Is The Jiu-Jitsu Douche-Bag Filter Broken?

A lot of people are going to get pissed off at me for this.

Being awarded a black belt by a legitimate instructor gives any individual more power than they may realize.  They possess power both in techniques that they have learned as well as power over lives of people who may be influenced by them.

Today on another site that blogs for the jiu-jitsu community I saw a report about a black belt based in Chicago who allegedly was kicked out of his team for trying to start a fight with a lesser ranked student.  This was not the first incident in which this black belt was accused of poor conduct. There have been many incidents reported on Reddit including one caught on video in which he was submitted in a tournament, clearly tapped, and then briefly protested.

The saddest part of all of this is that this individual isn’t even the worst example of the kinds of people that sometimes manage to make it to black belt.  I see reports more often than I’d like to of sexual predator black belts, of black belts who are violent, maladjusted people.  There is even a team that gained notoriety a few years back for various allegations of sexual assault and rape but that is still allowed to compete in our sport, and its members, even one who was convicted of a sexually-based offense, are able to continue to get matches at major invitational events.

We as a community need to hold each other to a higher level of accountability.

If some black belts have the disposition that would allow them to get into a fight with someone, they shouldn’t have made it to blue or purple, much less the esteemed professor’s rank.  Is the douchebag filter that BJJ is supposed to be broken?

Now, I am not saying which if any of these situations are true examples of what I am illustrating.  I don’t know, I wasn’t there. The individuals alluded to here may be entirely innocent of all accusations.  However, I’ve seen with my own two eyes behavior from upper belts in our community that is not befitting a person who may be allowed to affect vulnerable lives.  This behavior should exclude these individuals from learning the skill sets needed to make it through the ranks in our sport.

We need to set a higher standard for what it takes to make it past white belt.

Regardless of guilt, these allegations shine a negative light on our art, and if we truly love BJJ, we should want to protect it from this sort of light.  Jiu-jitsu is the gentle art, which means that those within it should be gentle people by nature.  If someone doesn’t have a gentle nature, maybe they shouldn’t have the privilege of growing in the art.

And by gentle, I don’t mean that people shouldn’t develop the ability to fight, or for that matter that jiujiteiros shouldn’t step into an MMA cage and do real damage.  But at the end of the day, outside of the sportive arena, we should be seen as examples to follow. People should be drawn to our art because of the kind of people that spend time practicing it, and the kinds of allegations that I see far too often are an indication that we simply don’t set a high enough standard.


  1. The text is ok, but the pic on the right isn’t.
    Black belt in white gi comes from a really good bjj school.
    They teach how to be humble, respectfull, thankfull, with no ego.
    They welcomed me to their familly and offerd me friendship when no one did.
    FS 4 life.

    • Hello thank you for your concern. The above picture is NOT intended to point to Ruben Alvarez, but rather the guy he was calling out when the picture was taken. Ruben is an example of the douchebag filter still working. He’s one of the good guys.

      BTW Ruben reached out to me to check whether or not the use of this picture was a dig at him, I informed him that it’s not. I have nothing bad to say about Ruben Alvarez.

  2. Hey this is Byron Lovvorn from Kakuto Challenge. I appreciate that you reached out to Ruben about the picture, but I still think it sends the wrong message for people that Only see headline and picture. Honestly, maybe 40% of people get the chance to read actual articles. Ruben is the most stand up guy and honorable person I’ve met. He stayed in Miami as a first response team member for Irma along side his mother and father. ( they are all police officers) I like the article but cringe seeing his picture associated with it : ) lol but feel free to use his picture when you write a positive article about the next guys in BJJ . But seriously , that guys literally gives away about 20% of the money he wins to other competitors! I just hate that all that he does goes unnoticed. I Couldn’t be more proud to call him one of our champions and a dear friend!

  3. You might want to run this by the beach brawling dojo storming Gracies. See what the original family of BJJ have to say considering their history of fighting

  4. There are still purist academies such as my own (American Top Team Rockledge) where douche bags are filtered out before blue. However, let us now forget that Gracie Jiu Jitsu came from and evolved for street fighting.


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