lb advantage, then no, I dont even consider demoting the black belt. Age and weight are worth something. They are nowhere near the same fighting class. In competition, the young man would be fighting in the ultra competitive adult division, and the black belt would be fighting in a lighter weight Seniors 3 division. So no issue there.

    Cool! I appreciate the insight. And no, I don’t think there is another 90 year old that could take Helio. Maybe C. Mongomery Burns but he would just release the hounds instead of actually fight.

    #1456325

    Eother
    Participant

    Hehe, hounds vs. Helio.

    #1456326

    technique
    Participant

    Like you guys said, there are many factors to consider even when comparing two fighters.

    Jiu-Jitsu is the only martial arts I have found were you truely “Earn” your belt/ranking. None of the blue belts, purple belts, or brown belts I know of are underserving of their belt. I don’t think a person would be given a belt if they were not at the level they are suppose to be at.

    If a fighter has been away from Jiu-Jitsu, then sure, perhaps his physical strength and stamina will diminish. But when he gets back into consistent training, I’m sure the techniques will come back very quickly, just like riding a bike.

    As for Helio Gracie, I am sure he is very strong, even at his age. The only thing that I would say is a disadvantage to him is that his memory will become worst and worst, but even at his old age, he is still quite a threat and his technique has been perfected.

    Here’s a documentary to check out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVCKEbiEJNc
    At 7:37 he rolls with Hoyler. I would not doubt his Jiu-Jitsu ability even against blackbelts. Besides, you guys see his MASSIVE forearms?

    #1456327

    Eother
    Participant

    When you’re rusty, it comes back lightning fast. You never really forget.

    #1456328

    technique
    Participant

    When you’re rusty, it comes back lightning fast. You never really forget.

    agreed 🙂 Just what I was trying to say.

    #1456329

    Eother
    Participant

    I know, I was just repetetively summing up your post. 😛

    #1456330

    rediska
    Participant

    You guys are avoiding answering Batmanuel’s question directly. Should a bjj master who has gotten so physically weak due to disease, old age or injury be stripped of his title, or shouldn’t he? Is skill in BJJ something that, once proven, doesn’t have to be proven continually for the rest of the person’s life?
    In the discussion about strength in bjj we came to the consensus that strength definetely matters and can bridge a large gap in skill. Are you saying you don’t believe that anymore?

    #1456331

    Eother
    Participant

    You guys are avoiding answering Batmanuel’s question directly. Should a bjj master who has gotten so physically weak due to disease, old age or injury be stripped of his title, or shouldn’t he? Is skill in BJJ something that, once proven, doesn’t have to be proven continually for the rest of the person’s life?
    In the discussion about strength in bjj we came to the consensus that strength definetely matters and can bridge a large gap in skill. Are you saying you don’t believe that anymore?

    I believe the belt should be for technical skill (ability to do Jiu-Jitsu). If somebody stronger with a lower belt beats him, it’s due to lack of strength, not lack of technical skill. Jiu-Jitsu shouldn’t give belts for weight training (helpful as it may be).

    So, just because you’re older and weaker, you shouldn’t lose a belt for it. If they get senile, and lose technical skill, let them keep the belt. They earned it, and they aren’t doing competition anymore anyway.

    If they go several years without practice, and get rusty, they can quickly catch back up, if they aren’t extremely old. If they are old, refer to the last paragraph.

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