How important is to be promoted? (long and dumb)

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by An end for, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. An end for

    An end for Purple Belt

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    Hello, everyone. I need your advice once again, since I know it's good stuff and every time I made a long-ass wall of text thread here at F12, I improved thanks to your help. This is probably my lamest thread until now, but please bear with me for a moment. I'm not in the best of moods right now and have no one to talk to about this.

    How important is to be promoted to the next belt for you? My blue belt exam is coming up in late november. Recently, I have been injured by a training partner who went all Paul Harris at me, and I don't know how much time I'll spend in the shelf. That, combined with the fact that there is a price to go through the belt test, is making me wonder if I should do this, in case I can make a quick enough return, which seems to be the case.

    My biggest doubt right now is, how important is to get the blue belt, or any next belt, for that reason? I'm mostly concerned about the long term. What would it do to me if I got the blue belt right now, instead of six months from now? Will getting the blue belt benefit my jiu jitsu? Will my training derail if I get it while not in my best condition? Would it be better to wait those six months and stay in the white belt?

    My teacher himself said it's just a matter of time to get the blue belt, and not much of a matter of skill, and that the most important part of it is that you'll have to improve by force, since you won't feel comfortable being tapped by whites. Of that part of the school dynamics, I feel concerned about, since my training partners, the ones who have started with me, will all get the blue, and I don't know if they will magically improve by having to deal with the responsibility of having to deal with the angry whites, and the purples who are closer to them now.

    I don't want to be the biggest fish at the smallest fish tank and be THE BESTEST WHITE BELT WINNER OF TOURNAMENTS, nor do I want to be the faixa azul that bosses children around and puts newbies in "their place" with knee on belly and guillotines and wise cracking. I want to be the best of all times, or as close to it as possible -- although I certainly haven't been putting the work for that -- or to put it better and in a less douchey way, I want to be the best I can be. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I'm feeling cranky and pissed off right now with staying at home and looking at the ceiling.

    Another concern that I have is that I don't know how tomorrow will be. If everything goes right, I'll start college next year, and I have no idea of how could that possibly alter my training. It probably won't be anything dramatic, but I would be kidding myself if I said it won't be harder than the useless trade school thing I'm on right now.

    Some background: I am a white belt in BJJ, have been training for 1 year and 5 months, and the white belt who has been training for the longest time in my school, not counting a guy who had a motorcycle accident and had to stay for almost an year out due to injuries. I'm not very good, and my tournament record is quite lacking.

    Thanks once again.
     
  2. armtriangle

    armtriangle Brown Belt

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    Personally, if I had to pay for "belt test" i would be a whitebelt for life.

    I think it is true that some guys grow into the belt by pressure to defend it... but a lot of guys also quit because they are unable to defend it. So that works both ways.

    My academy has a similar philosophy on the blue, it really just means you aren't a total spaz. But we don't take tests or pay for an exam. So, getting a rank is only as important as you think it is. Your peers are not going to surpass you just because they have a magic blue strip of cloth.

    Be the whitebelt that shames your instructor into giving you the blue without having to pay for it. You already pay for his time to teach you, I don't agree with having to pay to see where you are.
     
  3. TalkShowOnMute

    TalkShowOnMute dancingonthecorpsesashes

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    Well the "long and dumb" part is what drew me to this thread. Very enticing!

    :)

    But seriously, who cares about belts? I used to care soo much. I thought getting a blue belt was some amazing achievement (back around 2004 or so) because you didn't find many BJJ guys around. I trained off and on no-gi and mma gyms for years. Then I finally got in a gym in 2008. I got my blue like 6 months later and have now spent something like 2 years at blue and I am only a one-stripe. Albeit, I have spent month after month out with a chronic knee issue and a spine issue (which are decent now from the time off), but the fact is my progression has been anything but speedy since getting a blue. Have I become better? I would like to think so. Does my belt show my progress? Maybe not, but it shows my commitment (which is shite).

    Do I want to be a purple? Sure...what blue belt doesn't. But do I think that is going to happen any time soon? Hell no I'm a blue belt one-stripe for life.

    So I am just going to keep showing up and working when I can, and if I get one I get one. If not, atleast I'm still becoming better for myself and that's all I care about.
     
  4. kimble09

    kimble09 Green Belt

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    i believe your focusing on the wrong goal. your goal is not to get to the next belt level, but rather, to improve your game.

    with that in mind, in order to improve your game, you need to recover from your injury and train. the belt has NOTHING to do with it...

    don't worry about the timing aspect either...again, you're focusing on the wrong thing. if bjj is important to you, you will continue to train. if it's not important to you, pay your instructor for your blue belt, go to college, and never train again...at least you'll be able to tell people you're a blue belt, right??

    hope this helps...
     
  5. akdms

    akdms Blue Belt

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    I wouldn't say it's a huge deal -- the most important thing is that you train and learn, not the color of your belt. That said, were a few benefits (outside of achieving my goal) when I got my blue belt:

    1) You already mentioned it; you will have the feeling that you cannot get beat by the white belts. This will force you to improve your game and stay on top of thing. I don't care how much you say "no ego in the gym" -- it will still matter to you that you don't get tapped by white belts.

    White belts will start gunning for you. I didn't realize how much some (the bigger, stronger guys) were holding back until I got my blue.

    Stronger blue belts will stop going so easy on you.

    2) At my school lower level belts are paired off with higher belts. I usually get paired with either a white belt or a purple belt, instead of a blue belt. That gives me the opportunity to both teach and learn from someone way more skilled than me. Also, you'll have more white belts coming to you asking you to help them with stuff.

    3) If you travel (I do) you will be better received at other schools. Some won't even allow white belts to drop in, some will place restrictions on which classes they can drop in. As a blue belt, you shouldn't have any problem dropping into advanced classes.

    4) You won't be sandbagging tournaments, obviously.

    Like I said, nothing particularly big. Is it going to change where you are in six months? Unless you're in a huge school where people don't know you and you keep getting white belts as sparing partners: very, very little.
     
  6. An end for

    An end for Purple Belt

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    I know where you're coming from, but it seems to be the standard in the local gyms. My teacher has been living from jiu jitsu for a while, and his son was recently born, so I can understand that he's gotta make a living. I just feel that I shouldn't bother paying or trying. The monthly fees are also insanely cheap even for the area, so it pretty much evens out.

    Thanks for the advice. I want to believe in that, maybe I just need to psych myself up and don't worry much about what will happen to everyone else. I just want to be good. The blue belt "curse" is what worries me, as you said, although I know I wouldn't chicken out. I've been through worse during my training time.
     
  7. Knuckles69

    Knuckles69 Purple Belt

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    For me it's an important goal for me to EARN a purple belt. I don't want it until I've earned it, but every day I work toward earning it.

    The day I earn it I'll start working for my brown belt the very next day.
     
  8. akdms

    akdms Blue Belt

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    I actually left a school in large part because you had to pay for strips (yes, strips... $20 each) and belts (group tests). Made worse by the fact that the instructor frequently invited and then flunked people after paying for the test and made them do privates to complete their belt test. After a year and half I was still a zero-stripe white belt.

    My current school still charges for belt tests, but you get an hour and a half private with the instructor, which I think is fair.
     
  9. DevinTheDewd

    DevinTheDewd Orange Belt

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    It's jiu jitsu, all that matters is skill. A brown belt who rolls like blue garners 0 respect.
     
  10. cenix

    cenix Orange Belt

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    i'm still a white belt after over a year, too, and my school is notorious for slow promotions. that being said, i've never really put any pressure on myself to be advanced to blue belt because i want to enjoy my time as a white belt, being able to learn without that "pressure," which is a good thing in itself. just think positive about training and let things flow naturally. eventually, blue will come without force or pressure.
     
  11. nerraw

    nerraw White Belt

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    Just go for it! What's the worst that could happen, really?
     
  12. TalkShowOnMute

    TalkShowOnMute dancingonthecorpsesashes

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    Indeed, whitebelt is the most stress free. You may have some good rivalries with whitebelts who started at the same time as yourself or something, but mostly you are just learning as much as possible and no one is trying to "get you". It is the reason I wish I could be a white belt forever, but at the same time the guys trying to "get you" are pushing you harder which should, in theory, only contribute to your improvement.

    But yeah, sometimes I miss being a whitebelt.
     
  13. Ballzilla

    Ballzilla Yellow Belt

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    You can't hide who you are on the mat. The belt just holds the gi closed, dude.
     
  14. armtriangle

    armtriangle Brown Belt

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    sorry, I probably came off more deragatory than I meant. A lot of respected academies pay for the test (I think Pedro Sauer affiliates).

    The bottom line is the the rank is not important, it all evens out in the end. Comparing yourself to the guys that started when you did is a losing battle. There are inevitably going to be better guys, and the wheat gets separated from the chaff at blue a little, so a lot of the crappier guys will quit.

    Aside from that, some guys suck for while, and then suddenly pass everyone up. Don't worry about it. If you don't feel ready, don't grade. You can always get graded later and maybe get a couple of stripes simultaneously to "catch up"
     
  15. cenix

    cenix Orange Belt

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    very true. i feel more pressure to do well with other white belts (not the newb whites but the guys who started around the same time) than blues and purples. the pressure is always a good thing, and it should be used as motivation to learn more and to constantly improve.

    there is a dude (acquaintance of an acquaintance--pretty far connection as i don't know the guy at all but was shown his facebook page) who has been a white belt since 1996. <---is this possible? i'm not sure if he had a big absence from bjj during that span, but he goes to tournaments and posts pics of himself beating on other white belts but i couldn't find any podium pics of him from the tournaments.

    i guess the moral of the above story, to link it with the original poster is, don't be this guy who is a white belt since 1996. you should strive to advance to feel the pressure to do better and perhaps a blue belt now or 6 months later is not really a big issue to stress about.
     
  16. curb1850

    curb1850 Green Belt

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    Good question. I'd just go take the test and be done with it personally.
     
  17. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    Personnally, getting to the next belt is not that important unless you want to open your own school or you are a keen competitor.

    Injuries should not affect your graduation. If your instructor said that you are ready, then I do see why he would fail you.

    Since it is your happiness and health, it is vital that you are happy with the new belt. Too many guys gets the blue belt and quit because they cannot handle the new pressure.

    Your instructor is correct..belt is just a matter of time and it does force you to improve your game on a daily basis..no more excuses to having a slack day..all the white belts will want to tap you you because they think it makes them at blue belt level.

    I think you guys are getting their blue really fast.
     
  18. redaxe

    redaxe Silver Belt

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    You're not supposed to have to worry about this stuff. It should just be up to your instructor to decide when to give it to you. If you have to decide whether to take, and pay for, a test or not in order to receive a belt promotion, something's wrong IMO. It's not supposed to be up to you to decide what belt you should be.

    If he does have that system, then it sounds like it's not really optional, he's basically requiring you to take the test, so you should just go ahead and do it if you are physically able to. If not, just tell him you're injured and ask to reschedule.
     
  19. Chalito

    Chalito Purple Belt

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    tldr

    if you can get it I think you should go for it. Worse comes to worse you'll grow into the belt.
     
  20. Bebop

    Bebop Brown Belt

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    it depends on the individual. if you are in a gym that takes training seriously for all attendees, and/or if you yourself want to keep improving, then in your case, being promoted is important. while it's arguable that a belt doesn't matter, it's still the measuring stick for progress.

    in my gym, we have a bunch of people slowly progressing. after a year, i have only a single stripe. i could have gotten a second stripe or more if i didn't take about 7 months off, but that's not my point. my point is that there are people at my gym who have started before me and have not gotten past white belt (a couple of pretty good guys have 2 stripes) for their own reasons. my gym has a nice mix of people who are learning at their own different paces.
     

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