Vinny Magalhaes, a well-known figure in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) community, holds not one but two black belts—one in traditional BJJ under Gracie Tijuca and another in Eddie Bravo’s 10th planet system. This distinction places him among a select group of individuals, including the renowned Joe Rogan, who have achieved this feat.
The 10th planet system emerged as Eddie Bravo gained recognition for his victory over Royler Gracie at ADCC, despite not medaling in the competition. His unique approach to integrating techniques into traditional BJJ caught attention and led to the establishment of the 10th planet school—a growing affiliation with global reach. What sets 10th planet apart is Bravo’s naming and outlining of specific half positions, providing a comprehensive system for competitors to follow and articulate, which is uncommon in the gi-oriented BJJ world.
However, despite its distinctive contributions, 10th planet has faced challenges in asserting dominance in both MMA and high-level BJJ. While initially intended for MMA, only a select few 10th planet practitioners have achieved significant success at the highest levels of the sport.
Vinny Magalhaes stands out as a notable competitor who holds a black belt in the 10th planet system. Yet, he is not hesitant to voice his criticisms of the system. In a recent publicized statement, he delved into an intriguing discussion regarding his dual black belts:
“Something was brought up to me today when me and a couple of dudes were discussing my ‘double’ jiu-jitsu black belts (under Gracie Tijuca in 2005, and 10th Planet JJ in 2012), and their argument awkwardly made total sense… I was asked: ‘How come you were promoted to black belt under the 10th planet system (no-gi) after already being a black belt in BJJ for 7 years, after you had already become an IBJJF No-Gi World Champion (adult division) and an ADCC Champion?'”
Magalhaes acknowledged that his promotion to a 10th planet black belt likely had more to do with his understanding of the 10th planet system rather than his skill level as a no-gi grappler.
However, a thought-provoking counterargument was raised: “What kind of gi-specific techniques are they teaching at 10th planet? Every 10th planet black belt I’ve seen wears their black belt when they wear a gi. Wouldn’t that question the argument about wearing a belt based on knowledge of a specific system? In that case, wouldn’t they need to be extremely knowledgeable about gi-specific moves before earning a black belt in gi?”
While the observation may hold some validity, Magalhaes emphasized that it was not a question for him to answer directly.