So You Got Overlooked at the Latest BJJ Belt Promotion. What Now?

So You Got Overlooked at the Latest BJJ Belt Promotion. What Now?

Yes, we know… That belt promotion just happened and, well, you didn’t really participate in any part of it other than, perhaps, the gauntlet or the shark tank. To put it more bluntly – you were not promoted.
And yes, we understand that you might be quite sad actually… But, hear us out: let’s take a look at the alternative way of seeing the whole situation in the video below, through the experience of Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy’s Robin Gieseler!


First of all, realize that this is a common experience. Instructor Robin says that this is what happened to him as well and that he understands the feeling of disappointment which comes into play when you’re sure about getting promoted to the next belt rank and when that doesn’t happen then.
However, he says that he now understands that – looking back at it – there must’ve been a reason for him not to receive the blue belt at that point. And that it ultimately doesn’t matter; for the belt doesn’t make you any better than you previously were! The goal should be to improve, not to get the belt.

A student of his also adds his own story. It was the belt promotion day… And he was absolutely certain that he’d get his blue belt – after all, he had four stripes already!
But then, the most unlikely of things happened: instructor Robin called him in order to give him his fourth stripe, even though he already had all of the necessary stripes! He ended up receiving his fifth stripe on his white belt from the confused instructor.

And the cool thing about it all, he says, was that – yes, he had all those expectations about receiving his blue belt and had even told his family about how sure he was about getting promoted that evening. Yes, he was really bummed out when it didn’t happen. But it was that exact thing which motivated him to push further!
He used it as an opportunity to learn so as to what to do in order to get his blue belt, and he continued training hard. He persevered, and the hard work payed off in the end as he received a surprise belt promotion a few months after.


As instructor Robin says, what seemed to be a letdown at first turned out to be a positive thing in the end! The focus of your story should be on improving your Jiu Jitsu, and the belts will come as a by-product.
It is also necessary to emphasize that you should never ask your instructor for the belt, no matter what. Instead of doing that, a constructive thing would be to actually ask him so as to what you can do to become better, in which things you need to improve so as to reach the next level. In other words, what you can do to improve in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! This will send a message that you are focused on the „right things“ and not solely on the color of your belt.

In the end of ends, it all boils down to how you react to these situations, instructor Robin mentions. To how you handle the whole process of training, of experiencing all those ups and downs that come with it.
Keep on going! Just about everyone can achieve great things in Jiu Jitsu, if only they persevere. So, keep at it – and the belts will surely come!