Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blue Belt Defeats Black Belt in Brazil? Say It Ain't So?!

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So if you haven't seen it by now this video is floating around a lot of social  media websites in the Jiu-Jitsu world.  Many people might wonder how the heck this can happen?  Well it does both in tournament settings and in any gym.  I know when I started training as a white belt I thought that reaching black belt level was truly the pinnacle of awesome.  Of course no one is invincible but even at the age of 30, I thought that once you reach that level you were pretty much untouchable by most if not all "junior belts."  Well if you think this way seeing evidence like this should help change your opinion about the issue.  I consider myself an aging grappler now pushing 37 and can tell you that there are a lot of factors that can effect a result like the one above.

1. Age:  This is a no-brainer.  With age comes slowed athleticism.  Reflexes aren't what they once were.

2. Cardio: This can make or break you.  Running up against a more athletic opponent that is in better physical shape, that can push the pace, etc. can be very problematic for a more experienced grappler.

3. Pressure:  A blue belt versus a black belt in a public setting...this can be a psychological killer. All the pressure is on the black belt to go out there and win the match.  The blue belt had nothing to lose here and everything to gain.

4. Unknown Variables:  I'm going to go out on a limb here (not really)...sometimes you run into someone that is on another level.  The black belt could very well be an average black belt.  That is not meant as disrespect.  The blue belt on the other hand could be an elite competitor that does nothing but train & compete.  The other guy may have an incredible wrestling background prior to any BJJ experience.  You simply do not know unless you know.

5.  No one is invincible:  On any given day, we are all susceptible to being caught in a bad spot by anyone.

I can speak first-hand about being an average BJJ practitioner that loves the sport and has had plenty of friendly rolls with people on that next level.  There is nothing wrong with that but one must have realistic expectations.  I've had the opportunity to roll with guys like Horlando Monteiro (Nova Uniao), Sean Roberts (Ralph Gracie), & Caio Terra fairly recently and can tell you that these guys are on a level that I cannot compete.  Horlando for example was a blue while I was purple.  He had just come back from winning the European Championships Absolute division.  He was about two weigh classes bigger than me and even at blue belt was much better than me.  That was the first time I realized that these guys training for a living are on a much higher level.  They are professionals compared to the average BJJ competitor that is more of a hobbyist.  This isn't meant to derail any one's hopes of being the best that they can be but to better understand that no matter what:  NEVER UNDERESTIMATE your opponents.  It's up to you to keep your ego in check and maintain your skill levels and conditioning.

All of that said I was very impressed with how the black belt handled his loss in the video.  He was very gracious in defeat.

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