The site

Dirty White Belt covers Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Carolinas and beyond with a blog, a weekly podcast, photography and more.

The site is called “Dirty White Belt” because of the apocryphal story about how early martial artists became black belts:  they just kept training, and their formerly white belts just got darker and darker until they turned black. This isn’t true, but like many untrue stories, it’s a useful metaphor.

I loved being a white belt for many of the reasons Andrew Smith notes here: you get to grow and develop and learn. You advance at a rapid pace because everything is new to you. You get to be curious and wide-eyed as you explore.

This attitude should stay the same even as belts change. No matter where my journey through this art takes us, we should try to keep the white belt attitude of openness, humility and wonder.

For the best in fight gear, visit Cageside & Toro BJJ.


I’m a purple belt under Seth Shamp, who is a black belt under Royce Gracie and teaches at Triangle Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Durham, North Carolina. I travel a lot, for work and for fun, and to train, so I might be in your town soon.

-Jeff Shaw (@JeffShaw)