Sunday, September 18, 2011

Purple Belt: Achieved!

So, I traveled up to the Alliance HQ gym in Atlanta again yesterday for another try at my purple belt test. The last try was derailed by construction in 285, so this time we took a less direct route that avoided that exit altogether and managed to arrive on time. Jacare was at Fort Benning doing a seminar, but Alliance Black Belt DJ was there to handle the test for me and did an excellent job of taking me through everything. He had a helpful comment for almost everything which was awesome, I picked up several details on everything. I had a couple of missteps with the takedowns because we don't practice them enough, so my entry for them was shaky, I was also nervous as hell, but in the end I passed and now am the owner of a shiny new purple belt!

Up next was the traditional belt whipping, and being the person I am I ended up talking a little smack on my second pass through the line resulting in me doing the third pass without my gi top on. As a result my back is covered in bruises.

Next I got to roll with folks! First up was a black belt named Adam (Ok, it sounded like it would be spelled Adam, but I'm not 100% certain on that) who loop choked me a couple of times, nailed me with a one handed guillotine, and threw me around like crazy. His arms were like steel cables. It was great to see a black belt with a different style from Casey's too, it was equally impossible to do anything with him, but he would let you get to different places before springing his trap.
Next I got to roll with a couple of purple belts, both of whom I managed to catch with my roll-under loop choke while letting them pass to side control. One I also caught with it when he was standing up to try to pass. The first guy caught me with a very slick triangle setup, and the second guy was just a blast, very flexible, lots of flow, we both rolled for upside down guard simultaneously at one point.
Finally was a blue belt that had a very strong game. I caught him with the loop choke as well, but every time I went to pass his guard he would catch halfguard and then bump me forward and grab a single leg. EVERY time. It was awesome. I got him to show me what he was doing at the end of the roll so I could take it and use it for myself.

As your opponent is passing your halfguard you bring your top knee up and bump them forward, reach around and hug their leg and turn it into a takedown. Works Gi or No-Gi.

So, now at the 4 year and 10 month mark of my BJJ Journey I am a Purple Belt. Now I plan to enter the refinement stage of my training, selecting a handful of my best techniques and drilling them mercilessly until my personal game is at black belt level. That starts today at no-gi class. Looking forward to it!


  1. Awesome! Congrats Josh! Not that I ever had any doubts, but still cool to hear you made it. :D

    Did the long build up and testing process make it more special/meaningful that the "oh, here's your purple by the way" surprise method?

  2. The long buildup ended up making me WAY more nervous than I normally am for things like this, but in the end it did make it a lot more meaningful for me. It feels like a larger milestone on my journey than if I had just had a belt tossed at me while I was training one day.

    Also, I plan on writing a post about the whole belt whipping ritual too since I know you're interested in different peoples perspectives of it since you're on the side of "against it".

  3. Cool, I look forward to it. :)

    I think I can understand why some people like it (as in this), but yeah, I definitely fall into the anti camp. It would be enough to put me off training somewhere if I was looking for a club to join.

  4. Congratulations!

    It's always cool to see hard work rewarded. I practiced no-gi BJJ for four years and Judo for a year before I signed up for a no-gi class so I know the long road you traveled.