We humans have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. Maybe it’s part nature, maybe part nurture- from birth we are weighed and measured and compared to others in our age group, to see if we are a part of the average, or some hella crazy outlier. And really, let’s be honest, it sucks to feel like the one that’s been left behind: we’re social animals and in many ways want to feel a part of the “pack”, if you will.
I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but this comparison, this need to feel a part of the fold I feel creates a lot of unnecessary frustration in jiu jitsu. You may feel like you are in a race with your teammates who may have started the same time as you, not to show you are better or some jiu jitsu dynamo (for the most part) but more to “keep up” with everyone else. It’s sort of all an illusion. The only person you are racing against when it comes to jiu jitsu is yourself, which is why I don’t necessarily agree with the IBJJF’s rules on minimum times for stripes and belts that they posted: some people have taken that minimum to mean average, and want to be like everyone else- they don’t want to feel like they have been left behind.
The journey (or adventure!) of jiu jitsu is a very personal one- yes, you share moments and major milestones with teammates but your experience and development of skill, not one can either do that for you, or even more importantly take it away from you. This growth will take place in due time, so don’t try to force it: sure, you can train every single day and in theory that will help you progress much more than training say, twice a week, but really you know what works best for your schedule, your body and your sanity.
Basically, enjoy your time at each belt! There are lessons and experiences at each level that you can take with you throughout your journey- and how can you truly appreciate them if you are solely obsessed on the next stripe, the next belt or worried about if someone got promoted before you?
Those are just my thoughts on a Monday morning. Have a great day everyone!