So you just received your blue belt. The instructor promoted you in front of all your teammates and you were congratulated. Why do you have a feeling of not deserving it? Even if you don’t feel ready, you should trust your instructor’s judgement and assessment of your skills, and you should work your way into ‘growing into the belt’.
Saulo Ribeiro wrote on the subject:
“If you worry about the time and speed of your promotions, you lose yourself. Remember, before you are a blue, purple, or brown belt, you want to feel like one. You must feel that your skills are there. You cannot fool yourself. Attaining a belt is just proof that your teacher is connected with you. You will know when you deserve it. My role as a instructor is to be there and say “Its time.” But you should already realize this on your own.
Jiu Jitsu Is not math, and promotion is not based on attendance or calendar dates. A regimented promotion schedule based on dates or attendance is the worst way to gauge development. Jiu Jitsu is more complex than this.
There is no sense in chasing a belt and getting it as fast as possible. Often, people do not see that black belt will be their longest belt. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you get it in four years or fifteen. Either way, you will have the rest of your life with a black belt around your waist. Building the belt is what matters.“
In this video second degree bjj black belt Jeremy Arel talks about feelings of inadequacy about belt rank. This is a common occurrence in our sport and one that is often discounted by instructors upon promotion but with little explanation of why it’s not an issue.
Arel talks about his trip to Brazil being a powerful experience because it gave him perspective and a frame of reference, specifically with the black belt rank.
For Arel, blue, purple and brown belts don’t mean much. They are just belts before the big one: the black belt and the many years at black belt behind that. That’s why BJJ practitioners shouldn’t make such a big deal about those feelings about not deserving a rank.
Arel will conducting a unique beach BJJ camp in El Salvador in February 2018. You can get more information on Casakickapoo.com