Why I promote how I promote

To the question why I promote people by time and not by competence.


During Joe Rogan's podcasts with Fira Zahabi they discussed the topic of a dojo giving belts by time, not by talent and watering down jiu-jitsu. I hesitate to do a video explaining my point of view, and after a lot of thinking I decided that it was not a good idea. To explain my point of view I would have to explain everything that I have read and learned of human behavior to people that believe that they don’t have biases or preconceptions on the matter. Not everyone can intermingle and understand the concepts of philosophy, human behavior and psychology on this subject.


The inevitable occurred in my dojo and one of my students started to ask me the same questions. Before any of my students judge me on my stance on the subject, I'd like to explain my views and why I feel anyone who gets ranked under my name should undergo my method of time before talent.


If you give a belt based on skill what are you doing exactly? You are judging someone's skills in comparison to what YOU think is a blue/purple/brown and black belt based on your past and present experiences. These variables are based on your own experiences which are being influenced by your geographic location and culture. This can differ so much, and from my own experiences, I have seen belt requirements being different for every country, city and dojo, even in the same city.


Your sensei is a human being with feelings, religion, beliefs, culture all of which influence him. So if we use the theory of skill, promoting people by competence, in reality is promoting people that look more like you, behave how you like, are more familiar to your culture, history, gender, or attraction (sexual or not). A professor can never really, REALLY be fair, even myself, I will always have my subconscious bias. If you don’t agree with my stance on the subject, rest assured there is documented science on human bias, this is not only my opinion.


There are also many other factors to consider. For example would a man with good health and strength already have certain notions as to how skillful or healthy another person should be? How can you judge a woman half your size and power fairly? You would always hold her to your subconscious standards of the power and speed of a stronger person? What about a person that is 20 years older or younger, or a person with mental or physical deficiencies? These people will possibly never have the same strength or ability that the professor had (or thought he had) when he got his black belt. It's already perceived that people can only have a black belt if they are strong, now on top of that each professor is adding his own personal biases to the formula. So how do you judge a student fairly?


My answer is this:

You should use a variable that is not influenced by anyone, TIME. Time does not discriminate or judge. Time invested in Jiu Jitsu cannot be disputed. You should not be judged by how many competitions you win, or how many moves you know. I believe that jiu-jitsu is a way of life, so I decided to not push people that don’t want to compete (but I still enjoy to motivate my team to compete if they wish) and I made my decision to judge by hours.


Watering down Jiu Jitsu and counting the hours your student dedicates to the art can be the same, or two very different things. For example you can have the professor that doesn't care at all if your skill improves after a certain amount of dedicated hours and still promotes you. You can have the professor that promotes you just because they like you or they think you have enough skill.  


When you count the time your students invested in Jiu Jitsu you can’t lie to yourself. If your students are bad relative to their belt level, you know that you have to increase the hours for them to get promoted or to do a better job as an instructor.


I appreciate you all that have come to me for instruction in this art that I've dedicated so much of myself. I hope to help you all reach the goals you have in this beautiful art.



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