Jiu jitsu Belt Promotions: Time is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy, and Don’t Panic!

Lately I’ve had some (very kind and well meaning) friends and family who comment that I should be receiving my black belt soon, and I’ve also skimmed an article or two pertaining to getting your black belt in the quickest time possible…

I say this with the upmost love and respect in my heart for all: everybody just relax. Promotions, in general, are given out when the instructor feels you are ready to be promoted, or ready to be tested. Our academy goes by what’s called time and grade: so time is definitely factored into our promotions, and it’s a practice I agree with.

In addition to the skills sets that are learned at each belt, there are also experiences that can’t precisely be taught at each level, and just have to be experienced organically. There also needs to be some time to become accustomed to your belt: sort of like breaking in a pair of shoes. The belt may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, almost like it actually belongs to another student you just happen to resemble closely and someone will realize their mistake any minute now and put you back to your former rank.

So, knowing it takes time to really feel like you belong in a belt, why rush through them? Also, it’s like when you were at school and it’s the last class before the end of the day- the more you obsess over the seconds and minutes that tick by, the longer it will feel and the more frustrated you will become. Just take a deep breath, and focus on what jiu jitsu is really about: the technique, the learning and the sport/martial art itself, not what color belt happens to hang around your waist.

That’s all I have for today: have a great day everyone!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Jiu jitsu Belt Promotions: Time is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy, and Don’t Panic!

  1. Time in grade is important for standardization. What most of us have to realize is that those are minimum suggestions – mainly by the IBJJF or your BJJ team, with each instructor modifying it to her liking. Moreover, within each rank, there can be huge disparities in skills. A brown belt IBJJF world champion could have probably beat me as a blue belt (with me a current hobbyist brown belt). The ranking system in BJJ is very hard to explain to outsiders. They’ve seen you do it for 8 years and wonder why you don’t have a black belt, especially when their nephew got one in two years. I usually resort to telling them my rank plus how long I’ve been doing it.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Train and have fun. improvement will come, belts will follow. It’s not like you get a big cash prize for being a black belt. They are not going to stop making them.

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