When a white belt taps a black belt in competition…

black belt vs white belt

Jiu Jitsu Times recently posted an interesting video of a white belt submitting a black belt at a NAGA in Germany.  Equally interesting were the responses of our readers.

If you haven’t seen the video yet Click Here

One reader responded “Thats basically what you get at NAGA sandbaggers and fake black belts”, a comment that garnered 138 likes.  138 People thought that was a valid response to the video.

NAGA is a tournament that, for better or worse doesn’t discriminate based on rank, if a white belt decides he or she is worthy of the higher divisions, NAGA will allow it.  NAGA also is notorious for certain antics that take place during its tournaments, namely people entering lower divisions in order to ensure victory, and a generally poor atmosphere, so a negative response is not always unwarranted.

In the video in question, a white belt successfully submits a black belt winning his match.  Clearly the white belt entered the black belt division (as they would not have allowed a black belt to enter the white belt division) so he is not a sandbagger.  In spite of being a white belt, he opted to enter the higher division.

Another comment that garnered 79 likes “Someone was lying about their experience level. Can’t tell if he’s the worst black belt in the world or if the other guy is the best white belt in the world.”

It is entirely possible that the white belt has a background in Sambo, Judo or is simply a guy who has focused on No Gi.  Jon Jones is a white belt… I’m just saying.

Clearly the guy isn’t trying to sandbag as he entered a division that indicates a higher skill level, so I’m not quite sure what all the fuss was about regarding that.

As for the black belt: Not all white belts are created equal, and not all black belts are created equal either.  I’ve seen black belts who are world class, and I’ve also seen guys who train a few times a week for about 13 years and get their black belts.  Is there anything wrong with that?  An individual like that may go to a local NAGA tournament just because it’s available to them and may not be ready for competition.  On the same note, a guy who’s a BJJ white belt simply because he’s never trained in the gi but has the same amount of time on the mat may be a formidable threat.

A person doesn’t have to be brand new to grappling to be a white belt.  If anything, I would be offended if someone who had never been awarded a higher belt decided to wear one because they thought it was time.  Alas, you can’t just go ahead and promote yourself if you think you’re ready.

Taking all of this into consideration I have a tremendous amount of respect for both people.  The white belt decided to step into a division with stiffer competition because he felt he was ready in spite of his low rank, and the black belt decided to compete and didn’t avoid a match with someone of lower rank (which ultimately would have saved him potential embarrassment).  What do you think?



Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj/


  1. A friend of mine who competes in Judo with legitimate Olympic aspirations also competes in BJJ tournaments at black belt level. He was never ranked in BJJ and has never done any BJJ but so far he has made the podium every time, mostly taking the gold.

    On the one hand, yeah, he never received a BJJ belt, black or otherwise, but on the other when he does enter the BB division, he wins. Clearly this is the right level for him. He is a high level athlete with a highly technical ground game. How much does the color of the belt around his waist matter, really?

    If someone enters the black belt division, one should simply assume that there is a reason why he was allowed there and if that person wins, it should be accepted as evidence that it was the right division for him, instead of assuming his opponent wasn’t worthy.

  2. I am a first degree BB in BJJ now,but when I was a white belt I won the purple-brown belt division along with the absolute in my first tournament … My secret, I was a 290 lb judo BB and a two time state champion wrestler in high school. Rank is not the true test of ability. now that I am older(47)I get caught occasionally by good purples and have had my backside handed to me by a few Browns. Don’t be so harsh on this BB, we all get caught !

  3. Lol that “white belt” is Vaselin Dukov, Bulgarian grappler, national champion, and 2nd in the European ADCC trials. He is all no gi. Doesn’t own a belt. He competed in the expert no gi division in the same tournament.


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