Grandmaster innovates, trading red belt for white belt

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Grandmaster Flávio Behring.

At the age of 80, Grandmaster Flávio Behring has reached a historic milestone: 70 years in the gentle art. Unable to wear the 10th degree, which is reserved for the creators of jiu-jitsu, Behring chose to graduate anyway.

He decided to celebrate his seven decades in BJJ by retiring his red belt and tying a white belt around his waist, signaling that he intends to learn BJJ all over after his recent 80th birthday.

In an interview with Graciemag from 2015, he had already tipped us off about the symbolic move. “I study every day, because I know that nobody knows anything,” he said. “As my body has been changing over time, I go back to the most basic positions to check whether I can still pull them off in the same way, or whether I need to adapt. But the studying continues, and in 2017 I will have a big party, in the gi at a dojo, to celebrate my 80 years of life and 70 of jiu-jitsu. It will be the end of my cycle as student, instructor, teacher, master and grandmaster, and I will retire the red belt and go back to wearing the white belt. And so I will re-learn everything again, because that’s what living is. My students, concerned, question this retirement, but I will eternally be a BJJ teacher.”

You can check out a bit of the ceremony below.


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