Chasing The Belt

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, like most other martial arts, the white belt signifies the beginning, a starting point, a blank slate in which to build very basic skills, hopefully that follow you throughout the remainder of your journey.  Being a white belt should be done with enthusiasm.  Enthusiastically embracing the opportunities upon which to build a great foundation, all the while training with great people.  However for some their view of the white belt can be quite the opposite

Some look at the white belt as a means to an end.  You know the type, when’s the next test or when can I become a blue belt or if only I were a blue belt like him…etc.   It’s this view which can cheat you out of the opportunities previously mentioned.  But don’t misunderstand me.  Just because you have these occasional thoughts, whether private or out loud, doesn’t make you bad in either your game or journey.  However it can cheapen the experience, if this is the sole focus and motivation.  The ends to a mean mentality can ultimately result in frustration or possible departure from Jiu Jitsu all togethor.

To be transparent, I sometimes find myself in that mindset.  However I have to occasionally remind myself it really isn’t about the color or amount of stripes but it’s more about developing the skills, relationships and patience to be a better BJJ practitioner and person.  Because when I stop chasing the belt and embrace the journey, it truly has life changing benefits.

I for one have experienced those benefits.   First and foremost, I’m physically active again.  I look forward to going to class and physically pushing this forty-nine year old body on the mats.  Rolling with guys much younger or heavier than me.  Training partners who always demand more of me.  It truly has transformed me both physically and mentally. I can recall, just even in the last couple of years, of how much of an asshole I could be.  And because of BJJ, those tendencies have subtly left my being.  Don’t get me wrong, it still creeps up at times.  However because of a good network of friends and family, I’m more apt to receive the correction.  And all because I’m participating in an activity, requiring complete humility in order to be successful. 

So the next time you walk onto the mats, do like I have been doing and remind yourself why you’re here.  Remind yourself how grateful you are for that one person or reason you started Jiu Jitsu.  Remind yourself about the great people that surround you.  Remind yourself that just by showing up another day, without quitting, makes you a better practitioner than the day before.  Embrace the opportunities to grow, as the result of being a white belt but ultimately…Stop chasing the belt and embrace the journey!

Peace, Love & Chokes

Will h.


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