“White is novice, blue is beginner, purple is intermediate, brown is advanced and black is expert,” explained head Jiu-Jitsu coach Garth Taylor at Wednesday’s belt promotion ceremony. “It’s a pretty simple grading system. But what I think you’ll find is that when you’re an expert, you’re really just a beginner. You’ve mastered the fundamentals of your martial art, and now you can start your own journey.” With that note, the Kaijin family welcomed two new black belts (a first for our gym) into their respective journeys, along with a number of other belt and patch promotions in Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, judo and boxing.

The mat was packed as students and friends congratulated each honoree on their accomplishments. Applause filled the room as instructors shared sentiments about students who had made special contributions to the group. When all was said and done, people chatted, others wrestled and the mob dispersed as the boxers took the floor for practice. Check out the video above for highlights from the ceremony, then click the slideshow below to see group shots and brand new belts being tied around proud students’ waists.