Thursday, January 25, 2007


Belts are an indication of a person's progress forward in a specific art like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
What does it mean and why does everyone want a black belt?
Is a black belt the end of the line? Do you quit after you get your black belt?
BJ Penn talks about black belts at different levels...white belt black belt black belt, etc. Not everyone that gets a black belt is Jacare or Marcelo Garcia...they are the top level of black belts in the world. There are many black belts in the world...not all of them are at the top of the game of BJJ. How could they be? Many are normal guys that have families, jobs, lives out of BJJ. It is not their whole life or livelihood. They don't compete. They go to the academy and train hard. They go home. When someone receives a black belt, it can be an indication of many things in the same way that belt promotions of other colors come for different reasons. Every student is on his or her own path with different abilities, body type, physical attributes, mental attributes and aptitude level. Each person has a particular set of circumstances that affect what their jiu-jitsu is and will become. It it not always a good idea to compare yourself to others in your class...although I think it's pretty much impossible not to from what I've seen and experienced. I suppose it's natural to try and measure yourself and the most obvious measuring stick is the other people in class.
Sometimes I hear "I'm a blue belt (just as an example), and I tap all the blues and most of the purples so I should be purple!". Well, maybe so...but perhaps you are a 23 year old athletic ex-collegiate jock and everyone else is "middle aged" (I don't actually know what that means. Did you know that 50 is the new 30??? Okay, that's for another day's post). Or perhaps your techniques aren't very, uh...technical and you use a lot of strength and energy to force them. Or perhaps you go balls out for the first few minutes and then you're gassed and have nothing left in haven't learned about rest. recovery and relaxation while fighting. Or you have a plan A and when that doesn't work and you end up in a bad position, you aren't able to recover. Maybe you have great offense and no defense. Maybe your character as a person hasn't developed and you're not setting a good example and helping out the newer guys or teaching the lower level guys. Maybe maybe maybe...... There are so many aspects to the game.
MAYBE your belt color has nothing to do with YOUR assessment of your game but only with that of your instructor's assessment. :D
Maybe you just focus on improving each day and the rest will take care of jiu-jitsu...the same as in life.
Have fun. Train hard. Train smart. And laugh.


Jimmy said...

God, I wish I'd get promoted already. I'd be such a badass if I got to wear my blue belt around the academy.

Valerie said...

I colored my white belt in with a Sharpie. Does that count?