BJJ Poll: Does Your BJJ Academy Charge for Belt Promotions?

This week’s BJJ Poll comes to us from Robyn, another one of the Mighty 600,000. Thanks for sending it our way!

If you have any remarks or thoughts on whether jiu-jitsu students should have to pay when it is time to be promoted to a new belt, please give us a call on our toll free recording line 877-247-4662! Of course you can also leave a comment below.

16 Replies to “BJJ Poll: Does Your BJJ Academy Charge for Belt Promotions?”

  1. I won’t spoil the results, I’ll let people vote first, but that is INSANE.
    Where I train you have to buy the belt, but the promotion is free.
    And you don’t have to buy it from “the company store” either, you can buy it wherever you want.

  2. @Ed: you have to buy the belt?! That’s insane! 😉

    We buy nothing and pay for nothing except tuition. We have no ceremony or date for promotions. One unknown day in class, you’ll get smacked with a belt during a roll. You stop, get congratulated, tie it on; class continues.

  3. Oh you still get smacked with a belt, they lend you one to tie it on, take pictures, get everything documented, you shed a tear. The whole 9 yards, but the instructor doesn’t have new belts lying around, you gotta go get it yourself.
    At least there isn’t a fee!

  4. I am generally an open-minded person, willing to consider both sides of a story or argument, but this is crazy. It’s one thing to charge for the purchase of the belt (which is a little petty, in my opinion, but I could accept that) but to charge for the actual promotion? So if someone is a white belt for 2 years, is tapping blue belts out left and right, but can’t scrape up the money for the promotion, they don’t get promoted to blue? That is contrary to the art and spirit of BJJ, and pretty much most martial arts.

    I realize instructors need to make a living, but charging for a promotion smells really bad and qualifies that school for “McDojo” status.

    Please, someone, tell me how paying for a promotion is justifiable, because I cannot think of one valid reason.

  5. due to geography my club is affiliated with a bb in another area about 12 hours away, he has a few clubs with good level guys in each that he visits often

    every year all the clubs get together and there is one training day / grading, if you get a promotion you pay a certain amount and if you dont you pay a lesser amount.

    this money covers rent for the larger venue that is needed, and the people who pay more after recieving the belt promotion are covering the cost of the belt itself. and its not any more that $30 for people who recieve the belt and $10 for those that dont.

    and the instructor may make some little money off it, but bjj is his full time job and hes not exactley driving a flashy car, he competes worldwide and we get the benefit of his,

    technically we are charged, but not in a profit making way, i have gone a few times to the grading day knowing that I was not due a promotion and i will continue to do so as its a good training session and we are all team mates.

    Its not a bad thing always if people pay for gradings………. when its not a large amount of money

  6. We do not not pay for promotions or belts. Two times a year there will be a special in house tournament with promotions at the end. If you are supposed to be promoted and not there you have to wait for the next one. Everyone is asked to bring in canned food to donate to a fund for children of low income families and promotees are required to bring in canned food. I do not see this as having to pay for a promotion but a good way to help a community.

  7. I voted yes but that was before I listened to episode 177 and got some clarity about it. My club charges a nominal fee for the belt test but the belt/promotion is free.

  8. I remember after getting my blue my instructor would say, “now you have to go get a ‘real’ belt.”
    “A real belt?”
    “One with the strap for the stripes.”
    “But Fabio, you gave me this belt…and I don’t really care about the stripes.”
    “Yeah, but there’s an order to things. It would be nice to be able to give you a stripe.”

    So after a month or so of this he finally lines me up with a couple others and actually stripes me on my all solid blue belt.
    “There, that ought to make you get one.”
    “Alright, alright, I’ll get it.” (I ordered one that night.)

    Thing is, he ordered a bunch of blues in bulk and they didn’t come with the black strap for the stripes. So technically I had to go get one but that wasn’t a big deal. No test fee. No belt fees. Nada. In fact, I don’t think I would actually PAY a fee. I would just stay whatever belt I was. Personally though I don’t care what color my belt is or how many stripes I have on it. I’ve actually told Fabio, “dude, look, I’m not going anywhere. I know a lot of guys may get discouraged if they don’t get that constant reminder or their improvement but I honestly don’t care. If it takes me 10 years to get to purple it won’t bother me, really.” One of the reasons I’m actually AT Fabio’s is the fact that it’s so laid back and there isn’t a “syllabus” or testing fees and the kind of stuff I’ve seen elsewhere.

    But that’s just me…

  9. My academy does not charge for promotions or belts. This makes the whole affair less of a business transaction and more of an honor. Leave the nickel and diming of students up to the corner Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido schools. Great arts, but they are all about money. I could see charging for the belt, if only to give the students the option to choose the manufacturer. The belt test? Never! The irony is it cheapens the sport while making it more expensive.

  10. We do pay for testing … i doesn’t bother that much , since the academy is a business it helps to keep it running.

  11. also I won’t use the “Mc dojo” word ( quoting Rich H ) , considering the value of the instructor that my school have.

  12. I still don’t think buying a belt is a big deal. But paying for testing is recockulous.
    I would be torn between staying a white belt forever to tap black belts, or going to a better gym.

  13. We pay for our “belt” and testing fee. We are a pedro affiliate so we actually have to test on the sylabus but it ok i guess. its not like you are testing every other month or anything.

  14. @franck-“We do pay for testing … i doesn’t bother that much , since the academy is a business it helps to keep it running.”

    You actually pay for the classes right? THAT is what should keep the academy going. What happens if you don’t pay for the testing? Do you just stay at white belt? And end up tapping blues, and purples, and browns, and blacks, as you progress? I would think that your instructor would actually get more grief from other instructors if you were entering tournaments and absolutely crushing the competition.

    “Hey, why do you still have that kid at white belt? He’s way better than white?”
    “Well, he refuses to pay the fee to be promoted.”

    In my eyes your belt is a rough indication of your skill level, not whether you paid some guy on a separate occasion to confirm that skill level. Part of the instructors job, in my opinion, is to evaluate you. All the time. Each time you step on the mat, he should be confirming your skill level.

    @Tren-“We pay for our “belt” and testing fee. We are a pedro affiliate so we actually have to test on the sylabus but it ok i guess. its not like you are testing every other month or anything.”

    No, you are testing EVERY time you step on the mat. No disrespect to Pedro, but I’m not a big fan of his testing methods and fees.

  15. With all the dedication,commitment,time,and money that a student spends on training and competing, I think that it is a slap in the face when he or she is charged to be promoted to the level that meets their skill, and ability .If any thing I believe that the only belt that a student should be charged for is their black belt.

  16. I was told 11days before our test date for purple belt that we had to pay .thats bullshit oh yea and test for stripes and pay. so I quit.if this gym is promoting people based on money then who needs them.I will go train somewhere better then a school that doesnt respect me! If moneys that tight then maybe the doors should close.oh yeah never t.p . in the bathroom.

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