Ranking, Merit, etc

bELT-SYSTEMMy first day in BJJ I got to witness a belt promotion.
This little guy who was whupping all of our butts
was getting an upgrade.
There was no formality, no pomp or circumstance,
just a recognition of merit.

As my days added up in BJJ,
I got to witness many more promotions.
Some formal, some informal,
some meritorious,
and some real head scratchers.
Not all (insert belt color here) belts are created equal.

I have asked many instructors what they base their criteria upon.
Some had objective measures
but I was so incredibly disappointed to find out how subjective belts were.
Perhaps the best characterization of this subjectivity is:
Rank is concurrent with realized potential

While I want everyone to realize their own unique potential,
I find this no good reason to have no objective measures of rank.
There needs to be an upper and lower limit of skill for each belt.
I don’t think any governing body needs to enforce this.
I think tournament competition and business competition can sort this out just fine.

But I don’t want merit based ranking to stop there.
In the Martial Arts,
there are various ways to measure ability:
-The competitor
-The non-competitor
-Ability based on Age (we have different belts for kids, why not seniors?)
-The teacher

Being good at one doesn’t mean one will be good for the other.
For that reason, I would like to see a variety in belts, patches, stripes,
or other designators.
Recognizing these merits will improve them
and improve the Martial Arts.

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