Red-and-black coral belt Jean-Jacques Machado has responded to criticisms of his coral belt.
The criticism came from Roberto Atalla, head of the Rio Grappling Club.
Jean Jacques criticized his former student, Todd Nathanson, not only for being promoted from third-degree black belt to red-and-black coral belt (which is the equivalent of a seventh-degree black belt), but for having one of his students promote him, something that is unheard of in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Atalla called Jean Jacques a hypocrite because Jean Jacques himself got his coral belt early. According to IBJJF guidelines, a person can only be given a coral belt after 31 years at black belt. The earliest one can get a black belt under the IBJJF is 19, meaning that the earliest one can get a coral belt is 50. Jean Jacques, however, was in his early forties when he got his coral belt.
Machado responded to the criticism in a lengthy Facebook post, saying that at the time he was awarded his belt, the guidelines said a BJJ practitioner only needed to be a black belt for 25 years. He also said his years at black belt were far different from other black belts:
“It is important to point out that at the time I was awarded my Coral Belt, the timeline to achieve that rank was 25 years at the Black Belt level. I would like to not believe it was because of my promotion, but I did find it ironic that an evaluation was made shortly after and the timeline changed to 30 years. In addition, my years spent as a Black Belt were far, far different than the average Black Belt. Nevertheless, to this day I still consider it one of the highest honors of my life when the man I refer to as Master, the great legend Rickson Gracie, tied it around my waist.”
You can read Jean Jacques entire post below: