If someone is starting jiu-jitsu today, they may quickly think there has always been gi and no-gi BJJ and that the no-gi competition scene was always similar to what we have today.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth, and even up until just a decade or so ago, most people thought that pure no-gi schools would never work and that it wasn’t real jiu-jitsu.
At the speartip of the no-gi revolution have always been Eddie Bravo and his 10th Planet Jiu-jitsu, who were the first to ditch the kimono. But this begs the question: Do they still have belts?
10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu uses the traditional BJJ belt rank system despite training exclusively in no-gi jiu-jitsu. They still award physical belts in the familiar progression: white, blue, purple, brown, and black. Some people use colored rash guards with the belt color, which is not mandatory in the system.
10th Planet has been a revolutionary force in the world of grappling, and at this point, no one can deny its legitimacy and influence. Even though every grappler knows they exist, there is still some confusion about what they do.
Is There A Belt System In 10th Planet?
10th planet Jiu-Jitsu uses the traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt system, going through white, blue, purple, brown, and black belts.
Because the training is strictly no-gi, the belts serve only a ritual and ceremonial purpose but are still an excellent tangible goal system, which is why they are still used.
There are ranked rash guards both in the 10th Planet designs and elsewhere, like the ones used for IBJJF no-gi competitions, and some practitioners prefer using them to denote their rank. However, this is a mandatory practice in a 10th Planet gym.
What Is 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling school focused solely on no-gi training and has no kimono classes. While this is no longer a novelty, 10th Planet was the first to do away with the gis completely.
The Eddie Bravo system is also different in other ways than just being strictly no-gi. The word system is critical here. The approach of 10th Planet is systematic in that it creates a flowchart for every situation and possible outcome, or at least as much as possible.
The early techniques Bravo and his school became known for were the rubber guard and the twister submission.
Many techniques and positions emphasized in the system require good hip and knee flexibility, and many are unique and absent from other styles, but this also means a certain body type is favorable. Not everyone can be effective with the style.
Another feature that sets 10th Planet apart from others is the names of the positions. Bravo has named a lot of “in-between” positions along with the ones he invented, which made it easier to explain and communicate for everyone.
But he also changes the names of more widespread positions, so you can encounter moves you’ve seen before referred to by other names.
Many names are quite different from what we’re used to, like Chill Dog, The Lockdown, Electric Chair, The Machete, and dozens of others.
10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu History
Eddie Bravo, a student of the great Jean Jacques Machado in Los Angeles, California, created 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.
Eddie has always been a free thinker, and while training under Machado, he came up with some of his patented techniques, like the rubber guard and the twister.
The moment that changed his life came at the 2003 ADCC tournament, where he submitted the legendary Royler Gracie. Upon returning to his gym, Eddie was awarded his black belt, and he soon ventured to open his jiu-jitsu school called 10th Planet.
Early on, 10th Planet was trying to become a core part of MMA rather than be innovative in a pure grappling context.
In the early 2000s, competitive no-gi grappling was still not a real thing, so there was little of a scene to revolutionize in the first place. So, 10th Planet JJ was intended as a complete system for grappling in an MMA context.
The new guards invented by Bravo had the purpose of being able to be aggressive from what is considered a defensive position and submit and strike the person while you are on the bottom.
Guys like Ben Saunders, Dan Hardy, and Tony Ferguson became great ambassadors for the style, proving its efficiency in MMA.
During this time and the simultaneous development of both 10th Planet and no-gi BJJ, more and more people started using the novel style while bringing in bits and pieces from other places when it became a unique system for grappling only.
Then, another brilliant idea of Bravo’s was creating a submission-only ruleset and tournaments called EBI (Eddie Bravo Invitational).
The school’s focus shifted towards the submissions-only scene to prove its effectiveness in this most demanding of stages. Initially, few were interested in these types of competitions.
Today, they’re taking over the whole grappling world with more and more pro-level events with similar structures and rulesets. Even the UFC adopted the ruleset for the Fight Pass Invitational grappling events.
When you look at the whole history of 10th Planet JJ, even its biggest detractors cannot deny its immense influence on grappling. From the techniques through the event structure to the rules, the system has changed the entire jiu-jitsu landscape.
Today, 10th Planet JJ is an international franchise with over a hundred gyms worldwide.
If you are interested in the full story of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, here is an excellent documentary:
Why Is It Called 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu?
Most people who are mildly familiar with Eddie Bravo know how deep he is into alternative theories about everything.
One of these is about a 12th planet that comes around every few thousand years where an evolved species responsible for our evolution lives.
While he didn’t want to name it the same, 10th Planet is a nod to the theory, pointing to the style’s evolution of traditional jiu-jitsu.
10th Planet Notable Figures
Despite its small talent pool compared to other franchises and academies, 10th Planet has had admirable success on the competition scene, both in grappling and MMA.
Since the style was initially intended for MMA use, the first ambassadors were Ben Saunders and Dan Hardy, who showed how well some new techniques could work in a cage fight.
Then Tony Ferguson, a vocal proponent of the style, won the interim lightweight UFC title with a submission of his back, no less.
Then the EBI days came, and the 10th Planet crew showcased their prowess on the submissions-only stage, with brothers Ritchie and Geo Martinez winning consistently.
While not winning any ADCC medals, the 10th Planet team has reaped great success in team events by winning several Quintet shows. Considering the small pool of talent they can access, it’s an impressive achievement.
I couldn’t miss mentioning Joe Rogan, who even claims he came up with the name 10th Planet while discussing it with Eddie.
The most famous personality in combat sports and the host of the biggest podcast is a 10th Planet black belt (in addition to being a black belt under JJ Machado), one of the best ambassadors for the style.
Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu has been controversial since its inception. While they have created a new system and techniques and renamed many of the existing positions, the belts are an element of traditional BJJ they left untouched.
While not using them in practice due to not training Gi, 10th Planet still awards belts to its practitioners according to the classic belt system.