Earlier this week we reported on a case of students promoting their black belt professor to the rank of red and black belt.
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”.
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.
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
As result of this statement, Roberto Atalla, leader and founder of Rio Grappling Club , who is know for his straight talking and No BS approach, felt compelled to denounce a hypocrisy since, he points out that Machado in fact doesn’t even qualify to be a coral belt under the IBJJF belt guidelines. He posted on social media:
The only valid criteria for belts in BJJ is set by IBJJF. So before you point fingers to anyone, make sure you abide by its rules.
This week I came across 2 posts from a famous coral belt and his student who wears a sixth degree, both complaining about a guy who undeservingly got a coral belt. Funny thing is that neither have followed the IBJJF standards, so what moral ground do they have to shame others when they clearly have disrespected the only valid criteria in our sport? Hypocrisy grows rampant in our sport.
I remember a sentence from Bob Marley that says, before you point your fingers, make sure your hand is clean. Worth reminding them that if others are cheating, they also are.
On June 6, 2011 in a private ceremony held at the Rickson Gracie Academy in West Los Angeles, Machado was promoted to a 7th degree red-and-black belt.
According to Ibjjf belt guidelines, you need 31 years at black belt to qualify for coral belt, which means that Jean Jacques is only due his coral belt in 2020.
BJJEE asked Atalla for more details:
Machado also received the coral belt before he was 50 years old which he will reach this year (2018). He received the coral belt before required time according to the only valid criteria.
So if he does not abide by IBJJF rules then why is he judging others?
If his promotion is about accomplishments then certainly Murilo Bustamante would be wearing his coral as he is older and arguably has more achievements than JJM.
JJM’s student Renato Magno got his black belt in december 96 and he got a sixth degree last month. He should wait at least until 2020 as well. Both are complaining about some guy who trained under them and got graded as a coral belt. They are responsible for this when they set a bad example. If they don’t feel like following ibjjf rules then they have no right to demand that others follow any criteria whatsoever.