My Membership in the Pedro Sauer Assoc.

pedro-sauer-membership-card You might remember on 22-JUL-2010 I posted “Under The Table Belt Promotions in BJJ”.  In that post I talked about paying the $50 membership fee.  I did that on that very day.  Today, 05-OCT-2010 my membership packet arrived.  It took 2 1/2 months.  It came with the card I show here and two patches as pictured on the card.  Here is the letter:

“Hello Jason,

Thank you for your recent membership in the Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association.  You will find in this welcome kit your personal ID card with your assigned association ID number.

This number is very important for future use in the Association in order to build your training history, track your progress, and increase your chances for merchandise discounts and free rewards.  When ordering from our online store, please be sure to include your ID number in the appropriate field.

We are very excited about the initiatives in development for the Association.  they will allow us to continue to be one of the premier Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu associations in the world.

Again, thank you for your membership.  You can stay up to date on Association news by visiting us online at our website

Master Pedro Sauer
8th Degree Gracie Red/Black Belt

Mike Horihan
Association Director, PSBJJA, LLC.”

The letter wasn’t signed.  I corresponded with Mike through e-mail a couple of times asking, as time went by, when my welcome kit would come.  The website said two weeks.  Mike was very responsive and blamed the delay on software problems.  Being a software developer I could understand that but I began to think the problem was there wasn’t software.

When the packet arrived and as a software developer I realized the simplicity of what they delivered, a form letter and easy print badge.  I lost faith in their statement “build your training history, track your progress”.  If it was this difficult to do these things then it would be near impossible for them to do the others.

What ever the case, I’m as legit as I can get now.  Its time to ask about my blue belt certificate.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

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Under The Table Belt Promotions in BJJ

For two years I studied and practiced Kendo when I was in my teens.  I was diligent and worked hard at it.  I really enjoyed Kendo.  Every once and a while the president of the Rocky Mountain Kendo Federation would come out and we would test.  Each time it would take months to get test results.  We never received a certificate or any thing other then word of mouth about the results and our new rank except from our, aged and well loved sensei.  RMKF happily accepted our testing fees and the money we paid for them to visit and do the testing each time.  So if I were to start Kendo again would I be accepted at the rank I was told I had?  I doubt it.  I doubt there is any record of it.  I don’t have any documentation.  My sensei has since died.  It has left a bad taste in my mouth.  I spend time and money to earn that rank.  It would be the equivalent of a associates degree with no proof.

So when I tested for my blue belt in BJJ I thought things would be different.  I went to a local affiliate school.  I didn’t have a intermediary.  I would be talking directly to the person testing me.  The test result I knew would be delivered at the end of the test.  I paid my testing fee.

I passed the test.  I was given the blue belt on the spot.  Things were looking good.  I left the test elated that after 2 1/2 hours of testing I had passed.  That was the end of the warm fuzzes.  I neglected to ask about documentation.  Later when I realized that, I started by sending e-mails asking about a certificate.  My e-mails to the testing school had been answered before but this time there was no reply.  I asked my instructor if I should have received a certificate. He said they were usually mailed to the school.  I waited and nothing came.  I asked my instructor again about it.  He made a call to the testing school and left a voice mail.  I waited and time passed.  I forgot about my quest for legitimate rank. 

A new set of white belts in my school had matured and were sent for testing.  They returned and my thoughts turned back to finding documentation.  I asked one of them if they had received a certificate.  Maybe I was just the odd man out.  He said no.  Something seemed fishy now to me and I began to get that old feeling from the Kendo days.  I went to the affiliate website and found that I had to pay $50 a year for official membership that would allow me to obtain rank under this organization.  If I paid the membership and tested at an affiliate school I would be listed on the website with my rank.  I couldn’t find anywhere on the site that had any listing of anyone’s ranking but the "Professor’s" or the head of the school.  I decided to pay the $50 membership anyway.  Now there would be no excuse for not giving me some documentation.  When my membership kit comes I’ll start my inquires again.  I’ll start with a direct call to the person that tested me.

At this moment I feel like there are "under the table" belt promotions happening throughout the BJJ world.  Fees and belts are exchanged but without documentation it is all dust in the wind as my Kendo story points out.

Have you had a similar experience?

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life and Jiu-Jitsu