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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.