Commitment ...

If you begin your BJJ training with the idea of one day earning your Black Belt, I would say that you are an unusual person. For myself, the idea of earning a Black Belt was such vague notion, such a far-off goal, that in truth, I gave it little or no thought - instead, I just immersed myself in the training process - and of course, the passage of time took care of the rest. In fact, when I was eventually offered my blue, purple, brown and black belts respectively, I pleaded for more time to get my skills up to scratch!

If you start out wanting to earn a Black Belt in BJJ, you should understand that this is a very big commitment. Only the most serious, passionate and steadfast can hope to acheive this prestigious goal. I say this, not to come across as elitist - but merely to underline it as a fact.

Here is something that many people fail to consider - the commiment I am talking about, is a two-way affair: the commitment the student needs to make, and the commitment that the instructor needs to make. So there needs to be commitment on both sides. The amount of knowledge the instructor needs to impart to the student to make the completion of this journey possible, is immense. If we take that knowledge, even without taking into considration, the vast amount of mat-time needed, just the sheer number of classes the instructor needs to guide the student through - is astounding. It's hard to put a number on it - but perhaps a good 1000 classes would fit the bill. That's a load of classes for the student - yes - but it's a load of classes for the instructor as well. This is probably the biggest commitment one can make - (for teacher and student both) in the study of the martial arts.

I am sometimes astounded by the odd student, who on one hand might make a lot of noise about wanting to get their Black Belt, and how serious they are with their training - but when all they need to do is make a time to train when the opportunity is offered they fail to leap up and grab it with both hands. Perhaps I am a bit old-school - but if my instructor Rigan MAchado, called and asked if I wanted to be there at midnight - mid-winter for a session on the 'ice' - I would be there, ear-muffs in hand. Nowadays, we live in a culture of 'easiness' - fast food, fast ranking, fast finance, etc. people want things the easy way - and sadly, this is becoming the 'norm' rather than the exception.

My adfvice to any students of BJJ - if you are serious, remember this: your instructor is serious as welll - if the oppoertunity to train is presented to you - TAKE IT - with both hands and full commitment.



Glen said…
Thanks John, Great read.
Personally, after taking of my Karate Black belt to start BJJ, any new promotion scares me to death. Not so much the expectations from my students and peers, but the expectation I put upon myself. Loving the journey, sometimes a little scared of the destinations.
Liam H Wandi said…
Awesome read John!

Most students don't realise how much the coach will need to oversee before they (both) are ready for the transition!

I would say 1000 sessions is ahumble estimate :)
JBW said…
Thanks guys:
for myself - each time I was presented with a new grade - I foguht tooth and nail for just a little more time - but was refused on each occasion. We never feel that we are truly worthy of the rank ... and that''s not necessarily a bad thing - notif we want to keep standards high. And I do!
Warmest regards - and thanks for your comments.
John said…
The journey is the thing. If you could buy a black belt and all the skills then everyone would have one!

I've enjoyed every moment of my white belt journey so far.
Jai... said…
It really does not matter to me how long it takes for me to progress though this art, as long as my teacher is patient ;p
The single main point for me learning (and that is forever) is that I'm comfortable with the tools I have so far learned,if not I'm quite happy to soak in everything, than grade up.
A prospect of a better colour belt is exciting to me, but its no race and I would never cheat myself.

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