The Temple | The Secret To Getting Your BJJ Black Belt
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The Secret To Getting Your BJJ Black Belt

As a BJJ instructor, I get asked a lot of questions…

Have you ever gotten hurt?

Do you really choke each other?

Have you ever used it in a real fight?

But there’s one question I get more than all of these combined. For some reason, it’s the question most people want to know…

How long did it take you to get your black belt?

While I know the answer to that question for me (7 years, 10 months) my answer isn’t the typical answer for all black belts…

In fact, there is no set answer for this question. Sure, I can speak in generalities – I can tell them that it takes most people about 10 years to get from white to black – but the truth is, that’s not the question they really want answered.

What they REALLY want to know is how long it would take THEM to get their black belt because they next question they ask often is, “what’s the quickest people can get a black belt?”

My answer, “Well, it all depends. If you’re gifted – I’ve heard of people getting their black belt in 4-6 years. But those are anomalies… because typically, it takes people about 10 years.

However, I can tell you from experience, most people don’t think they’re “typical”. They don’t think that it’ll take them the full 10 years – they often think they’re one of the gifted and could get it much faster…

That is until they step on the mat for the first time.

Most people really experience a type of sticker shock. Their dreams of an easy, breezy lemon-squeezy fast track to the upper echelon of BJJ gets dashed pretty quickly – replaced, instead, by the reality of how long and arduous the journey could be…

And that fact couldn’t make me happier.

BJJ has a way of weeding out douches and weak people…

Now, I’m not talking about those that were forced out of BJJ because of injuries – I’m not talking about the physically incapable or “weak”…

When I say “weak” people, I’m talking about those that will come up with any reason NOT to train. We’ve all heard the long, litany of excuses these people use…

I don’t have time…

I have plans with friends…

I just worked out…

Blah, blah, blah…

And these are just some of the ones that are quasi-acceptable – I’m not even going to get into the reasons that are just plain old stupid.

These are the people who are weak…

They know what they should do – but refuse to. They don’t want to work – they don’t want to put the effort in that is necessary to succeed.

They don’t want to put the work in to spur growth…

Growth from a white belt that is barely surviving. The white belt that feels like they’re drowning for their first 3 months on the mats. The white belt that keeps being the nail for the proverbial hammer. The white belt that keeps coming regardless of how many times they get submitted.

Till that white belt is getting the better of people themselves – finally start submitting people and begin to understand just what BJJ is all about – till they get that blue belt.

Blue belt is where we lose many people. Why? Because they put so much focus and emphasis on getting that blue belt – that it becomes the ONLY goal – making it easy to stop going because they already accomplished the one level of success they wanted.

But there’s so much more…

If that blue belt keeps coming – they start collecting techniques like an amateur mechanic collects tools. And – like that amateur mechanic they begin to use these tools to see which work best to get the job done.

The more tools they collect – the more they begin to see the bigger picture. They begin to see that the tools are great to have – but even better than that – is they begin to understand which tools are best in each situation.

They keep coming…

They get their purple belt. It’s at purple belt that they begin to develop their BJJ style – they begin to develop their OWN brand of the Arte Suave. They begin to formulate “a game”. Some games are guard based… some pressure based… some movement based – but it’s at purple that they begin to chisel away the raw material they’ve collected and shape the mass into something recognizable.

Yes, I switched analogies on you… from mechanic to sculptor – but that’s sort of how jiu jitsu goes.

If that purple belt keeps coming – they get their brown belt. Oh my God! One step away! Almost there! This is where the sculptor really begins to understand what his art piece is really going to look like. The brown belt begins to cut away that which isn’t needed and really polish the prominent features of their sculpture. It’s just not finished yet – a little more work is needed.

So they keep coming…

And then, the day arrives – they receive their black belt. This is a great day. It’s a day they’ll never forget. They’ve come to the end of this years long journey. They reach their goal! They’ve become a black belt! It’s an indescribable feeling that lasts for a while. Emotions run amok – felling overwhelmed with accomplishment – the new black belt finally feels able to breathe.

They’ve done it. They reached the top of the mountain…

That is, until they enter their first tournament.

That’s when they find out that there are different levels to this whole black belt thing. That what they thought was the end of the road –was really just the beginning.

So… they keep coming.

Do you see a pattern here?

If you thought I was going to reveal something that would help you skip the line – you were wrong. Sorry not sorry.

The secret to a bjj black belt? That’s simple…

Keep coming. Keep showing up to class. Keep going to open mats…

Don’t stop.

That’s the secret.

Weird, huh?

-via Jitspop