If you’ve been keeping up with Brazilian jiu-jitsu-related news, you’ve probably heard about former BJJ black belt and MMA fighter, Enson Inoue’s decision to demote himself to purple belt.
After reading Inoue’s heartfelt explanation of dropping himself two ranks, you may have admired his humility . . .
. . . that is, unless you’re sixth-degree BJJ black belt, Chris Haueter.
In a recent Instagram post, Haueter – who has the honor of being one of the first Americans to be promoted to BJJ black belt – tore into Inoue, referring to the later’s self-demotion as “false humility.”
You can read the entire post below.
Some who responded to the thread agreed with Haueter. Grappleartsreview opined:
“You trusted your instructor enough to go through the ranks and they entrusted you with a black belt. You don’t give rank back that your earned, even if you are rusty or don’t know the newest hottest berimheelhook. There are numerous black belts who don’t use the newest flashy techniques and they crush it in comps and in teaching. IMO A black belt isn’t knowing every technique; it’s having the basics mastered, good moral character, and the ability to pass on knowledge to those under you.”
Haueter even earned the support of red-and-black coral belt Fabio Santos, who posted on Facebook that an instructor is “the only one” who can promote or demote.
Yet Inoue’s supporters were quick to defend the former black belt. One person who posted in Haueter’s Instagram thread under the handle “jshilz” defended students who chose to refuse promotions.
“You can realize that you don’t have the emotion maturity to be a black belt. I have rejected promotions because I didn’t feel mature enough for the next rank. I have been to black belt ceremonies where the individual rejects their rank because they feel as though they are ready to handle the responsibility of being a black belt or do not want the added weight of being an authority figure on the mat. There are also people that feel as though they do not have the character traits associated with being a black belt. They want time to refine those.”
Enson’s students also came to their instructor’s rescue. One person going under the handle “seanrgpreston” fired back at grappleartsreview, saying the only person who has a right to judge Enson is his instructor, John Lewis.
“Enson has always marched to the beat of his own drum, he always will. He’s doing what in his heart he feels is right, and good for him, he is not hurting anybody nor is he disrespecting anybody or anything. The only person who would have the right to criticize his decision would be John Lewis.”
Enson Inoue himself later joined the thread, and in the true spirit of respecting one’s opponent, thanked Haueter for his criticism.
“Thank you@chrishaueterart for your post. Although I disagree that it is false humility I understand your point. I respect it and I love that quote “drive on, don’t quit” Quitting in something I will never do. Hope to roll with you someday.”
Haueter responded in kind, saying that he still thought Enson was “a bad ass.”
Enson also took the time to explain his decision with another long, heartfelt social media post. Only this time, he took to his video camera.
You can listen to his entire explantion here.