Twice each year Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioners from Capital MMA’s locations in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland attend the Semiannual Belt Promotions Seminars & Ceremony. Our November 23, 2019 event was the largest to date! Twenty five members received their blue belts, eight members received their purple belts, and three members received their brown belts. Nearly 100 additional members were there to cheer them on as they leveled up.
Capital’s newest black belts—Roland Barringer, Dante Herrera and David Crockett—taught a series of exceptional seminars. This past October these gentlemen proved their mettle at Royce Gracie’s prestigious annual black belt test. Having them demonstrate and pass on their knowledge and experience during the seminars portion of our big day was a proud moment for the Capital tribe.
Several people asked, what is the significance of the navy blue rank bar on belts? In the beginning Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belts were not awarded based on fighting skill. Instead belt colors were awarded to distinguish instructors from students. At this time instructors wore a light blue belt and head instructors—who completed the professor’s course—wore a navy blue belt. Furthermore, the founding fathers wanted to separate themselves from the Judo instructors of the time because they were concerned that Judo had become a sport for competition, and was no longer a complete martial art.
Judo’s belt system was adopted when the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation was created in 1967 by Elcio Leal Binda. Additionally, sport Jiu-Jitsu rules were created. While Grandmasters Carlos and Hélio Gracie were opposed, they felt a great deal of pressure from students who believed that tournaments would have no ill effect on the art.
Later in his life Grandmaster Hélio realized that, like Judo before, Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was becoming a sport for competition, and was no longer a complete martial art. Also, red belts were being given by individuals who were not red belts themselves. To protest, Grandmaster Hélio put back on his navy blue belt. When Grandmaster Hélio Gracie passed away, his son Royce Gracie took the mantel and began wearing a navy blue belt. Capital MMA & Elite Fitness’ founder—Jeremy Lafreniere—began his Jiu-Jitsu journey under Royce Gracie in 1997.
Capital MMA’s Jiu-Jitsu practitioners honor Grandmaster Hélio Gracie and Royce Gracie, and their teachings, by wearing navy blue rank bars.