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Tom

It’s been about two months since my last Jiu-Jitsu post, as I’ve been on a streak of fictional writing. While I enjoy the continual presence of the Muse and the inspiration she brings, I’m long overdue for something contributing to the Jiu-Jitsu community. So, in this latest offering, I figured I’d try and tackle something I find rather interesting as I look at the stats of my humble little blog.

Since I began writing about BJJ, one of the most common search terms that lands a reader here actually revolves around stripe requirements, specifically for white belts and blue belts. Even today, a search term surrounding the length of time for a white belt to get a third stripe brought someone to the blog. (Thanks for stopping by, btw!) Now, I’m barely a step or two down the life-long journey that is the path of Jiu-Jitsu. It will be two years in March 2019. My blue belt is not fully broken in yet, so I write the following with the understanding of how far I actually have to go. As usual, I want to help the BJJ community in a positive and constructive manner, so I’m always open to hearing from others and getting their insight. So.. here goes.

So, you are looking for what needs to be done to earn that first, second, third or fourth stripe as a white belt?

Nice! In a small way, that’s a good thing, you are eager to progress and move farther down the path. My two cents, having dealt with those questions myself as a white belt, focusing on what you must do to get that next stripe is a detractor from your progress.

I was in ITF Tae Kwon Do (General Choi Hong Hi or bust!) and in a system like that, there are testing requirements. Unless things have changed, with constant practice in an ITF (or USTF) school, you can achieve first degree black belt in two years, or less. I have a soft spot in my heart for TKD (especially the ITF style), but, this isn’t that kind of martial art. Even my Professor’s Professor, Robson Moura who was training consistently since he was 10, didn’t received his first degree until he was 18. He’s now a fourth degree black belt, one year older than I am and holds EIGHT World Championships.

In other arts, that would be Grandmaster status…

Let that sink in.

Jiu-Jitsu is not like other arts.

Trust your Coach/Professor.

From the small time I’ve been in BJJ, these elements make all the difference:

  • show up
  • put in the time
  • take notes
  • study
  • be a good training partner
  • get the reps in
  • ask your Coach, your Professor and senior students about the techniques being learned
  • practice the basics,
  • don’t worry about getting tapped
  • rinse and repeat.

Put the thoughts of the next stripe as far out of your mind as possible as you do this. Your Professor will be watching you and gauging your progress. When you are ready, when you are performing to that level, it will happen.

Trust your Coach/Professor.

I still get those thoughts from time to time, too. “Have I done enough? Have I earned that (first, second, third, fourth) stripe yet?” Put them out of your mind. Any time one of those thoughts come across my mind, I shake it out and remind myself that this is a long process of learning. I remind myself that while I might’ve been noticing my own growth, my Professor has been around MUCH longer and I need to just relax, focus on the training and trust him.

Trust your Coach/Professor.

So, that’s about it, really. Yeah, I know, it isn’t a list or a break down of what you need to have under your belt for that next stripe, but it’s more than likely what you need to hear and will take you farther on your journey than just trying to get that next promotion.

Until next time: OSS/OSU!