The interest in Combat Sports is on the rise in India. And this interest is not restricted to the viewership. A major portion of the combat sports lovers out there actually wants to hit a gym and get trained in one combat sport or the others.
While the process of choosing an MMA or combat sports gym might sound straight forward, there are a lot of potholes that people often fall into.
For example, the combat sports community recently came across instances of coaches that had fake degrees and affiliations getting busted by international bloggers. Similarly, there have been cases of trading grading belts in return for money. The list is endless.
One way to put a hold to all this and avoid people from hating martial arts or combat sports due to all this is to create awareness about the same.
We at LockerRoom will be trying to do the same with a series of articles featuring some of the top combat sports coaches in India.
The first set of articles in the series will be a three-part story featuring Team Relentless Head coach Jitendra Khare.
You can read the first part here: How to choose a Martial Arts gym ft. Team Relentless head coach Jitendra Khare
In this second part, Jitendra will be opening up about the Belt Culture that prevails in India and why it leads to the fake belt scams that are rampant across the nation. Here is what he had to say:
The Martial Arts Belt Culture in India and how it gives rise to fake belt scams
I think the answer lies partly in our culture and upbringing. I’m sure most of us Indian kids have experienced the fact that any martial art taught us in school is an extra-curricular activity.
Which means our parents have most likely paid a said amount plus uniform fee which in turn means that there has to be an annual grading ceremony in which the kid has to be promoted to the next colour.
A meagre number of these kids would have never sparred or competed and hence have never practically used what they have learned.
The belt color is thus attached to our self-worth and the parents feeling that they got their value for money. I personally feel that this is largely responsible for the people running behind belts and certificates and thus gives rise to the several fake sensies, shidoshins, Hanshi, Renshi, and Ninjas among others.
I feel to start with one should research the sport to avoid being cheated. I know I’m repeating myself but can’t emphasis on this enough. For instance, IBJJF has laid out a minimum time period in which a student should progress from one level to another. Now, in a way, I’m saying that it is a rule set in the stone.
There are always exceptions to the rule but in my experience, the IBJJF system is good solid guidelines for the general population. So by expecting to be promoted, or asking the promotion before time, might not be the right approach.
Trust your instructors. They know the best time to promote you. Ask for the syllabus, compete to gauge whether you have learned them effectively.
To bridge the gap between want and lack of awareness, I feel that legitimate schools and responsible voices need to talk about the issues and spread more knowledge about the finer details of the sport such as grading/promotions among others.
We need to be true to the art instead of falling in the trap of ‘Business of Martial Arts’.
You can follow Jitendra Khare on his Instagram by clicking here. Jitendra has been putting out a series of videos where he answers questions related to combat sports and fitness. The third article meanwhile will feature insights on How to become an MMA fighter.