I’m going to hit on this topic just because it only gets hit on once a day at the least! Belt rank….. Does the color of your belt matter? I read an article by another writer for Jiu Jitsu Times and in the article it says “Rank is mostly only necessary because people are immature and require validation”. Which pretty much states that, the ever lasting topic, the belt doesn’t make you better, it only raises your ego!
I absolutely, 100% disagree with this statement! Let me tell you why. The whole time I was a white belt I asked my coach, “What do I need to work on?”. His answer, which always aggravated the crap out of me was, “Jiu Jitsu”. Always the same answer, didn’t matter how it was worded! “What should I know in order to receive my blue belt?” “Jiu Jitsu” he’d say!! Then I sat for almost a year with 3 stripes on my white belt. Every day wondering, what am I doing wrong and why won’t he tell me how to fix it! All the while my coach says, “You’re doing fine”. Then I hit rock bottom! I honestly contemplated quitting, I had a horrible night of rolling, nothing seemed to feel good at all, and I was mad!! But then he says to me, “You’re being too hard on yourself, just relax and have fun”. This was like the flickering lightbulb that miraculously started getting brighter!
I still thought about that dreaded 4th stripe all the way until he gave me my blue belt! That’s right, he tricked me, No 4th stripe for me straight to blue belt. What a jerk! (Love you coach lol) Instantly I felt better, like I had finally beaten that stupid white belt! So much so that when I was given my blue belt I slammed my white belt to the mat in complete satisfaction (but quickly picked it up, thou shalt not anger the Jiu Jitsu Gods). It felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted and I could finally breathe! My rolls that day, I honestly don’t have the slightest clue what or how I did. I didn’t care at that point. Then the hype died down and we go out as a team to celebrate promotions and have a discussion that will forever be on my mind. My coach says, “People can say whatever they want. They can say that the belt doesn’t matter and that it doesn’t change things, they are wrong! It’s just a belt, yes, but when you get that belt you get better, it just happens, it always happens.”
I’ve thought about this a lot. It’s true, not only do you have to know how to move, but the technical aspect of many basic moves have to flow like gravy. You also have to fight off the hungry wolves, white belts that want to prove something! This makes you better! White belts push harder on blue belts because they are trying to prove themselves worthy! Blue belts hunger for that because they want to establish their dominance! Its natural Jiu Jitsu evolution! This is what makes Jiu Jitsu so amazing!
So see, although it’s just a belt, it does improve your game. 85% of Jiu Jitsu is mental, 10% skill, and the last 5% is pure luck. The belt tied around your waste says, “I’ve got this” then all your fears are lowered and you just roll! The belt is just a color and an earned achievement, not a validation, it’s self confidence! Self confidence is the strongest emotion one can have, or the weakest downfall to someone. That colored belt lifts us up more and more each time we put it on! Royce Gracie once said, “The belt only covers 2 inches of your ***, you have to cover the rest”. Well you are 85% there with that 2 inches!!