Tuesday, April 09, 2013

What do you think about overly-worn belts?

My belt is looking really, really worn.  I've had it since January 2009 I think, and for a long stretch you'll remember I was training 28-29 days a month, often 2-3 times a day on weekdays.  I haven't washed it too often, maybe 5-6 times over the years, but the blue has faded to early morning-blue-grey, and the cover fabric has nearly all worn off (and the white inner contents are fraying into strings that dangle.)  And now that we're in the new facility, with morning and noon classes being added, I expect I'll get back into two- and three-a-days soon enough.

Obviously I couldn't compete in this belt.  I meant to take a picture but left my belt in the car so I'll add it later.

So, I'm thinking about buying a new belt.  Here's why:

1.  A good friend told me he's on his third brown belt, and he feels it's disrespectful to the belt to let it get too tattered.  (I've passed that stage, for sure.)

2.  Hate how a new belt won't stay tied, so I might as well get a new one and break it in a bit so I have a belt for competition.

3.  It makes me look like I should be promoted soon.  However, I feel the quality of my jiu jitsu belies such a perspective.  Plus, there isn't a single bluebelt at my academy I would feel comfortable being promoted ahead of.  As such, I'm happily going to be a blue belt for another two years or so.

What do you think?

And-- who makes a nice belt that doesn't start out all thick and stiff, but is pliable enough to stay tied from the start, and is a nice blue color?  (I had an Atama first, and the color was a little pale.)


Jenn said...

I love a beat up looking belt, the more worn in, the better! In my opinion your belt shows the hard work you put in, so the more work, the more tattered the belt. I don't plan on replacing mine until it splits in two. :-)

FWIW, my old karate instructor had two different belts. One of them was so old it actually had knots tied in it to keep it together! The other was a newer one that he wore for special events, promotions, tournaments, etc.

Matt Little said...

No harm in replacing it. The IBJJF wouldn't let you compete in it so if you plan to compete then you'd have to replace it anyways. I personally haven't had a belt fall a part...yet! :D

JCC-CSV said...

Relson Gracie belt

Christopher said...

Seriously--no belt is nearly as good as Padilla & Sons. It's woven, so it's almost like a gi fabric. Take a look at some of the pics of by belt; it wears in great, it's substantial, and in the two years I've had mine, it has broken in without fraying away to the point of being unrecognizable.

No other belt is in the same league.

Christopher said...

No belt is in even the same league as Padilla & Sons. It's woven basically like a gi--take a look at some of the pics on my blog. It wears in great, and after two years of heavy training with it, it has kept its color and still passes competition standards.

Padilla & Sons belt. Absolutely fantastic.

PirateMartialArts said...

If you're absolutely not going to be promoted for awhile, go ahead and take the plunge. I will admit though, I love the look of a worn belt.

However, it would suck to buy a brand new belt, only to use it for a few weeks or months.

That said, I'm a complete BJJ newb. I've done martial arts before, but none where you're literally spending years at a single color belt.

How do you feel about passing on your belt? If you do get a new belt and are promoted shortly after, you can always give it to somebody else or to a non-profit school.

Anonymous said...

Please wash your belt more often. Washing it twice a week is just nasty. A lot of your sweat and other people's bodily fluids collect on the belt which makes it unsanitary. I bet your belt smells awful.

Georgette said...

Anony, I wash it when it needs it. Believe me, if you've read some of my rants here about gi cleanliness, you know I'm not walking around in a stinky biohazard of a belt. Thanks :)

Meghan said...

A tattered and torn belt is, like Jenn said, a sign of all the hard work you've put in! Doesn't mean you're up next for a promotion. You do need a competition belt, though, and it doesn't hurt to wear that one in. But there's something magical in a overly-worm belt that makes you feel proud of all you and that belt have gone though! At least, that's what upper belts tell me.

lifevsjiujitsu said...

Hello Georgette,

Try these guys, I did a review on their belt here


best belt ever, I would suggest the "soft" option.. as it ties up right away.

JayBird said...

Never hurts to have a spare belt. Even if you get promoted tomorrow, you can still donate the new one to a worthy cause. Brands? I have always (always...like three belts, ha!) had Vulkan belts, but their purple belt looked almost grey when I got it, so I went with Hayabusa and have not been disappointed. It is made from rip stop (think heavier cotton rip stop) material, relatively soft and is a bit wider than most. FWIW, I have washed the belt every two weeks for the past 7 months and have not even seen one thread out of place.

Anne said...

Be proud of your tattered belt! Even if you don't think you're up for promotion anytime soon, it shows the hours you have spent on the mat. So while it might not (in your opinion) reflect your bjj skills, it shows your dedication.

If you're planning on competing anytime soon, you'll definitely need a new belt, but it need not be a 'replacement' for your everyday belt. When this happened to me, I just bought a cheap, light karate belt to wear as a tournament belt.

Keith said...

I prefer the look of the worn belt for the same reasons others have stated. That said, my primary instructor has two black belts -- one very worn in belt he uses for every day rolling/teaching and a second belt for competition or promotions.

I'm wearing Ring to Cage's blue belt; it broke in pretty quickly, but still unties rather easily during sparring. I've got a friend who has a Killer Bee belt and loves it, as it broke in quickly and is made from their gi material. You can find it here: http://www.killerbeegi.com/products/ligustica-bjj-belts-hd

Can Sönmez said...

I've never had to replace a belt, but then I don't train anything like as frequently as you.

I'd be interested in buying a hemp belt: apparently the Green Gi is going to have a few of those available in various colours. I know Datsusara do them, but only 'unbleached' and black. Mostly out of stock too: just A3 left, last time I looked.

Anonymous said...

My belt looks like hell, but I don't pay it much attention. I guess the condition of the belt doesn't hold much symbolism. If it looks new, cool. If it looks old and beat up, cool.

I see you wrote this post a few months ago, though, so I'm curious to know what you decided to do.

Georgette said...

I didn't do anything :) Still wearing it, it's dangling a few strings here and there and I don't really care :)