Proving once again that you can’t underestimate anyone just because of their rank, Australian white belt and Grapple Apparel co-owner James Hunt made quick work of a blue and purple belt in a local Australian Grappling Championships (AGC) tournament yesterday to win gold in the Super Absolute division.
Hunt, who has about two years of jiu-jitsu experience and recently began training at Adelaide’s Trinity MMA, referred to the experience on Reddit as “putting himself in deep water,” having entered a division in which it was possible he’d face brown or even black belts, although no one ranked higher than purple ended up on the bracket. Leg locks — which are unsurprisingly not allowed in Hunt’s normal division — were permitted in the Super Absolute division, and Hunt used his practice with them to toehold a blue belt in about one minute and then tap a purple belt with a heel hook in about two minutes.
Hunt’s win earned him a spot in the upcoming AGC Invitational, but he mentioned on Reddit that he gave it away to the second-place winner: “I know I won but I don’t feel right competing with guys of that level as someone who’s been in the game not even two years, one day hopefully!”
While there’s no doubt that the other competitors in the bracket had earned their ranks, Hunt’s victory serves as a powerful reminder that facing a lower belt doesn’t guarantee anyone an easy win. Different academies have different standards that they use to grade their students, and the practice of avoiding leg locks until purple belt is becoming less and less popular. When you enter an open-rank absolute division, there’s no telling what kind of hidden talent you might go up against.
Watch Hunt’s heel hook victory in the video below:
Update: Hunt has been promoted to blue belt since this post’s original publication.