Why did we need a BJJ Belt Register?
Thanks to the success of BJJ in the UFC, BJJ has been experiencing a boom for many years now. Sadly some unscrupulous instructors of other martial arts see this as an easy way to make some cash and feel they can do it without putting in the many years of blood sweat and tears to become a legit BJJ black belt.
As such, every so often, the tight-knit, UK BJJ community comes across a BJJ instructor who’s story doesn’t quite add-up. This might be a native Brazilian who got on a plane in Brazil with a blue or purple belt and got off in the UK with a black belt or maybe a british born karate / tae kwon do / fill in the blanks instructor who suddenenly starts teaching BJJ as a black belt, not expecting ever to be asked his ‘lineage’.
What is ‘lineage’ in BJJ?
Lineage in BJJ is very important. When I did traditional martial-arts, it was unheard of to ask your instructor who gave him or her his black belt. In BJJ it’s different. The common practice of stating ones lineage is something we are proud of and protects us from frauds.
Most people can state their lineage back to ‘Mitsuyo Maeda‘, the Japanese chap who introduced BJJ to the Brazil in the early 1900’s. It was he who taught Carlos Gracie the skills that were further refined and what we now know as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
Invariably, when a ‘suspect’ instructor is asked his lineage, he gets defensive. Those who refuse to state their lineage usually use excuses such as ‘why should I’. In almost all cases these guys turn out to be frauds.
Recent Cases of BJJ Belt Fraud.
With this in mind, there was a need for a resource where anyone could go and check a persons rank was legit. And so, I set about creating the UK BJJ Belt Register.
How do I verify belt ranks?
Anyone who registers on the site, must give proof of their grade. No proof, no listing. If someone is not listed, it doesn’t make their grade illegitimate, but if they are listed as a particular grade, users can be sure this has been checked.
I use many avenues to verify an individuals grade. Sometimes I contact their instructor, sometimes I contact one of their more senior training partners I might have met or seen around, sometimes their club has its own belt register and sometimes they can show a photo of a well known instructor tying a new belt around their waist. The belt verification method is not set in stone but in any case, if they are listed, its highly likely their rank is legit.
So that’s why I created the UK BJJ Belt Register. Since creating the site I have had many kind words from the community, which I really appreciate.
There is also an unofficial BJJ competitor rankings page where competitors are ranked by the (verified) competition results they have entered.
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