Expressing the idea that BJJ is always evolving is a common enough sentiment, but how many masters of the craft are willing to put their money where their mouths are? This might be the impetus behind Enson Inoue’s recent decision to demote himself to purple belt.
Inoue is a well-known figure in the BJJ and MMA world, but he’s been retired from MMA for over a decade, with the exception of a brief comeback bout in 2010. After making the decision to return to jiu-jitsu, Inoue has also made the decision to give up his black belt to focus on the changes in martial arts since his last competition.
Enson Inoue posted on facebook:
I know this journey will be long and hard and I want to be real. This is no bullshit nor is it a joke but I’m going to demote myself to purple belt.
I got a black belt 18 years ago and as we all know BJJ is always evolving. I jumped off the BJJ bandwagon 10 years ago and it has pulled far far ahead.
I did the Purebred beginning class again today and again ALL the moves were new to me. Also mybody has stiffened so much that I couldn’t even move fluidly.
At the time I got promoted to black belt I was a black belt at that time. However, what BJJ has become I can honestly say I am NOT a black belt. Yeah it’s cool to be a black belt but to me a true black belt should be technically and spiritually sound. I feel confident spiritually but not technically.
A black belt is not about status but about respecting the art of BJJ and for me to put a black belt on would be disrespecting the sport.
So I’m officially a purple belt and this is where my journey back to BJJ will continue.