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I was awarded my 3rd Degree Black Belt Yesterday

Yesterday, I had a big day in my Jiu Jitsu career. I was promoted to 3rd degree Black Belt by my friend Henrique Saraiva, and in front of Master Carlson Gracie Jr.

3rd degree is a big one. At this belt, you can grant your own Black belts and degrees. Previously, if I wanted to give a Black belt, it was with permission from someone with a 3rd degree. They were the awarding instructor, not I.

This means I’m now, like all 3rd degrees, in the position of deciding who is a good representative of Jiu Jitsu. Who will get to be a black belt, and why.

I remember someone asking me why it mattered. Like, who cares if someone sub-standard gets a black belt? It doesn’t effect things much right?

Well if I can be forgiven a tangent…

We live in a time where everything can be reduced to a meme. Nothing is sacred or serious. Nothing is held as an unbreakable principle. Truth is subjective. The foundational principles of the universe, (like the very shape of the planet we live on!) are questionable and mutable. Everything is up for auction in the sphere of ideas and principles.

In this world, why not give out a black belt to someone who just really, really wants one?

“A man gotta have a code”- Omar Little (from The Wire)

My role might be small, like who in one small part of the Northside of Dublin gets awarded a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, but it is my part of the legacy of Jiu Jitsu. It’s important to me.

Thank you to all of my students who were there yesterday to make the day very special for me. You don’t get many like it, and I’m glad to have shared it with you.

See you on the mat,


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