Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most rapidly growing martial arts in the world. BJJ is also known as one of the hardest martial arts in the world to achieve a black belt in. Here are five distinct types of BJJ Black belts you’re going to encounter:
The Legit Black belt
This guy is somewhere between 30-50, spent a good decade or more achieving his black belt, and has more Gi’s than he does regular clothes. A lot of people will vouch for this guy, he’s taught a lot of people who have won competitions, is pretty well-known in the vicinity for attending seminars and promoting BJJ, and he’s probably friends with a few big names. He’s not super athletic, not very intimidating physically, and doesn’t talk much, but something about him says that six minutes on the mat with him will make you wish you were never born.
The Stuck up black belt
This guy starts out seeming like number 1, but soon it becomes a nightmare. This guy never shuts up, and acts like the belt around his waist is some sort or royal scepter in which he rules over the lower class of peasants that make up his students. and God forbid you ask him to roll during class, you wait for the black belt to ask YOU to roll. Need to see something again? Take a private lesson. This guy thinks his academy is the best in the entire world, and his entire system is flawless and there is nothing he doesn’t know. This guy has nothing but praise for himself and nothing but criticism for every other academy both far and near.
The Sketchy-lineage black belt
One roll with this guy and its obvious he knows some serious BJJ. But that title-MMA brand black belt on his waist just screams “BOUGHT ON THE INTERNET” and whenever you ask him who gave him his black belt the conversation always seems to take a turn right before a definitive answer. This guy has no pictures or certificates of any of his belt promotions and every picture of him with a prominent figure of BJJ the other guy is wearing a Gi and he is not. He runs his association under his own name and has never competed in a tournament that anyone has heard of and he swears he competed in MMA for a long time. This guy isn’t necessarily a bad teacher, but don’t plan on getting legit black belt directly from this guy anytime soon.
The identity crisis black belt
This guy is middle-aged, blonde hair, blue eyes, and went to high school with your dad. But everything this guy does screams that he’s Brazilian. His diet consists completely of Acai bowls and he wears flip fops even when there’s a foot of snow on the ground. His Kimono and patch requirements are more of an algebraic equation than a dress code. He usually says something like: Your Gi must be white! Your patch must be in the center of your back! You must sit this way! You must tie your belt in this kind of knot! This guy isn’t a bad coach, but his identity crisis can be somewhat comical at times. This guy refers to jiu-jitsu matches as “Fights” and thinks Jiu-Jitsu is all that is needed to be an MMA fighter.
The competitive black belt
Now this is THE BEST guy to bring into your gym for a seminar, but as an actual full time coach? This guy is likely Brazilian, and has won or placed in every major competition in the world. IBJJF worlds, Pan Ams, ADCC… This guy is likely the head of the association and has 1,000 students just at the headquarters. This guy sometimes tends to forget that not everyone in the room is a black belt. This guy has been an expert for so long that even the most advanced technique is trivial to him. This guy is not around much between competitions and teaching seminars so usually one of his brown or purple belts winds up teaching.