Do Belts really matter in BJJ?

Nicky Ryan, Nick Rodriguez and Ethan Crelinsten recently discussed whether belts matter in the world of nogi grappling.

The world of Jiu-Jitsu has always been competitive, with the IBJJF World Championships reigning supreme for years. However, in recent times, the cultural tides have turned, and the ADCC has emerged as the premier Jiu-Jitsu competition.

The IBJJF is a for-profit organization that is more interested in preserving its autonomy than the growth and development of Jiu-Jitsu as a sport. As a result, the organization has lost the support of many practitioners who believe that the focus should be on the art of Jiu-Jitsu, not on making money.

On the other hand, the ADCC is dedicated to the growth and development of Jiu-Jitsu. The competition takes place every two years, and the community of practitioners is more in tune with the ADCC than ever before.

Rodriguez even previously said: “Winning USA (ADCC) trials now it’s more valuable than winning Black belt worlds.”

Rodriguez has an ADCC silver medal yet he’s not even a black belt. As per their discussion, lower belts can still be very skilled. There are some blue belts who are able to beat black belts due to their high-level grappling skills.

Skill level matters more than submission ability in nogi grappling. Good positioning and knowledge of movements can take you far.Belt ranking is important for competition purposes but may not matter as much in the world of submission grappling.

B team’s Ethan Crelinsten elaborated:

“I guess it’s like separating the more sort of gi jiu jitsu you just see you’re talking about the more belts are going to matter. You know, they rank you competitive wise, where you… who you’re going to face. They rank you in the gym. It’s like super rigid, structured, but like no gi I think is turning more into just submission grappling.”

“So it’s going to be like, you know, wrestlers are going to come in, it’s going to be more like who’s on top. ”

Rodriguez added:

“It’s like wrestling with submission. ”

Crelinsten concluded: “I think the belts are going to matter less and less over time, but it’s still you know, we do it here. We have a wall of photos and where everyone stacks up, I think it’s like motivating.”

“I remember when I like when I was starting, even though I wasn’t doing the guys that much, I still cared. When I got a belt, I thought it was cool. It’s like a trophy. It’s like, Oh, yeah, I earned this thing a little milestone. “