On the Other Side of a Belt Promotion (Athlete Journal 64)

Last week Scranton MMA held its first ever promotional event, and I got to be part of it.

Scranton MMA held its first ever promotional event under Dominic Passaniti on Saturday. Many students earned stripes and two of our students received their blue belts.

The Promotion

One of our head instructors, Dominic Passaniti, recently received his black belt under Phil Migliarese. With the black belt comes the ability to give stripes and new belts. The instructors thought it would be a great idea to hold our own promotions just for our students. We wanted it similar to the way Phil and Ricky Migliarese do it at Balance headquarters. We thought that would be the best way to go – challenging, yet rewarding.

RELATED: Promoted to Purple Belt! (Athlete Journal 55)

Dominic started everything off with lining everyone up and explaining how the promotions would go. He then brought them out in groups and lined them up down the mat. The first group was our newer group of white belts. The second group was our more experienced group of white belts. Finally, there were the blue belts.

Each person rolled about five or six rounds, depending on his or her rank. After one round, a fresh person tagged in and took a turn. The instructors walked around and watched the groups roll, checking their technique and making sure they were putting in hard work. Everyone definitely was.

My Experience

I must say it was nice being on the other end of promotions. I enjoyed being the one handing out the beatings rather than getting them. Rolling for my purple belt at Balance was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I got beat up by a bunch of purple, brown, and black belts. It was nice being the higher rank at our promotions. I thought I would have wanted to punish the students more because of the beating I got. I just couldn’t do that, though. I definitely held back a little bit on certain people. I guess I’m a lover at heart.

I scanned the line of people and thought to myself every single person in that line was genuinely good. I never would have met them if it wasn’t for jiu jitsu.”

After everyone was done rolling, Dom lined everyone up again. It was time for the promotions. Frank called out the names he had on his clipboard (which was awesome) one by one. A lot of our white belts earned stripes that day. Some of them even got multiple stripes because they were long overdue.

Next up were some belt promotions. Two of our students, Ruben Jorge and Brendan Peterson, received their blue belts. They are always at the school, working hard and putting the time in. Ruben and Brendan definitely earned those belts. Finally, a bunch of our blue belts received their stripes. They’re getting closer and closer to purple.

A Sense of Gratitude

As I stood in the instructor line across from the students, I felt so thankful. First of all, the instructor line?! Little old me? I never would have seen that one coming when I started training. The second thing I was thankful for was our amazing students. I scanned the line of people and thought to myself that every single person in that line was genuinely good. I never would have met them if it wasn’t for jiu jitsu.

I’m so grateful for jiu jitsu and all of the doors it’s opened for me. I’m also grateful for Scranton MMA and the opportunities I’ve been given.

Jess Papi is a purple belt at Scranton MMA and also pursuing her degree in communications. Read her entries every week for insights on competing, training, and juggling BJJ and life.

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