On Promoting Your First Blue Belt as a Black Belt

Andrew Raynor

As a black belt, my first student I was honored to promote to blue belt – the infamous Dieselinha aka The Big D aka my love. It’s been well over a week since this moment has passed, and yet the artillery of emotions it galvanized has yet to taper off.

One of the best memories we’ve ever made together.

I am being immodest, she was not my bjj student. I was only bestowed the honor of calling her up and helping tie the blue belt around her waist.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
I practiced this a lot. What? You thought I’d go out like a chump? Na dawgie.

I am eternally grateful to Yemaso both for his tireless efforts to mold us, his students at Yemaso BJJ, into formidable martial artists and for his communal disposition which leads to collaborative promotional ceremonies of partners. I was so excited, and I had been practicing so much, to tie the blue belt around The Diesel, that I almost didn’t give him a chance to finish tying it!

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
The skipper, putting those finishing touches on the blue belt knot.

Truth be told, when I first saw my friend B tie the belt around his wife & little brother I was overjoyed. We also got to witness Troy tie a purple around his wife, and that was a special moment too. However, it did not prepare me for how big the moment would be for The Diesel and me.

As Heraclitus reasoned:

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.


The same could be said about martial art peregrinations. My experience achieving blue belt was not parallel to that of The Diesel. We all have our own set of physical, emotional, intellectual, athletic and psychological capacities which coalesce to govern the development of our martial skills.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
The moon of my life, the skipper, and I.

For most of us this avocation is prioritized behind educational, professional, and familial matters. As the mountain of life periodically drops boulders at our feet, it is those of us who do not permanently shrink, but rather perceive it as a catalyst for upward mobility that succeed in traversing said mountain.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
Yemaso 2019 Blue Belt Battalion

Most don’t know, but The Diesel was one of the first females to train at Yemaso BJJ while she was still living in Long Beach. True story, she would sometimes drive 5-7 hours from Long Beach straight to the academy to join our Friday comp team sessions knowing she’d be the only female training that night. With time the original fembeast, Celina, came back to train so the Diesel would have another female training partner.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
Utter shock…

Since then, we’ve grown the largest female bjj group in the Sacramento region. Throughout this time we’ve taken our lumps as individuals and we’ve taken them together, yet the Diesel has remained true.

All of these thoughts hit me at once, like it is said your life flashes in your eyes before you die. This time, these memories with my hazelnut khaleesi flashed in my eyes as it was time to lay to rest the Diesel’s white belt. It was a lot all at once, and I was overcame with it all…

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
Mi corazon, su hermana, y el tigre de Guatemala Andrew Raynor Dover NH

I haven’t begun to truly consider my own journey, as I’ve been far too elated to move The Diesel up. More on that later…

But first comes first, I couldn’t possibly be more proud of the moon of my life for reaching this milestone blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH
Stealing my self a smooch from a newly minted blue belt babe.

The post On Promoting Your First Blue Belt as a Black Belt appeared first on The Gentle Artist.

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Andrew Raynor

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