It amazes me that a martial art that is judged primarily on performance through the grades should change the grading criteria so dramatically once the black belt is reached.

Under the current IBJJF rules once you have a black belt the grading process is based solely on time. The only stipulation is that the individual pays $400 for a certificate and then maintains a yearly fee to the IBJJF and attends various courses (that he would also pay for).

Under this system there is no distinction between a guy who gets his black belt and then stops training (but maintains his yearly payments) and an elite level competitor who is winning major tournaments and running a successful academy.

I believe that we can learn a lot from the Judo system of Dan grades and propose the following.

1st Dan to 5th Dan should be based on competition results

100 points needed for promotion

10 points for win by submission in tournament

2 points for win on points in tournament

only 1 promotion per 12 month period allowed

Such a system would encourage more black belts to compete as well as maintain a grading structure based on performance. There is also the added benefit of encouraging fighters to fight for submission rather than grinding our a points or advantage win.

Beyond 5th Dan the system could reward contributions to the sport, success in building academies as well as time served, again a far more constructive system than just paying the fees and serving your time.