Demoting a student in Jiu-Jitsu is very rare. Under normal circumstances, everybody deserves their belt.
Rener Gracie today stated that a BJJ blue belt that had trained at a reputable Sport BJJ academy in Southern California, had enrolled at the Gracie Academy but had asked to start over again at white belt because he felt that he had never learned how to properly defend himself:
Today, a new student came to my 10am Gracie Combatives class and handed me this blue belt. He said he trained sport BJJ at a reputable SoCal school (no need to mention which one) for almost 3 years but never felt capable of defending himself. I told him to keep his belt on and we would allow him to advance his rank through us in due time. He told me that he would only enroll I took his blue belt and gave him a white belt to wear. I complied.
A similar thing happened a few years ago when popular Blogger MegJitsu (Check out her blog megjitsu.com) last year wrote an article where she talked about ‘How to Change BJJ Schools’. Up until recently, Meg had been training BJJ in the UK where she had received her purple belt. She had to move back to the US, and while there was looking for another school teaching Jiu-Jitsu. She chose a traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school which focused more on the self defense aspect as opposed to the sport aspect. The instructor is an experienced martial artist but is actually new to Jiu-Jitsu and is a blue belt. The classes do not include any sparring.
Meg although a seasoned purple belt, decided to remove her hard earned BJJ purple belt and started over again with a white belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
What is the difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu versus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? The Armlocks, Chokes and moves of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) are the same as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The difference is the teaching method. Here at the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California we strictly endorse the teaching methods of Grand Master Helio Gracie. He believes that there is no such thing as a good or bad student: only good teachers and bad teachers.
BJJ black belt Tony Pacenski trains both Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and he stated:
“Above was the question and answer sequence I was told to memorize, drill and say during introduction lessons at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy’s instructors training program from 1998 to 2000. Today this explanation still holds truth and value. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as we were educated to explain was a teaching methodology and not a style of jiu-jitsu; however, it was a style of Jiu-Jitsu different than the Japanese parent styles. In other words, in Brazil, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was called Jiu-Jitsu. In the United States it was called Gracie Family Jiu-Jitsu, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or the new term Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Therefore at the time, the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance differentiated itself apart by its teaching methods and curriculums that taught: Self-Defense, Combatives and Sport Jiu Jitsu.”