Belt Promotions and Tying The Belt Ceremony


So why do we at the 3G Team tie knots into our belt?


Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to train with many instructors at many different academies and was able to witness their promotion ceremonies. Each one had their own distinct style.


Some ran their students through a gauntlet while others used extremely creative methods to surprise them. Some were such big academies that there was no surprise in it for the students but these academies created large events to celebrate the accomplishments. Each for me was impressive.


The reasons why we tie knots into our belts goes back to the early 90’s. I was watching a friend that taught another style of ju-jitsu go through his promotion ceremony. This was what I call my “caveman Jiu-Jitsu” days, which is another story altogether. I can’t honestly remember what it meant or even if he explained to me what the relevance was for them, but I immediately saw significance in that knot.


It wasn’t until 2003 when I earned my black belt and started doing my own promotion ceremonies that I started using this method. In those ten years between seeing this knotting of the belt and actually using it for my own promotions, I developed my own theories of what it means. So with that let’s get to it.

What’s the point of the knot? I’ve got three reasons.


1. It signifies the “locking in” of the information and really serves as a reminder of the experiences and lessons learned during that time in the belt.


2. The tightening of the knot by the instructor and student signifies the bond not only between the two but also the bonds of the brotherhood/sisterhood of Jiu-Jitsu as a whole. At the higher ranks, not only the instructor but also training partners of higher, lesser or equal rank are invited to take part. Once you achieve that high a rank in Jiu-Jitsu it is not solely the instructor that got you to where you are but anyone and everyone you have trained with and learned from that got you to where you are.


3. The strands vs. the loop. Summed up, the one being promoted is the strands; a disorderly mess of techniques. The loop represents those that have worked to bring order or flow to your movements. The instructor or those who took part in your development hold the loop; they bring order and understanding to your Jiu-Jitsu. The student holds the strands, his disorder, his mess of techniques. Together they tighten the knot, locking in what they know and with the hope of some day attaining some level of perfection of movement.

Testimonial From One Of Our Students

There used to be a time where I never even considered myself a fan of Martial arts.  I would watch movies and play games but it never translated itself into a real world passion for them.  It might have been that I just didn’t understand them or just thought that they weren’t for me.  I had never actually been exposed to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu until I saw a video on youtube one day.  It hit something in my brain that made me think “Wow, this could be fun.”  Of course like most things at the time I put it away in my head thinking that there was never any chance I could perform even 1/4 of the moves I saw these guy do.  I was in terrible shape and had absolutely no confidence in my ability to perform even the most basic of tasks.


However there was always that little nagging thought in the back of my head.  That thing that just said to try it.  So I started searching the web and found a couple of schools in my area.  There was a small school in Telford practically right down the street from me so one night I gathered what little confidence I had and strolled in.  I asked if I could watch a class and was told by the instrcutor that I was more then welcome to.  After watching the class I was even more intriqued strictly because of the way Jiu-Jitsu seemed to work.  It seemed to hit soething in my head and now my brain was practically screaming at me to do it.  It was another situation where I put it away in my head thinking to do it later.  It was another situation of me psyching myself out of doing something I thought I might like.
Almost another year after that I finally started looking at schools again.  I stumbled upon the Rosendo Diaz Jiu-Jitsu academy while randomly browsing the web one day and just started to think about it again.  This time however I was not going to let my lack of confidence stop me.  I summoned up what courage I had and called the number.  I will say this right now, I don’t think there was a time that I was more scared in my life.  However looking back it was one of the best choices I ever made.
Rosendo was incredibly polite over the phone and even put up with me when I got lost driving to his academy in Chalfont.  He got me sized up for a Gi right away and before I knew what was happeneing I was on the mats getting ready to do my first ever Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.  I forget what happened in the first class since it was almost a year ago at this point but I do remember when I left that I knew I would be coming back.  We did a whole lot of drills and just added a little bit to it over time.  Before I knew it almost an hour had passed.  It felt like I had only been there for a few minutes but I guess its true that time flies when you’re having fun.
After class was over everyone paired up and had 5 minute sessions Rosendo called “rolling” but he broke off for a minute to just chat with me about Jiu-Jitsu and to see if I liked it.  It was great to see an instructor get so involved with his students and it really made me think that his place was going to be the one I stayed at.  I don’t think I had ever felt more relief then knowing that I had found something that I really enjoyed and could turn into a cool hobby.  The atmosphere in the academy was very relaxed and laid back and everyone just seemed to get along with each other.  Its the perfect atmosphere for people who just want to learn the art and not feel like they are constantly competing with the other people in the gym.
Months have gone by since the time I first started at the academy.  I can now count a high number of new friends I have made there while also learning what is in my opinion one of the coolest Martial Arts in the world.  I gotten to not only see but feel and be told that I have gotten a lot better at the art and its one of the biggest confidence boosters you will ever get in your life.  Doing something that 3 months back you struggled with at first but now can just nail as easily as walking down in the street is a high better then anything on the planet.  Finally blocking that sweep or submission that you always seemed to get caught with will put a huge dumb smile on your face like you just got the Christmas present you were alwyas hoping you would get.
I guess this is running a bit long so I’ll close on this.  Anyone can do Jiu-Jitsu.  I have been swept by guys I outweigh by over a hundred pounds and they made it look easy.  I have seen guys who you can’t expect to move as fast as they are do moves you don’t even think their body can conform to.  Its an art that is designed so that as long as you can move you can do almost anything.  Even if you think you can’t do it Rosendo will be there to help you along or offer some advice as to help your technique.  Its amazing what just a little subtle move can do to make something work.  So if you have been thinking about doing a Martial Art for a long time I highly recommend that you call up Rosendo and give it a shot.  If I can do this then you certainly can.  Hope to see you there.
Mike K –