Do BJJ Black Belts Mean Less Today Than Before?

Do BJJ Black Belts Mean Less Today Than Before?

In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the black belt has long been a symbol of expertise, dedication, and skill. However, as BJJ continues to grow in popularity, the meaning and value of earning a black belt are topics of much debate. Scott Burr, a respected BJJ black belt and author, recently shared his views on the Mayn Idea Podcast, providing a thoughtful perspective on the evolving significance of black belts in the sport.

The Value of the Black Belt

Scott Burr emphasizes the value of the black belt, suggesting that its worth is inherently tied to the difficulty of the journey to achieve it. He argues that a black belt should be something aspirational, a goal that requires significant effort and commitment.

Burr states, “If you think a Jiu-Jitsu black belt is something valuable… you better hope that you have to crawl on your knees over broken glass to get it.”

The Fear of Undervaluing the Achievement

Burr expresses concern over the potential devaluation of the black belt, particularly if it becomes too easily attainable. He believes that the journey to achieving a black belt should be challenging to ensure its value is preserved.

He elaborates, “There would be nothing worse than showing up tomorrow, you’ve been training for five years a couple of days a week, and somebody’s like, ‘Well, there’s a black belt.'”

The Emotional Weight of Promotion

Burr also touches on the emotional impact of being promoted within BJJ, noting how individuals react differently to advancement, particularly when approaching the black belt level. He observes that while lower belts may be excited about promotions, those nearing black belt often feel hesitant, doubting their readiness.

Burr observes, “You see a brown belt about to get their black belt, and so many times they’re like, ‘No, please, I’m not ready.'”

Scott Burr’s insights offer a valuable perspective on the significance of black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu today. His emphasis on the value of the journey, the fear of devaluation, and the emotional aspects of promotion provide a deeper understanding of what it means to earn a black belt in BJJ. As the sport continues to evolve, these discussions are crucial in maintaining the integrity and honor of this esteemed achievement.

You can watch the whole podcast here: