Tools to Build Your School: The Adult Belt System and Attendance Cards

The foundation of the Gracie Barra Method includes such aspects as GB Curriculum and GB Class Structure. Building up from there we have very tangible and practical aspects, including the belt system and attendance cards. These two components and tools for teaching are applicable to all of your students and represent the kinds of details which come together to help you develop a positive environment for teaching and learning at your school.

The Belt System and Gracie Barra

Belt systems are nothing new to martial arts. It was during the Meiji Revolution, 19th century Japan, when martial arts no longer served as weapons in warfare but pursuits of personal development. Schools at this time began using white belts as a means of keeping the kimono closed during training. The longer a student trained, the darker the belt became as a result of sweat and sheer hard work. Students began recognizing this evolution of their white belts and did not wash them – the belts became symbols of their efforts on the mats.

Eventually a two-tiered system developed: the White Belt and the Black Belt. As martial arts spread through the West, students and teachers began to implement various colors of belts, each indicating specific levels of progress.

Master Carlos Gracie Jr. wanted to use a hierarchy to set learning objectives – similar to how public school systems use objectives to pass students from one grade to the next. The ICP5 speaks more as the vision of Master Carlos Gracie Jr. and his development of these objectives, as well as a comparison of earlier methods of belt systems and GB’s current belt system. However, we can see here that the GB Curriculum can be compared to a school syllabus, and the belt system used as the grading mechanism.

The Value of the Belt System

Consider the following statement:

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