I have trained at many gyms; domestically and abroad.
This is not a brag! Trust me, quantity doesn’t equate to quality!
But in the last 20 years, I have moved maybe 10 times (interstate 9, overseas 1). And every time I move, I find the BJJ gym that is closest to me and start training there.
This variety of experience has allowed me to meet and engage with a wide variety of BJJ practitioners from everywhere. And the elite of these are always the black belts.
The black belts I have engaged with in these different places have had one thing in common: they are utterly fascinating people. They may not know it, or care to admit it, but they all have a story of their journey and growth. I always find these stories interesting, informative and instructive. Especially for my own journey. Both in BJJ and in life. So that was the idea behind this project – to capture the stories of these black belts. To understand a little more the person Behind the Black Belt.
However, the black belt is just the catalyst of the conversation, it is not the focus.
This is the central principle to each conversation as we learn more and more about each person. It is not about techniques, training tips or advice – the internet is flooded with this stuff already. Instead, this project is about the person – their deeper themes in life, sport, coaching and competing. All the things that are often skipped-over in a seminar, but are just as instructive in life than any technique demonstration!
The best part is I am interviewing everyone and anyone. Literally. There is an egalitarian theme to the show. It’s not the reputation that’s important – it’s the person and their story.
You may be a UFC star, a world champion, or a pioneer of the sport. They will all certainly feature in the show, but so too will the mother of three, the artists, the gym owner and the average joe who just loves the sport. Their stories are all fascinating.
This is the part of the project that I am most proud of. It shows the cross section of BJJ - especially in Australia. The passion for BJJ transcends society. Regardless of colour, sex, education or background – they all are equal in the same way: they have a black belt, and a story to tell.
Hope you guys enjoy it.
Rich is the host of Behind the Black Belt and co-host of the military and contemporary comedy podcast - War For Idiots. He has been practicing BJJ on and off since 2002. With a deep passion for people and understanding what makes us tick, Rich is using the stories of other to help understand the world and our place in it.