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Matthias was promoted to blue belt

10.10.2018

At the end of our fundamentals class on Tuesday, Matthias was promoted to blue belt. Congratulations!

Matthias' after promotion picture

Many people who start training jiu jitsu use the blue belt as their main goal. A black belt seems like an unrealistic goal when you start. But the blue belt, even though achieving it still takes a considerable amount of time and effort, seems achievable.

There is a popular meme about blue belts quitting BJJ soon after getting promoted. They achieved their initial goal, come to training and realize that they are still just at the beginning. The belt didn't grant them any magic powers, they still have a lot to learn and now they have this big target painted on their back and all the white belts are coming after them during sparring.

In my opinion, belts are bad goals. It's something that is out of your control and completely up to your instructor. On the other hand, your skill on the mat is completely up to you. You can influence your skill by showing up to training and studying jiu jitsu. The belt doesn't change anything, it's just a sign that your instructor notified your progress.

If you want a belt, don't focus on the belt. Focus on the skill level that the belt represents. Don't try to fulfill the minimum requirements and then cross your fingers that your instructor watches you roll on a good day. Instead, try to go way past that arbitrary line and become so good that even on a bad day people can see that you perform way above your belt level.

Don't focus on the belt, focus on what the belt represents and try to become that.

Matthias did exactly that. He kept showing up to training, drilled and focused on getting better. If he keeps doing that, he will rise up through the ranks and one day he will be a black belt.

It's not who is good, it's who is left. If you put in that time, natural athlete or not, you practice the art, you'll be a Black Belt. You're gonna be somewhere in ten years... Why not be a Black Belt too? You just can't quit. - Chris Haueter

Matthias getting his belt from JB