After 70 years in BJJ Flavio Behring promoted to White Belt with Red Bar

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu' started by Danny T, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    BJJ Red Belt Flavio Behring Promoted to a White Belt with Red Bar | BJJ World
    After being a 9th degree Red Belt what’s left? According to Gracie Jiu jitsu rules there’s nothing left because he couldn’t be promoted to 10th degree as that rank is reserved only for pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So, red belt Flavio Behring after 70 years of BJJ is promoted to a white belt with red bar.
     
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  2. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Interesting. I don’t know much about him, but if he’s clearly head and shoulders above his 9th degree peers, then I don’t see the issue with promoting him to 10th degree if he’s truly at the level of the other 10th degrees.

    But was it such a pressing issue that he HAD to be promoted to something? I get honoring someone who’s truly deserved a special way of being honored, but isn’t there a way without a promotion/special belt? Is his wearing a red belt causing confusion?
     
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  3. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    And how come BJJ World doesn’t know how to count? They’re missing quite a few numbers in their list of red belts...
    BJJ Red Belts | BJJ World
     
  4. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    I'm can't claim to be up to date on whys or whats of rank in BJJ or who are 9th and 10 degrees in BJJ (Red Belts) but my understanding is up until Flavio being promoted there were, (50) 9th degree reds with Rickson Gracie being #50 and (5) 10th degree totaling 55 red belts.
    The 10th degree is reserved for only the 5 pioneers, no one else can be promoted to 10 degree Red.
    In their listing probably a copy and paste from a list and several got dropped.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don’t understand the mindset of reserving a rank only for the originators. That presumes that nobody can contribute or develop in a comparable fashion. IME, that can lead to the fallacy of infallibility.
     
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  6. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    I agree but...lol..., I wasn't consulted when the founders set it up.
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    A grievous oversight, Danny.
     
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  8. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I agree, but I understand both sides of it. The no one else being promoted to 10th dan is a way of paying respect to their teachers and founders. It’s a way of showing humility and letting it be known that they will never consider themselves on their level. I like it. Then again, I’ve always thought 10th dan should only be a posthumous promotion, so you’ve got a reference point for my way of thinking. Word around the Seido Juku water cooler is Tadashi Nakamura (founder) has repeatedly stated he’ll never accept a 10th dan promotion; most say this is due to his belief that he’ll never stop learning. I’d do the same in if I was in his shoes. And Nakamura didn’t promote himself to 9th dan. He was promoted to 7th dan by Mas Oyama, and his 8th and 9th dan came from a Japanese budo organization/committee of some sort. Not sure on the specifics though, as it’s not something he advertises.

    Looking at the BJJ ranking system, because 10th dan is off the table, 9th dan is basically the de facto 10th dan.
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is where the issue is, to me. They don’t promote themselves, so it’s not about humility. Saying nobody will ever be on par with the founders is how some arts go astray. I hope it won’t happen in BJJ.
     
  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I understand exactly what you’re saying. It is quite possible for current teachers to surpass the founders’ ability - skill, teaching, innovating, promoting, etc. In fact it would be quite odd if it were impossible, as the current crop has the benefit of learning from their seniors and picking up where they left off instead of starting from scratch. That’s no different than saying no one could ever continue Einstein’s work and take it to the next level. Of course they can and they have. Multiple times.

    I personally think this is more of a “best” vs “greatest” argument. The 10 dan founders are the greatest. Many will come afterwards and be “better,” but they won’t consider themselves “greater.” Ali was the greatest champion of all time. But he wasn’t the best of all time. I guess reserving 10th dan for the founders is along those lines.

    Then there’s the compelling argument that founders shouldn’t have even had a rank. The argument goes MA rank isn’t like military rank, but rather like school rank and grades. Teachers test and grade students, students don’t test and grade teachers; why does the teacher have a rank if he’s the founder of the school? Does anyone argue the teacher isn’t on a higher level on the course of study than his students?
     
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  11. kuniggety

    kuniggety 2nd Black Belt

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    You’ve got to keep in mind that rank beyond black belt is not about skill. Once a person makes black belt they’re considered an expert and inheritor of the art. Starting with the first stripe (first degree.. a little different from other arts), it’s about continuing to progress the art through teaching or competing (or both). They’re like longevity honor badges. It’s not a question of skill of saying a person can’t make second, sixth, or even tenth degree due to not being good enough. They’re already black belts.
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I look at BJJ dan ranks as how long they’ve been active (competing and/or teaching) and what they’ve contributed to the art, relative to their peers. It’s similar to the TMA arts that don’t have a curriculum after, say 5th dan; after that rank promotion is based on what you’ve returned to the art, so to speak, and not what you’re taking from it.

    But as to the new white belt, I get, but don’t really get it either. What’s the point of a new belt? They could’ve honored him another way. But who am I to criticize? And I highly doubt they’re concerned with what I or any other random guy on the internet thinks. I know I wouldn’t be concerned if I was in their position.
     
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  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    That was kind of my point. If you want to elevate someone above all others currently training, use the highest rank. If you invent a new one (even if it's just a belt color), that feels like working really hard to not use that highest rank. I don't think there's any disrespect (or lack of respect and humility) to the founders by using the top rank for someone living (and not a founder).

    But that's just me. I don't see a problem in it, so long as it doesn't foster that attitude that the founders were superior in some significant way.
     
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  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Absolutely. I’d write more, but absolutely says it all :)
     
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  15. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    There would be a whole lot of political keeping the peace with that move as well.

    We know how bjjers are about belts.
     
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  16. MA_Student

    MA_Student Black Belt

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    Cool but typical though the Gracie's make a rule so no one apart from their family or real closest friends can get the highest rank
     

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