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Unlike other martial arts, in Brazilian Jiujitsu there are only five basic belt levels. White, blue, purple, brown and black belt, that’s it. Another area where we differ is that we are not promoted up the ranks quickly. In Brazilian Jiujitsu you spend a very long time at each belt.
This brings us to my point: Our white belts can fight. Think about it, you start training a martial art, and they give you a white belt, then orange, then yellow, then blue or green or whatever it is, and it all happens within 3 months of each other. During that time, you are learning katas, and spending time punching the air, and most likely (not always the case) have never experienced actual combat or sparring.
Meanwhile, from day one of Brazilian Jiujitsu training we are actually rolling and sparring with a live, resisting opponent. From day one you are actually fighting for survival against someone who is attempting to dominate you, while you in turn are attempting to dominate them. Yet, you remain with that very same white belt a year later. Meanwhile the other person may have already advanced 4 belts in that same time period.
Thing is, I’d bet the farm that my Jiujitsu guy can kick the other guy’s ass in a real fight. Assuming they are training a specific martial art of course. If they are also training in BJJ or other form of mixed martial arts, then I’d be more reserved with my betting on that call.
However, you take a pure karate guy with one year of training (except maybe kyokushin or some other form of real karate fighting, they might stand a chance) and put them up against a BJJ guy with one year of fighting, and that fight would more than likely go to the grappler.
This being said, I feel that boxing, judo, wrestling, and kickboxing are also arts that have you learning how to actually fight much sooner than what we’ll call the traditional martial art styles. I took Shotokan karate for a few months when I was younger, and I never actually learned how to fight in all that time. I learned some useless forms, punches, kicks and some blocks, but never actually used them in sparring. Lower belts were not allowed to make any contact whatsoever, no sparring.
In BJJ, as I mentioned earlier, we were live fighting from day one. One year later, you have one year of real fighting experience. This stuff is no joke, and I tell my friends who tease me for having a white belt that they should definitely try it out.
So in closing, I’ll repeat, don’t sleep on our rank, our white belts can fight! Don’t even get me started on the higher belts, they would just decimate you.