Monday, July 25, 2011

To Stripe or Not To Stripe in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

I have been to and trained at a lot of BJJ schools and I have noticed that in some Jiu-Jitsu schools they don’t give stripes on student belts. I had trained at the Las Vegas Combat for a couple years when I lived in Las Vegas and they didn’t give stripes to students either.   They even laughed when the mention of stripes came up.

I want to say that not striping students can be a great moral wrecker and a lousy way to keep the  students of your school.  I will even go one step further and say that in BJJ we need to have MORE belts. I know that in a few schools they are starting to implement the green belt right before blue.  I think this is a great idea.  I think we also need to have an advanced blue belt, advanced purple belt and an advanced brown belt thrown in the mix.  This will keep our students motivated.  It’s a mighty long haul from blue to purple and this is where most of the students quit in BJJ.  Why not help them stay motivated?   

If you say “No Way” to the new belt idea then I suggest we get back to our roots and we keep just two belts..the white and black belt.  You can stay a white belt for ten years.  Who needs motivation?

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  1. I'm currently a white belt and will be testing for a blue belt soon. I've sparred/rolled with several blue belts in my school and their overall consensus is, "you don't move like a white belt."

    I had gone stripeless until about 2 weeks ago when my instructor put some time aside to stripe us in front of the entire class. It felt real good to get those stripes. Although I know the belt doesn't represent my level of skill, it still felt good (or motivational) to be recognized accordingly. Thanks for the post.

  2. I have trained at a school that does give stripes & a school that doesn't. The school that does give stripes has a lot more students. I like the idea of extra belts up to blue belt like Judo has. White, Yellow, Orange then Green before Blue belt.

  3. I'd be quite happy with just two belts, white and black. As I said a while ago when somebody suggested it, in many ways that would be pretty cool.

    Ego would be less of a problem, as people wouldn't be so worried about getting tapped by a 'lower belt', or conversely, painting targets on all the senior belts. There would be less of a 'belt hunter' mentality that some people develop, focusing on what they're wearing around their waist rather than on simply getting better.

    The downside, apart from the motivational issues you mentioned, would be the difficulty of matching people up in sparring, or decide at a glance who to use as an uke. Then there is the issue of competition: I could see a white/black only belt system causing a lot of problems there.