Grandfather/Grandson & Father/Son Duos Each Receive their Last and First Belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

at RMBJJ Academy in Delray Beach
They are the first family members to receive their belts at the same time in the 11 year history
of the Academy

Delray Beach, FL Larry Bartenfelder, 69, a resident of Delray Beach, and his grandson Haden Schlifer, 5, as well as Carlos Diaz, 36, army veteran and an officer with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Delray Beach District, and his son Sebastian, 5, each received new belts in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu this past month. They are the first two sets of family members to achieve such an honor since RMBJJ Academy opened its doors in 2008. 

The two 5-year olds, Haden and Sebastian, attend the Academy’s “Tiny Champions” program. They each tested for their Grey and White Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) on the 22nd of February. The Grey and White Belt is the very first colored belt a child can receive in BJJ, after a minimum of at least 6 months of training. At RMBJJ Academy, Haden and Sebastian each had to prove proficient in areas such as fitness, knowledge of the history & Portuguese language of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as fundamental techniques of the art. In addition, each student must display the character of the principles of the Academy Creed which includes integrity, politeness, justice, & compassion. Each child passed with flying colors on test day. 

Mr. Bartenfelder started training at RMBJJ Academy in 2011 at 60 years young. While usually the most senior student in class, Larry has always been a dedicated student of the art and good training partner. He is also a brown belt in Judo as well as an avid golfer and yoga practitioner, despite having back surgery a few years ago. Larry is known as “The Manager” at the Academy because he is there nearly every day, even if just to watch when he cannot train, and he is always willing to help out in opening and closing of the school daily. 

Mr. Bartenfelder found it important to have his grandson start practicing BJJ to build Haden’s strength, focus, and confidence as well as instill his love for the sport in his grandson. 

Carlos Diaz came to RMBJJ Academy as a blue belt (the second adult belt in the art) in 2012. He finds it crucial to train this particular martial art for his line of work as the techniques of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can help officers humanely prevail against larger and stronger opponents. 

Carlos is a loyal member of the RMBJJ team and occasionally leads the morning classes, as well as helps out with the kids classes. 

Mr. Diaz has exposed his son to the sport of BJJ from an early age, practicing in their home and starting classes at the Academy as soon as Sebastian was ready. 

Both Mr. Diaz and Mr. Bartenfelder displayed their extensive knowledge of nearly 200 BJJ techniques during their testing which took place on the 29th of February. In addition, they had to demonstrate fitness, light sparring, and referee abilities. 

The honor of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt is a distinctive one in which only the most dedicated students achieve, as it can take upwards of 10 years to attain. White, blue, purple, brown, black, and red are the only belt ranks in Adult’s BJJ. In between, students receive up to a maximum of 4 stripes (or degrees) according to their progress in class. 

Compared to other martial arts, belt promotions are not solely based on skills. In BJJ, promotions are also based on tenure, character, and depth of knowledge. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a lifelong journey for its most committed students. 

RMBJJ Academy is Delray Beach’s longest operating Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school and has been a staple in the community since 2008. Head instructor and owner Professor Rodrigo Mendes is a 4th degree Black Belt. Professor Mendes strives to help shape the community of Delray Beach through martial arts. More information can be found at www.rmbjjacademy.com 


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