You’ve had your belt promotion recently – congratulations! But, don’t tell us… Doubts are creeping in, aren’t they? You’re questioning yourself: „Ok, but did I really deserve this?“
Second-guessing your promotion „credentials“ is nothing unusual. Let’s take a look at several things that you should keep in mind.
IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU DESERVE IT OR NOT
To begin with, here’s a bit of tough love for you: it doesn’t really matter if you deserve your belt or not. It doesn’t, because the end result should be the same nevertheless: that you’ll keep training.
Doubts like this one will travel side-by-side with you throughout your Jiu-Jitsu journey. They were there once you came to your very first class, they’re there occasionally during and after training itself; and they’ll be there hand-in-hand with your belt promotions throughout the years.
All of this doesn’t matter, because your work ethic will make sure that you’ll keep rolling.
So, try not to overthink if you deserve your belt or not. Just keep your focus on continuous improvements on the mats.
COMPARISON TO OTHERS
Comparing yourself to others, especially to your training partners, could be a double-edged sword. For the most part, you shouldn’t compare yourself to them. Just because both you and your training partner have a purple belt, and you think that he has a much better game than you do, doesn’t mean anything.
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps your training partner has a fantastic Open Guard, but you dominate everyone once you establish Side Control. Maybe he’s more explosive and quick, whereas you’re a bit more tactical and sneaky.
However, you should also ask yourself: „Did my training partners deserve their belts?“ If the answer is a resounding „yes“, then there’s absolutely no reason for you to doubt yourself and your own promotion.
WHERE DOES YOUR DOUBT COME FROM?
You should also be very aware where your doubt comes from. Does it come from true certainty that you didn’t deserve your belt because you’re not good at specific techniques and moves on the mat? Or does it come from something unspecified, such as thinking that you’re not good enough… Or just because you haven’t been feeling too good lately?
It’s important to distinguish these two sources of doubt. If you truly reach deep into yourself during the moments of second-guessing your belt, you’ll find that 99% of the time the reason behind is – reason #2.
That it comes from an unspecified source, and that it doesn’t have a solid grounding in anything worth your while.
And if your doubt comes from the source #1, then go back to the first piece of advice we’ve written above… Keep training and aim your attention to becoming better in the techniques you need to get better at.
TRUST AND TALK TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR
And lastly, keep in mind that your instructor has a lot more experience than you do. He’s been in the „business“ for far longer, and he has a much better understanding and knowledge if you deserve your belt or not.
He’s had an opportunity to watch you roll for quite a bit. Paired with his objectivity (he isn’t hindered by the emotions that get in the way of evaluating your skills) and experience, you should put trust into his judgement.
But you should feel free to talk to him about your belt promotion as well. Voice your doubts and ask: „Why did you promote me? Which skills contributed to this, what did I do right?“
This way, you will have a clear answer why you’re more than good enough… And you’ll keep on training.