Will I Get A New Stripe?

It has been a few months since the last promotions at my academy and several of the students have improved their jiu-jitsu skills in that time.

Next week some new students will be called to the front of the class and a new stripe added to their belts. Not all of the students will receive another stripe.

What goes on in the mind of instructors when they are deciding to award a promotion in BJJ? When does an instructor decide to add another stripe to a belt?

There are a few important things that an instructor looks for.

1) Do you attend class regularly?

You may have started classes months ago, but you attend class once a week, and sometimes we don’t see you for weeks at a time. You have a difficult time remembering what you saw your previous classes.

The single most important factor in your improvement is regular class attendance. Simply put, if you are not on the mat in class regularly, you are not likely to receive a promotion.

2) Do you try to apply the class techniques in rolling?

Sure, you have seen many techniques the last several months in class. But do you try them in rolling?

Instructors with a curriculum are methodically building your positions by teaching the most important techniques for your level of experience. The best students actually try those techniques in live rolling. The techniques may need many repetitions to be drilled before they can be effective in live rolling.

Some students repeat some of the same bad habits over and over and can not (or will not) evolve to use better technique.

Try the techniques that you learned in class!

3) Are you using technique or relying on attributes to survive?

Many students place far too much emphasis on “who tapped who”. A larger, more athletic student may be able to tap a smaller, more skilled student in live rolling. It happens.

Although it is a positive sign if you can dominate positionally and submit opponents in sparring, that is not the most important factor. The question is: when you are in a tough match, do you use technique to escape or improve your position, or do you toss technique out the window and revert to pure survival instinct and hang on for dear life hoping that the round ends before you get submitted?

Students should evolve and use technical jiu-jitsu in rolling situations on the ground, relying less and less on athleticism and pure instinct. It is REAL progress if I see a student TRY the technical side control escape instead of clutching on and hoping to avoid being tapped.

When your instructor adds a new piece of tape on your belt you can feel proud about your dedication and improvement in jiu-jitsu.

Enjoy the accomplishment and recognition of your efforts!
Read also on the Jiu-jitsu Times: A Few Words About Tapping


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