Do You Have To Compete To Be A Legit BJJ Black Belt?

Do You Have To Compete To Be A Legit BJJ Black Belt?

So you’re not much of a competitor, are you? You sure like training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and you enjoy hitting the mats as often as possible… But the matter of the fact is – you don’t like competition at all.
However, do you have to compete in order to be a legit Jiu-Jitsu athlete? And what about being a legit BJJ black belt?



You’ve probably already guessed the answer to this one. No, you don’t have to compete in order to be branded as a “legit” black belt at all; whether or not you’re a black belt has more to do with your skills (and how you teach) than with how successful you’ve been on the competition stage.

Now, with that being said, there are numerous advantages to being a black belt competitor. For instance, by competing, you’ll gain experience that you can then transfer onto other athletes and to your own students; the sort of knowledge you wouldn’t be able to share unless you’ve experienced it beforehand.
Secondly, competing will more than likely turn you into a better athlete. There’s a quote that says: “Nobody ever got worse competing.” And that’s very true; so, even though it won’t turn you into any more of a legit black belt, it will surely turn you into a more skilled one.

The Value of Competition

While competition isn’t mandatory for legitimacy, it undoubtedly offers several benefits:

  1. Real-World Testing: Competing tests your skills under pressure and in unpredictable scenarios, offering invaluable experiences that can refine and sharpen your abilities.
  2. Broader Perspective: It exposes you to different styles and strategies, widening your understanding of BJJ beyond your regular training environment.
  3. Resilience and Mental Toughness: The challenges of competition can foster mental toughness, resilience, and the ability to stay calm under pressure.
  4. Sharing Experience: If you teach, competing equips you with first-hand experiences and lessons that you can pass on to your students, enriching their learning.

Skills Over Titles

The crux of being a black belt is not the titles or medals won but the mastery of skills and the ability to effectively teach and convey these skills to others.

The Role of Personal Goals

Your journey in BJJ is personal and unique. If your goals align more with learning, teaching, and enjoying the art form rather than competing, that doesn’t diminish your legitimacy as a black belt.

The Spectrum of BJJ Practitioners

The BJJ community is diverse. Some black belts are fierce competitors, while others are excellent teachers, scholars of the art, or casual practitioners who love the sport. Each brings value to the art of BJJ in their way.

In sum, being a legitimate BJJ black belt is about skill, knowledge, teaching ability, and personal journey within the art. Competition can enhance and enrich this journey but is not a mandatory path to legitimacy. Whether or not to compete should align with your personal goals and aspirations within the sport.