Monday, September 19, 2011

Commentary on Belt Whipping

Slideyfoot has already done an excellent writeup here on what the tradition is and why some people like it and some people don't in general. Since he's the sort of fellow that enjoys getting additional perspectives on things from various people that train I thought I would write up my experience and how I feel about the tradition.

After it was decided that I had successfully completed my test for Purple Belt the class was lined up, etc... Just as described above. I started on the end opposite the instructor and walked towards him while the other students, probably around 30 of them, gleefully battered me with their belts. Through the Gi I barely felt it, but the whole atmosphere was very infectious. I was grinning through it and on the way back started to talk a little smack. Specifically I told them they hit like little girls. As a result I got cat-called a bit about walking through one time without the Gi. I stripped the Gi top off with a grin and jogged back through the line one time which resulted in the bruises you can see in this picture:

That was entirely optional and my own fault. After having the belt tied on me I walked back through with the Gi top on again with my new belt for a total of 4 trips through the line.

Frankly, I enjoyed the experience. It was definitely a bonding experience with the rest of the class and I feel more comfortable with the idea of  going up there to train with them and I feel like I earned a place within the Alliance Family by participating in the same ritual that all of the other people have participated in.

On that note, I did NOT get a belt whipping when I got my Blue belt. I don't know why, but I agree with the lack. I think that achieving the purple warrants a little hazing and initiation as it shows you're definitely committed to JiuJitsu, whereas the Blue is still that introductory rank. I'm sure some people will be appalled at the bruises, but I'm completely unbothered by them.

I don't know that I necessarily wholeheartedly approve of the tradition, but it's right for me and it's something I will likely continue when I eventually have a school of my own.


  1. Interesting that they don't whip blue belts. Do they whip black belts? I have heard some schools that normally whip don't whip black belts, while others only allow other black belts to whip the new entrant to their rank.

    How about woman and children? Exactly the same treatment, or slightly different?

  2. Kids don't get belt whippings that I know of. Adult women as far as I know are treating exactly the same, but I doubt they get the same kind of gusto filled beating that I elicited.

    I've never seen anyone get promoted to black belt, but I'll ask Ian if he got whipped for his... He's the most recent BB promotion I know of there.

    None of the guys that tested for Blue with me got whipped, so as far as I can tell it's normal.

  3. Reason I ask is that topic came up in the EFN thread I mentioned in the article: seemed to be an interesting point that cuts to the heart of the matter (i.e., is this an acceptable practice for a sports club looking to attract members, particularly women and children).

    Martial arts seem to get a pass to a certain extent with various hazing traditions (and I guess other contact sports, like rugby or something like that). The military does too, though as somebody also mentioned in that thread, perhaps especially understandable in a career where it's likely that you or somebody you work with is going to get killed.

  4. Hahahaha awesome! I love it. Congrats on the purple belt and congrats on enjoying the feeling of comradery!

    We do belt whippings at my school, though the guys definitely get it much harder than the gals :)

    Your photo is INTENSE!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog, btw--it's how I found my way here!