Early this morning we reported on a case of students promoting their black belt professor to the rank of red and black belt.
Now Jean Jacques Machado, who had given Todd Nathanson his black belt released a statement on it:
What price are you willing to pay to take shortcuts in life? As a martial artist, a coral belt and a practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu for over 40 years, I have dedicated my life contributing to the advancement of the art that I love. It is also crucial to me to preserve its rich history and traditions for future generations.
One of my main focuses is preserving the standards for rank advancement. This is easy to do within the walls of my academies. It’s when students leave or branch off on their own that this becomes more challenging. To achieve the higher black belt levels of the art requires years of dedicated training and always the approval of their instructor. Timelines are not always enough, there are other factors involved that only someone who is already at that level can understand.
The black belt degrees are far more than just stripes on a belt and if you feel entitled to simply put them on you not only disrespect all the hard working black belts who continue to honor and uphold our traditions, you also disrespect the art as well as yourself. That stigma will tarnish the legacy of what ever honest work you actually put in. That is a steep price to pay to simply gratify your ego.
I find it ironic that while some people feel this is no big deal, I would bet the same people would have a completely different response if someone self-promoted or had their students promote them to black belt. To turn a blind eye is to validate this type of behavior and that is something we as martial artists should never allow.
Of course in this world anyone can and will do basically whatever they please, but you can’t call it Jiu-Jitsu. Why? Because Jiu-Jitsu’s power lies in its honesty. If you’re not honest with yourself then you are doing something that goes against the very essence of our art. Good luck with that. #respecttradition