I went to a competition yesterday to get a feel for what they are like. I didn't enter, although, maybe I should have. Instead I watched the folks from class compete. The atmosphere was really interesting. The room was full of both Brazilian and Japanese people and there was a lot of energy from the competitors. Many people were on the sides shouting for their team-mates.
After class we have a year-end party. I expected some people to get promoted because it seems like a good time for the instructor to give out belts with everyone present. There were in total, 4 promotions and one recognition. Kondo-san (officially or lovingly known as Kon-san) got his purple belt. I remember him telling me that he was in his 5th year of jiu-jitsu and me thinking "what the hell" because I couldn't believe he was still blue belt after such a long time. I'm glad he got it, his skill level deserves it. Later he came outside and helped me get my car out of the shoehorn fit parking and told me that we should train hard so that I can get my blue belt. That will be some time I'm sure. He's a good guy and seems to have taken a shine to me. I think we are close to the same age. Whereas I am reserved when it comes to meeting new people, he is quite open and friendly.
Another notable promotion was Yoshida-san and the Brazilian guy, whose name escapes me. During sparring, I constantly kept thinking to myself that these guys are not white belt but definately blue. Yoshida caught me in a twister last week and he seems to improve fast even though because of his job (doctor) he doesn't get to the dojo much.
Needless to say that everyone looked thoroughly shocked by their promotion but obviously extremely happy. Unlike any other martial art I have done before. Jiu-jitsu promotions feel like huge advancements. It's an art where the belt really means something.
I will post some videos soon of the competition. I just hope they are watchable because my camera work is no Ridley Scott.