1 year Update on BJJ Purple Belt Demoted To White Belt at Gracie JJ Academy

1 year Update on BJJ Purple Belt Demoted To White Belt at Gracie JJ Academy


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.

Meg, on the right

Meg, on the right

In Brazil, where Brazilian/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu originated, they don’t call what we do Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. they just call it Jiu-Jitsu. Those prefixes were added in the USA. Jiu-Jitsu is one martial art/combat sport all in one.

From Meg’s blog:

So, as the rest of GJJ Victor did when entering the Gracie University system, I too will put on a white belt and work my way through the GJJ belt system (more on this as we go!).

Her decision provoked some controversy in the BJJ community.

One year later, BJJEE contacted Meg to find out about how she had been progressing.

Here is her response. One year later:

“I suspect some readers are curious to know what is the situation regarding the belt that I wear? As some readers may remember, the jiu jitsu Internets went a bit mad when I made an off-hand remark that I would be wearing a white belt in my Combatives classes when I joined my new school. I followed this up with a discussion of why, in my case, it felt like the right thing to do, though no one at Gracie Victor expected me to change my belt. Big feelings erupted. Not so much about me, per se, but my telling of my story acted as a catalyst for a flare up of tensions around the Gracie University system, how the Gracie Academy codifies its syllabus and delivers its instruction, and the intense opinions around ‘GJJ’ and ‘BJJ’. I respect and appreciate the complicated feelings associated with ‘GJJ versus BJJ’. I myself feel uncomfortable with the somewhat divisive nature of the term ‘GJJ’. At the same time, the material that term is used for and the material disseminated through the Gracie Academy’s CTCs is exactly the sort of stuff that I want to be involved with. With that preface, what friggin belt am I wearing?

I wear a white belt. It has a stripe on it. Wearing a white belt makes me feel like a part of my club, rather than like a swaggering interloper parachuted in from the UK. I don’t bully or ‘sand bag’ anyone, and the people who train with me understand, respect, and recognise my previous experience.

The Gracie University system has a clear procedure for handling belts awarded outside of their system:

If you have achieved rank in Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from any school that is not accredited by the Gracie Academy, your belt color will be recognized in the Gracie University student database, but it will be tagged as ‘unverified’. In order to officially recognize your rank, we must verify your knowledge of the street applicable techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and the only way to do this is for you to demonstrate proficiency in the Gracie Combatives techniques by passing the blue belt test. In other words, if you were awarded a purple belt by a BJJ instructor, and you pass the official Gracie Combatives blue belt test, then Ryron and Rener would consider assessing your skills to see if your purple belt can be formally recognized by the Gracie Academy ~ Gracie University FAQs

This suits me very well; of course it wouldn’t be right for all readers. My relationship with jiu jitsu has been on the fritz for a number of years owing to a knee operation, a pregnancy, an infant, and an international move. Methodically working through the Combatives syllabus, as discussed above, has been invaluable in helping me to reinvigorate my relationship with jiu jitsu. It is my intention to work up to the Gracie Academy Blue Belt one stripe material. Then, I’d like to seek to have my purple belt ‘verified’. Could that happen in 2016, maybe yes, maybe no. Lots of smaller goals and milestones to reach first and right now I’m targeting submission of my blue belt exam materials by the end of Q1. First things first!”


What do you think about this? Is it normal to not have live sparring (rolling) in a Jiu-Jitsu class? Should a BJJ purple/brown/black belt have to start from white belt when taking up self defense Jiu-Jitsu?