Earlier today, Jiu-Jitsu Times reported on a school in Maine, Stonecoast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and offering promotion to junior black belt to their children. The decision by the head instructor of this school, Shaun Durfee, to offer this promotion has sparked controversy on social media as well as reddit.
At the heart of the issue lie 2 mindsets:
- The belt must be kept to tradition, there is a set of colors available to children and a set available to adults, in order to maintain the integrity of the art the two sets should be kept separate
- Belts are fundamentally only there to keep us interested, and if a school wants to use junior black belts to keep their kids interested, that’s their business.
The instructor of the head coach at the Stonecoast School, Jay Jack, went on Facebook live earlier today to talk about his opinions on this matter:
Re: My student Shaun Durfee awarding a "Junior Black Belt".
Posted by Jay Jack on Thursday, February 15, 2018
Jack was the first person promoted to black belt by Amal Easton who is a well respected Renzo Gracie black belt. Renzo has been quoted as disapproving of children receiving junior black belts. Jack, however, stands by his student’s decision to offer this belt to children.
For his part, Shaun Durfee has also posted a video on his offering of junior black belts:
Posted by Shaun Durfee on Thursday, February 15, 2018
This subject will continue to be one of contention, and because there is no single governing body in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that has any authority there may never be a solid guide for what is and is not acceptable for junior students.
Some academies stick with the traditional belt system, some offer kids’ belts to adults, and in some rare cases like the aforementioned school in Maine there is the junior black belt option.
Do you feel that it is appropriate for school’s to offer a junior black belt as a way to keep kids interested? Or does that fly in the face of the traditions of jiu-jitsu?