Putting the black belt on a pedestal

Hanzou

Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
6,770
Reaction score
1,330
Again, and no disrespect if I get this wrong, but your comments don't seem to imply much real world experience here. OK, appreciate what I should say is, that it does not reflect much, or any, of "my" experience.

8 years (not consistently due to injury and life). Just got my purple in July.

Have you ever competed in bjj and at what level?

A couple of times at white belt, and a few times while blue. Stopped due to injury in my knee. :(

I only ask to try and get a flavour of where you are coming from?

It's the backyard wrestlers off the street that come into the dojo which are the ones you often need to watch. Yes, you would expect a senior bjj or wrestling instructor through superior skill, endurance, fight discipline to overcome such a person. But it is the unknown quantities from other styles or off the street as you put it, that can surprise you or catch you off guard sometimes due to their unorthodox fighting style or irregular/unexpected (ie not doing what most bjj practitioners would do in response to such a move) responses. You should also know in fighting not to pre-judge a book by its cover.

Unless your implication that by being a "back-street wrestler" is that the individual is lacking in actual fighting ability and/or in physical capability?

You may be disappointed in your instructor if they patently underestimated this type and thus tapped out but to lose a fight to such may cause a few raised eyebrows but would not, I hope, lose respect in the eyes of your peers or club colleagues (...unless perhaps if each peer then went on to wipe the floor with the guy and with ease, again, that would raise some questions). More likely, I would expect them to have a laugh about what a handful said street brawler/wrestler was and possibly ask for a match-up themselves, provided he had fought "cleanly".

Now in a strike context, I would use the analogy of someone like Kimbo Slice or Lenny McLean in his prime coming into a striking club, any heavy weight practitioners in said club that were to mix it with them would need to be very cautious with such. There is more than likely an equivalent analogy with wrestlers.

The culture is a bit hard to explain. I suppose if you were "brought up" in such a Bjj system like I was it would be a bit more understandable. I wouldn't say its ego per say. The simplest way I can say it is that you don't want to be from a school that produces soft black belts. If a couple of black belt visit your school and get tapped by blue belts, that simply looks bad on the school where their coming from, and word gets around pretty quickly that school X is producing soft black belts.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
22,851
Reaction score
8,497
Location
Pueblo West, CO
If I do have an unhealthy obsession with rank Im dealing with it. How? By talking about it here.

Well, no... "dealing with it" implies that the problem is being addressed. You know.. changing the behavior. You're not "dealing with it".
 

Danny T

Senior Master
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
4,258
Reaction score
2,293
Location
New Iberia, Louisiana USA
The culture is a bit hard to explain. I suppose if you were "brought up" in such a Bjj system like I was it would be a bit more understandable. I wouldn't say its ego per say. The simplest way I can say it is that you don't want to be from a school that produces soft black belts. If a couple of black belt visit your school and get tapped by blue belts, that simply looks bad on the school where their coming from, and word gets around pretty quickly that school X is producing soft black belts.
Hanzou I'm more inclined to believe it is more of an individual or perhaps an individual school/gym culture than through out the BJJ world. Though I have had my share of being shunned by individuals most of the schools I have visited the higher ranked members were very respectful and accommodating even when being tapped out. Some yes but for the most part I have found when it is happening it is because it is allowed. Far more times the black belts have been very humble and when I have visiting BJJers in my school I've never had concern. But at my school everyone rolls with everyone else and if you are a lot better than the other you lower your game to their level and play. When that happens sometimes the lower skilled gets the tap. Great for everyone unless the ego is there. I really like Pedro Sauer's take on rolling. He says play Jiujitsu, play like you would be playing with a 6 year old and everyone get better much faster.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,185
Reaction score
7,865
Brazilians are pretty concerned about respect and saving face.

i once went ot a capoeira roda that resulted in a punch up.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
8 years (not consistently due to injury and life). Just got my purple in July.



A couple of times at white belt, and a few times while blue. Stopped due to injury in my knee. :(



The culture is a bit hard to explain. I suppose if you were "brought up" in such a Bjj system like I was it would be a bit more understandable. I wouldn't say its ego per say. The simplest way I can say it is that you don't want to be from a school that produces soft black belts. If a couple of black belt visit your school and get tapped by blue belts, that simply looks bad on the school where their coming from, and word gets around pretty quickly that school X is producing soft black belts.

Thanks for those answers!

Yes, I agree with and understand the bolded wording of yours. That is the same with my experience in both TKD and karate. Word would get around if their bbs were often being beaten in tournaments or in inter-club meetings by lesser ranks from other schools for sure. I think that would be in any style. And then that would lead to the owner or sensei of that school, if they ever had any, probably losing respect (or perhaps credibility is the more appropriate word) in the eyes of others.

Again, if that happened consistently to an individual senior, you would start to question just what their rank/belt had been awarded for. And if that bb had been acting like a hero etc simply because of his belt colour well yes, any respect you may have had for him would probably be diminished.

I was more talking about the individual senior tapping to a junior in a one-off situation, or now and then. It seems from your comments and some others that in certain bjj clubs (or maybe on a wider basis in bjj) this is also frowned on more than I am used to in my background. That does surprise me a bit (as I have not seen that really in karate or the muay thai or kickboxing clubs I have trained out of and I don't recall that from the 6 years of judo I did before karate or the jiujitsu I dappled in while doing goju) but may well just be a difference that really does exist for bjj.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
Brazilians are pretty concerned about respect and saving face.

i once went ot a capoeira roda that resulted in a punch up.

Yes. However, I don't see the Japanese being any less concerned about loss of face. Korean's from my own experience and what I have been told can also be very extreme in that respect. In fact, given the inclination towards seppuku I would say historically and possibly even currently, culturally the Japanese may be more concerned about loss of face than Brazilians. I have worked (and am currently working) with quite a few Brazilians and have acted for them on business in Brazil and as an outsider I do not see the same cultural degree of concern over lack of face that I do see with the likes of the Japanese. Oh and just to be clear, I have full respect for both Brazilians and Japanese and any other race or culture that is.

Even I a simple white Westerner, while trying to keep my ego in check, am not entirely wedded to the idea of loosing face or respect in the eyes of those I hold in esteem.

Therefore, I am not sure how you are applying your statement and what it is in support of?
 
Last edited:

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,185
Reaction score
7,865
Yes. However, I don't see the Japanese being any less concerned about loss of face. Korean's from my own experience and what I have been told can also be very extreme in that respect. In fact, given the inclination towards seppuku I would say historically and possibly even currently, culturally the Japanese may be more concerned about loss of face than Brazilians.

Therefore, I am not sure how you are applying your statement and what it is in support of?

that the culture rolls over into the art.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
that the culture rolls over into the art.
Right, thanks.

But I think from my reasoning and observations that the same would be equally so for the Asian arts? Sure you have a lot of Westerners practising these now but the same is the case with bjj nowadays. On that reasoning don't you think Japanese culture to the same extent infused itself into karate?

Why would there be a difference?
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,185
Reaction score
7,865
Right, thanks.

But I think from my reasoning and observations that the same would be equally so for the Asian arts? Sure you have a lot of Westerners practising these now but the same is the case with bjj nowadays. On that reasoning don't you think Japanese culture to the same extent infused itself into karate?

Why would there be a difference?

is there a difference?

our local karate shihan has head kicked a few dojo stormers in his time.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
is there a difference?

our local karate shihan has head kicked a few dojo stormers in his time.

Now we seem to be talking about different matters. It was not the kicking of heads as such but the result of said shihan (or bjj purple) loosing to that dojo-stormer that has been under discussion until now.

With what you are raising now, I would agree that there is not any difference.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,185
Reaction score
7,865
Now we seem to be talking about different matters. It was not the kicking of heads as such but the result of said shihan (or bjj purple) loosing to that dojo-stormer that has been under discussion until now.

With what you are raising now, I would agree that there is not any difference.

as far as loosing. It is a fight. There is risk. And then how culturally a style will deal with that.

i have no idea how the Japanese deal with a loss from someone who is of lower class
 
OP
P

PhotonGuy

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
4,028
Reaction score
535
OK I know that with the BJJ system that it does take years to advance. The belts they use are white, blue, purple, brown, and black and then I believe for some really high dan ranks they might use a red and white belt or a red belt. Usually it takes years to go up a belt so I can see how it would take around 10 years total to get a black belt in that system. The thing is, though, I don't believe it would take much longer to get from brown to black than it would to get from purple to brown, in both cases it would take years. If it were to take, say, two years to get from purple to brown and then five years to get from brown to black that would be a big difference and a big jump but with BJJ I don't think that's the case.
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
7,456
Reaction score
7,396
Location
Lexington, KY
OK I know that with the BJJ system that it does take years to advance. The belts they use are white, blue, purple, brown, and black and then I believe for some really high dan ranks they might use a red and white belt or a red belt. Usually it takes years to go up a belt so I can see how it would take around 10 years total to get a black belt in that system. The thing is, though, I don't believe it would take much longer to get from brown to black than it would to get from purple to brown, in both cases it would take years. If it were to take, say, two years to get from purple to brown and then five years to get from brown to black that would be a big difference and a big jump but with BJJ I don't think that's the case.

Yeah, typically you're looking at 2-3 years from purple to brown and then another 2-3 years from brown to black.

That's just an average, though. It can vary considerably depending on the instructor and on the student. I've also seen cases where a student gets stuck ( for various reasons) at one particular rank in the progression for a long, long time.
 
OP
P

PhotonGuy

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
4,028
Reaction score
535
Yeah, typically you're looking at 2-3 years from purple to brown and then another 2-3 years from brown to black.

That's just an average, though. It can vary considerably depending on the instructor and on the student. I've also seen cases where a student gets stuck ( for various reasons) at one particular rank in the progression for a long, long time.

That would make sense for it to take 2-3 years to go from brown to black if it takes 2-3 years to go from purple to brown. If a student gets stuck at a particular rank for much longer I do think its important that the student knows why they're stuck so they would need to know what they should work on and fix so they won't stay stuck. That is if the student wants to advance. I've known students who are content with the rank they've got and won't care about any further advancement but for a student who does want to advance, it makes sense they should know what they need to do.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
i thought they only did that when commited an serious offence
Not only, and what we may now-days see as quite minor was at that time possible of being seen as "serious".
There are records of samurai being ordered to commit seppuku where in defeating an opponent, not in battle but in a one-to-one altercation, they were merciful and did not finish the defeated opponent off with their sword. This was seen to be not in keeping with the Samurai Way.
Also there was "tsuifuku", where retainers would commit seppuku when their master/lord died.
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,259
Reaction score
1,103
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hmm all this talk of seppuku is how to put this not entirely correct or, in places, only correct in places (and times, and so forth) and I don't think entirely in keeping with this line of discussion. If I'm not mistaken, K-man initially brought it up as a tongue-in-cheek comment about Japanese losing it's quite a deep topic, and one that isn't commonly described lightly
 
Top