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. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    My comments weren't about who's entitled to what. I'm personally less concerned with my own rank, and reduced the number of ranks (and amount of hierarchy) in my curriculum. I'm not full-time, so I doubt I'd ever be on par with the creator of NGA, nor will I ever put in the level of effort that Richard Bowe did (the one who brought it to the US, and became de facto head of style). But I'd be opposed to the concept of reserving rank for either of them, because it assumes nobody will ever reach that level. I know others who could potentially have passed Bowe's peak skill level (I didn't know him in his peak years), and nobody except Bowe can speak to what Morita's skill level was. And there are others who have arguably made contributions to the art equivalent to each of them (not the same level of accomplishment as the early Gracies, mind you). It's a conceptual objection, mostly. Certainly, every group is entitled to determine these things for themselves.
     
  2. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I wonder if he gives a damn?
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Oh, my interest has nothing to do with my own rank. I've only trained BJJ informally, and am unlikely to ever train much past blue in any case. I was expressing a conceptual objection to the practice.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I certainly hope not.
     
  5. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Never been around an upper rank guy who ever mentioned anything about a next belt. Spoke of everything from dingbats to doughnuts, and sometimes spoke of student's belts, but that's it.
     
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  6. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    When I saw the video I thought that it was a show of how we cycle through learning. When we reach a point of excellence were no one else can teach us more. Then start at the beginning and review the steps through your knowledge and expertise. This is something that we do naturally in life. We get really good at something only to discover that now we learning many things from the younger generations. Think of grandparents who reach a high level of excellence and knowledge only to end up having a 10 year old teach them how to use a smart phone. I see martial arts in the same way. So I thought that's what it symbolizes.

    Then I read comments from those in belted systems and saw that I was way off lol.
     
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  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Arguing on behalf of some hypothetical individual who may or may not ever exist is a path fraught with peril. That's how people justify all kinds of crazypants positions. "I'm not arguing for myself. This isn't about me. It's about some other person who may come someday and be the savior of us all." I would say, if that guy does come, he will probably start his own style, and make himself the grand poobah. And if he doesn't, he's making a choice to stay. I think the saying goes, "Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya." The guys you reference chose to stay and remain in the organization. They didn't have to. If they were truly as exceptional as the founder of the art, they could have done so.

    I get it. Conceptually, in America now, we want parity. The idea that there are some things that are unattainable is distasteful to us. We tend to lump everything together and say, "How come that person over there can't do that thing over here?" We like to promote the idea that, if you work hard enough, you can do anything, and nothing is off the table. So, the idea that if you train in a style for decades, you can never achieve level 60 just doesn't feel right. However, discrimination is freedom. We have a relative few protected bases that are exceptions to the rule. I'm pretty sure that the Gracies are not straying into any protected base here. In general, in America, we allege to respect the rights of people to discriminate in whatever ways they choose. provided they do not violate the law. We discriminate in many ways and for many arbitrary reasons all the time. Discrimination is a fundamental tenet of freedom, and without the ability to discriminate, we cannot be free.
     
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  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not arguing in favor of an individual who should be promoted - hypothetically or otherwise. I'm arguing against the concept of saying a rank is reserved for founders. To me, the problem isn't someone who can't get to that rank, but the message that sometimes is taken from policies like that. I'm actually quite okay with them never actually putting someone at that rank if nobody ever rises to it. Who holds that rank (in any art, including my own) doesn't really have much impact on me.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I don't see a meaningful difference between the two, other than one is an objective standard and the other is very subjective.

    A: Gerry, you will never be a red belt because the standard for red belt is to be a founder of the art.
    B: Gerry, it is very unlikely that anyone will ever be promoted to red belt again. But if you "rise to it," someday, with hard work and dedication, you may be the first.

    I'd prefer the former and not the latter. But as I said before, your egalitarian sentiment is very common in America. Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you can do anything. Errr... no.

    Bottom line, though, it's not your club, so you don't make the rules. Conversely, if you want to start your own club, you can make rules that are aligned with your conceptual sensibilities. If you have the combination of skill, timing, resources and guts to make it work, good on ya.

    And finally, a question. How is this different than, say, a boy who wants to be a girl scout?
     
  10. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    The time required for rank is written and followed. No rank above 9th Dan is awarded by the ibjjf, cbjjf or any other legit org in Jiu Jitsu nor will be in the future. I have met grandmaster Flavio 3 times and taken seminars. He knows it all and is as legit as it comes. This is his own thing and not done by the BJJ community anywhere else.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    The difference - and the point of my post so long ago - is that it can engender some of the over-reliance upon the founder. In more than one art, I've heard people refer to the founder with terms that implied what they did with the art was perfect, and any flaws were due to the practitioners and instructors, not the founder. We (and by that, I at least mean the US MA community, and perhaps the at-large MA community) tend to put a lot of emphasis on the "founder" - heck, that even happens in business. To some extent there's good reason for that, but it can go too far. Putting the founder's rank aside never to be used again, IMO, supports that type of thinking. BJJ hasn't shown this predilection that I know of, so it's not a shot at BJJ, but an overall dislike of the practice.

    So, back to your A/B. Neither of those expresses the way I'd consider the highest rank in something like BJJ. I'd say it more as, "Steve, the red belt is reserved for those who make the highest contributions to the art. If anyone were to receive it again, it would be for contribution at the level of the founders." No statement about the likelihood of that is necessary (saying it's nearly impossible is the same thing as saying it's unavailable, to all intents and purposes).
     
  12. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    As others have said, the higher levels of black belt in BJJ have nothing to do with skill, but rather time and contributions to the art. There are plenty of people alive today who are more accomplished and skilled in BJJ than Helio or Carlos Gracie ever were.

    I have no objections to setting aside an exclusive rank (10th degree in this case) for the founders of the art. I do agree with msmitht that Oswaldo Fadda should be included in that list.

    There is a valid argument to be made that, contrary to the Gracie promotional spin, BJJ was not "created" by the first generation of Gracie brothers. They (along with Fadda) started the ball rolling, but it was a community effort by generations of people in and out of the Gracie family which brought the art to its current high level of technical development. From this perspective, the founding Gracies would not have any ultimate authority to decree the rules for rank promotions. However the BJJ community as a whole seems happy to stick with the current system, so the end result is the same anyway.
     
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  13. Spinedoc

    Spinedoc Brown Belt

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    Aikikai Aikido is not much different. No one, except the current descendent of Ueshiba can use the title Doshu. Additionally, O'Sensei and Doshu hold no rank. Rank means nothing. Only one living person that I am aware of was publicly promoted to 10th dan. Koichi Tohei. There have been several posthumous 10th dan awards, Shibata, etc. Essentially, in Aikikai Aikido, any rank after 8th dan is ceremonious and only awarded to people who have changed the art. There are multiple 9th dans....no current 10th dan that I am aware of...at least in Aikikai.
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm a bit more okay with a rank being held for posthumous recognition. As in the case of BJJ, I don't really have much personal investment in the issue, but a concern about the message. There's still a possibility of what passes for ancestor worship in the MA if only dead people can be raised to 10th, but perhaps that is offset by the recognition that it's sort of an award for lifetime achievement, given only after that lifetime is complete.

    I'm less interested in the titles, probably because I've never had to deal with any of those. The furthest we ever got into that in NGA is Sensei and Shihan (which are commonly used there as titles, rather than as honorifics).
     

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