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After discussing the gi or No-gi issue, I started to really think about where I am in my development. Although my practice of BJJ has been on and off, I have been practicing it or have been very close to BJJ since April 2004. If there was a gap in time that I was not participating I was still watching video, reading books, magazines, etc…
Well, last night I just happened to think about a book I purchased a few years ago written by Renzo and Royler Gracie and edited, of course, by Kid Peligro. It is titled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique. In it they provide what they believe are the essential skills required for each rank. In the beginning of the book it has a nice section on the philisophical aspect of BJJ and discusses its benefits.
Then it breaks down each belt by presenting techniques and skills that each rank should have mastered; blue, purple, brown and black. I went through the book and was surprised to find out that I am exactly where I thought I was in my development. As I leafed through the book it quickly became apparent when I was beyond my skill set.
The book discusses the informal aspect involved in judging ranks and yet at the same time analyzes the “conservatism” involved in awarding rank. Therefore, I won’t mention at what level I believe I am currently ranked. I will leave that to my instructors. However, the book is very useful and I realized how much I used it and others when I first began training.
Oh yeah! I believe I mispoke about the rank of my instructor(s) when I discussed the issue of gi vs. no-gi. My instructor runs two academies and the instructors hold black belts in a number of disciplines. The main instructor also has quite a reputation in MMA circles and has developed a number of fighters that MMA fans would be aware of. Since we are always no-gi I never asked about the BJJ ranking. After doing a little research I discovered that my main instructor holds quite a high rank. As the information is dated, I will have to ask if that has changed. I am hesistant because I don’t want to be rude, but I would also like to begin to earn rank if possible.