When a group of students recently promoted their coach to the rank of coral belt they didn’t really consider they would be stirring the pot majorly.
This instructor had been a student of Jean Jacques Machado who is himself a coral belt. Machado made a statement where he denounced what he called “taking short cuts in life” and “not respecting tradition”.
Which then prompted a huge back and forth between Jean Jaques Machado and Roberto Atalla, leader and founder of Rio Grappling Club , who is know for his straight talking.
Not many people know the backstory as to how Rickson Gracie was promoted to red and black (coral belt). Brandon Hetzler ,a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black bet under Rickson & Kron Gracie, and creator of Jugoshin Ryu JuJutsu , gave us the back story. It was Kron Gracie, a no stripe BJJ black belt who promoted his father Rickson Gracie to coral belt at the end of 2009. It happened in a low key ceremony away from media.
I want to share this story with you.This was when I was still training under Rickson and Kron Gracie. I was still in their Association. Kron Gracie was just a black belt with no stripes back then (2009). Kron Gracie presented his dad and promoted his dad to red and black coral belt in 2009. I asked Rickson about it face to face about that promotion. This is before the family kind of came together. This was when the family was still you know had their internal problems. Rickson said that nobody was going to promote him except for his father and his son and at this time his father had already passed (Helio passed away January 2009). So Kron Gracie, a 0 stripe black belt presented his dad with a red and black coral belt.
So what does this mean? That at the end of the day, the belt system in bjj is in no way unified. Everybody is doing what they want even though the IBJJF has set up a system that not everybody follows.
There are 10th planet belt system, SBG, etc…
Hetzler also gave some very good advice to the BJJ community about not letting rank become the downfall of BJJ: