In Jiu-Jitsu we have 3 general camps of thought. The first is the old school mentality that Jiu-Jitsu should always be trained in the Kimono. The Second is the more modern thought that we should train both in the gi and nogi. Lastly we have the idea that we should only train nogi. I do not want to argue over which school of thought is the best, however I do want to dive into a related topic. The one thing many people find odd about the nogi only grapplers is that they are still awarded “belts”. These belts are presented upon promotion, but never really worn. Many people have been discussing this lately so I wanted to present an argument for why nogi grapplers should not be awarded Jiu Jitsu “belts”. This is not an attempt to bash the nogi only guys. I highly respect what they do, but I do think that presenting belts is both pointless and raises a few issues within the community.
- Like I said, it is pointless to award actual belts. The belt is realistically what holds the gi together and in nogi it is unnecessary and not used. I understand that it provides a sentiment to the level of achievement, but a certificate would do the same thing.
- The belt idea comes from traditional martial arts, which nogi only training really abandons. The Nogi only style is closer to wresting/catch wrestling in many ways than a traditional martial art.
- This one is going to start some debates for sure…. Awarding belts to nogi grapplers provides a false representation of the art. What I mean by this is that when someone says they are a black belt nogi, most new students don’t understand the difference and this can raise some issues. Further a black belt in nogi does not usually have many of the gi techniques at their arsenal and thus this raises further issues. What does real Jiu Jitsu require we know? In my eyes a Jiu Jitsu black belt should be able to teach both gi and nogi. But in some cases this cannot be said for those who train strictly nogi.
What do you think? Should nogi only grapplers still be awarded belt or is it better to just provide some type of certificate to their level of advancement?