From September of 1990 to 2010 Willink was a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and Seal Task Unit Commander leading hundreds of operations in combat. He earned his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from world champion Dean Lister, competed at the national level in Submission Grappling, and has trained dozens of professional fighters. He has also coached and cornered fighters in numerous King of the Cage, Pride, and UFC events.
Jocko started training BJJ in 1995 under the Fabio Santos. He then started training 2-3x a day.
He now owns Victory MMA together with Dean Lister. He is a black in BJJ under Dean Lister.
He is a lean 230 pounds and he used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the Special Operations world.
Recently he was asked quite an interesting and relevant question for the world of bjj:
Should Other martial arts belts carry over in any way to Jiu Jitsu belts?
You might remember time and time again in bjj various fraudulent behavior were justified with the excuse that the shady instructors didn’t have time to change belts, were teaching a self made bjj inspired martial art and or just plain forgot. Here’s what Willink had to say as an answer to this prompt:
“Should everyone start as a white belt no matter what kind of training you’ve had before?
Yep. White belt. For those of you who don’t know what mac map is, MAC map is the marine core martial arts program – it’s a good program, it’s solid. It’s a solid good place to start the marine core put together good program the army has really good program the Army combatives program … And both those are solid but specifically MAC MAP has belts. You get a tan belt, a green belt and then a brown belt and a black belt. Pretty legit”
“There is no equivalency to jiu jitsu there’s like you’ll know some stuff but when you go to start jiu jitsu you should just put a white belt on. Now it’s the same with judo. Judo is really close to bjj as we know. If you have a black belt in judo – cool white belt in jiu jitsu. Sambo? Again very similar to jiu jitsu. Again white belt. You’re gonna get promoted faster. Because you have a lot of experience wrestling is the same thing. You don’t go I’m just gonna show up as a purple belt because I’ve been grappling for 8 years. Doesn’t work that way. “
Jocko concluded: “Don’t care about the belts man…. doesn’t matter”