brown belt

Guy promotes himself to Brown Belt

Posted on Updated on

Wow, if life was that easy.

If you watched the BJJ vs the Vacuum Cleaner  video on Peter Soto’s Youtube page, then you probably saw the video of a guy who promoted himself to Brown belt. If not, here is the video below.


I get it. I understand the frustration and the wanting to buck the system. I often felt that I deserved a little more rank than I held. However, at the same time I know how difficult it is to say how good you are because there is always someone who can beat you in BJJ in the lower ranks. Or the guys and gals of your rank spank you so often it is difficult to claim that you deserve a higher belt. All kind of variables can be interjected in trying to figure your belt level.

I also suspect the Dunning Kruger Effect plays into self-evaluation. With the Dunning Kruger Effect it is found that advanced students and those who make the better grades have a more realistic idea of how well they will perform when taking exams. They even underestimate their abilities. Those who have lower grades or are poor students overestimate how well they will perform on exams. (Time spent studying also plays a role.)  I have no idea of this guy’s skill level, how good a BJJ student he is, etc., but I know self-evaluation can get you into trouble.

When I earned my Ph.D. and I was out celebrating with family and friends, I had a person come up to me (not in my group) and say she was going to get a Ph.D. at one time but decided not to. She didn’t say try to earn either. I didn’t get angry, but it rubbed me the wrong way. The lady said it as if claiming it could happen, it would happen.  As if my five years spent obtaining it was reducible to a bold claim.

Most of us have been awarded a title, rank or achievement by others after passing a curriculum. If after studying the curriculum for a period of time and you feel you did not receive the proper recognition, would you promote or award yourself a designation?

In the end. It is only a belt. Redd Foxx once said he and a friend were walking down a street  in St. Louis and a man jumped out of an alley into a Karate stance and said, “Give me your wallets, I’ve got a Black belt.” Foxx’s friend pulled out a pistol and said, “Good, they are going to need it to lower you a@# in the ground!”

I loved tapping out Brown belts when I was a Blue belt and I tapped out a few Black belts at purple belt. To have someone ask, how long have you been a Blue belt or why are you still a ____ belt was gold to my ears.

What do you think about self-promotions?

Bakari is the author of Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the MatPsychology of Brazilian Jiu-JitsuGrappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.








Promoted to Purple Belt! Yeah Baby!!!

Aside Posted on Updated on

Prof Shealy Promotes me to Purple Belt!

It was a beautiful setting. I couldn’t ask for a more idyllic scene to receive my Purple Belt. Today we held a seminar with Rigan Machado; BJJ legend and 8th Black Belt. Two of the first books I ever bought were by Machado (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I and III).

There were about 50 people in attendance, many of whom I have trained with for 2 years now. Professor Shealy started off by saying there were some people he wanted to recognize and then he started calling us up. Jason Dominguez received his Black Belt. I was called up second and received my Purple Belt. Prof handed Master Rigan Machado the belt and then Machado took off my Blue Belt and tied the Purple Belt around my waist.

Master Rigan Machado Awards me my Purple Belt

I was all smiles while it happened and really appreciated the applause afterward. Not for vanity’s sake, but because I have trained over and over with these guys and without them it wouldn’t have been possible.

I trained for a year in judo in the late 90s, started no gi in 2004 and began training with the gi in 2008. I have moved often due to my career and didn’t receive my Blue Belt until Feb 2009. Since that time I have trained in two different academies.

In other words, it took me 8 years to earn a purple belt. Even though I have a million excuses, I am finally glad that I have a permanent BJJ home that I can grow in and progress. Some people probably dismiss the idea of BJJ being a marathon and not a sprint as a banal statement, but it is truly a journey and I have appreciated every step!

Note: Now I don’t have to watch the Roy Dean Purple Belt Promotion videos with longing for the day when I reach Purple Belt. — Instead, I can watch the Brown Belt vids. It’s not over! Ouss!!!