Mr. Jiu-Jitsu On Awarding Junior Black Belts: ‘I’m Actually Not Against It’

Left photo by Mike Mihas.

Mike Mihas — better known by his Facebook name as “Mr. Jiu-Jitsu” — doesn’t see anything wrong with awarding junior Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts.

“I’m not against it actually,” Mihas told me via Skype video chat on Sunday evening. “I know it’s kind of unpopular, but I’m actually not against it.”

That does not mean Mr. Jiu-Jitsu supports handing out a black belt to every spoiled brat who shows up on the mats after his parents shell out the required dough.  No one wants Brazilian jiu-jitsu to go down the same road numerous other martial arts have gone down.

But Mihas believes there is no reason you can’t have junior black belts and high standards in your school:

If there is a set of rules and standards that you have to follow…if you’re a junior black belt, and you’re 14 years old, you should have a certain skillset by that age.

Happy New Years from the Mr JJ crew. I got mad crazy love for all my loyal people that follow me!

Posted by Mr Jiu-Jitsu on Monday, January 1, 2018

Mr. Jiu-Jitsu elaborated:

I think a junior black belt should be competent not just on the mat but mentally, too. They should show…they should be able to teach other junior students, they should have a different aura about them. They should understand technique, they should understand talking to adults, talking to children, they should be very advanced to be a junior black belt in my eyes. There should be a lot of advancement at that age. It’s not for everyone, obviously. I don’t think they should be handing them out because you did jiu-jitsu for eight years. You should be able to show something after eight years.

It’s not for everyone, obviously. I don’t think they should be handing them [junior black belts] out because you did jiu-jitsu for eight years. You should be able to show something after eight years.

Junior black belts weren’t the only topic on tap, either. Mihas shared his opinions on the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro’s recent decision to prohibit anyone below black belt from teaching alone during class **.

Needless to say, Mr. Jiu-Jitsu is not fan:

Let’s talk about someone who’s in the armed forces, or someone who travels for work, or they’re in a remote area where there’s not a black belt. What are you supposed to do? Not train? Not learn? 

As with junior black belts, Mihas’ support for non-black belt instructors comes with conditions. He believes they should not only be up front with their credentials, but they should only teach what they know. After that, they may want to call in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt instructor for a seminar.

Mihas and I ended our conversation by talking about his travels. Mr. Jiu-Jitsu works in construction and his job requires that he travel all over the US. Despite having kids, he is sometimes away from home for three or four days.

That doesn’t stop him from training wherever and whenever he can, though. Mihas has no problem getting up at 5am to do an early morning class or driving an hour away to train for fifty minutes at the nearest gym.

But don’t think for a second Mr. Jiu-Jitsu is Mr. Deadbeat Dad. No matter what he has to do to train, he always makes time for his kids and the rest of his family.

“I’ve never missed training for my family, and I’ve never missed my family for training,” Mihas told me. “I make time for them both.”

And we here at the Jiu-Jitsu Times are glad he took the time to do this interview with us.

You can watch it in its entirely below:

** EDITOR’S NOTE: In the video, I mistakenly claimed it was the IBJJF that instituted this rule. 


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