Belt Lineage in BJJ Doesn't Matter

Does your BJJ belt lineage really matter if you plan to teach?

Of course this is my opinion, but assuming that your belt lineage is legitimate. I really don’t think it matters as many people think.

As a young coach who was a brown belt. I had an obscure Brazilian Jiu-jitsu lineage for most. But I was still able to be successful in competitions and as a coach.

I’ve grown a gym that’s nearly 10000 sq ft and has hundreds of people training.

I accomplished this not with my really cool belt lineage. But because I was very much invested in the success of my students and my drive to help them.

Now, all that said, I think lineage can be important in a few cases. But if you’re someone who is looking to become a Brazilian Jiujitsu coach or instructor.

I think your belt lineage is less important when compared to who you are as a person and how you teach your students.


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  1. "I don't think lineage is important, ill just say it flat out like that. I come from……… i'm in the middle of Kentucky." may be the funniest thing I've ever heard you say XD

  2. I LOLed at this one. I know two names in BJJ, Gracie and Chewjitsu. (I find these Q&A vids interesting, even though I clearly don't know squat about the world of BJJ!)

  3. I have an issue and i need your help i have a stinky training partner & cant roll with him because he stinks but i have to train with him cuz we are on the same weight and i dont think telling my coach is a good idea cuz i dont wana talk shit about my partners the problem is i cant stand the smell so im not having fun at training so what can i do ?

  4. Good video. I do think that lineage can be important, particularly if someone is looking for a particular style of jiu-jitsu. Having said, that, I totally agree with the spirit of your video that the quality of the coach and the vibe of the school is more important. The first place I really trained was exactly like you described. Perfectly pure lineage, but the instructor was on the phone texting half of the class, never had a plan or followed a curriculum, etc. Every night it was just sort of "what do you guys want to work on tonight?" So yes, I would definitely take the better coach as well, and happily I have that now.

  5. At my old gym I had a very short connection to carlson Jr. I switched gyms because I am looking out for MY jiu jitsu, not a lineage. If my jiu jitsu is getting better, does it really matter how long the lineage is?

  6. I enjoy your videos, even if I've only occasionally rolled with grapplers and come from traditional arts. Perhaps it's because you seem to be good teacher with a good attitude. You guys in BJJ definitely want to avoid taking lineage too seriously. Japanese Koryu arts have to take lineage very seriously because it's about history and culture. Also since they are battle arts, no one is attempting to test how deadly they might or might not be. They would have to be psycho and the law would be hunting them down. So lineage needs a tight lid well-policed and even then, it's mucked up. Gendai arts like BJJ are definitely much better off to focus on tangible things rather than get deep into the swamp of lineage or rank. Belt rank in Judo has been a dicey thing ever since Kano came up with it. The older eastern arts really only have the concept of levels of teaching ability, both in China and Japan.

  7. Lineage has lost some importance as BJJ has matured, but it was important in the beginning. It still matters is some parts of the country where you have a lot of schools. If I was in large metropolitan area where I had many options and one of them was with a black belt under Rickson for example, guess where I am going. The other factor would be how successful the instructor was in competition. Good lineage + good competitor are a huge plus for selecting a school.

  8. Here's the thing though, bjj is becoming more popular and theres big tkd and karate schools all of trying to rebrand themselves as MMA and BJJ schools. I'm a blue belt from a competition school in L.A., and when I traveled to a town in texas I stopped by the only bjj school they had (rest were karate), and I tapped everyone. The thing was, I wasnt being an animal, I was being respectful and flowing, but I couldn't not catch a submission. I caught a brown belt 4 times before I just played defense. I had the only black belt in lockdown for 3 mins just seeing what he would do. Honestly, I could've marked him, but didn't have the heart. It was like he'd never experienced that in his life. Afterwards everyone was like, hey you're incredible, blah blah blah. Now, I more less always place in competition, but I didn't have the heart to tell them that I struggle with my schools purple belts, the brown belts whoop my ass, and black belts play with me… lineage matters, especially if its some affiliate mcdojo shit… I get what your saying, you're legit, so your students dont have to worry if the lineage traces to helio, but if the black belt has never competed and got his belts from a traveling "affiliate instructor" putting on a $150 per person seminar, then you better look into that shit.

  9. Does anyone question lineage? From what I can see lineage is only questioned when a dubious training gym pops up and no one seems to know the person.

  10. Chewi, I'm a fresh white belt (being training for 5 months), had my first local tournament and of course I lost (no problem with that, it was fun) but i threw up after my first match, could you tell me how should I prepare for a tournament? Thank you so much, your content is awesome, greetings from México

  11. Saying lineage doesn't matter is like saying you would take a beat up old ass car from a maker no one's ever heard of over a new high end brand name car with all the features for around the same price.

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