White Belt --->Blue Belt
The estimated one - two year journey, from White Belt to Blue Belt is a whirlwind of new experiences, knowledge, and physical improvements. Finally, after all this time, things are beginning to make sense.
When you receive your Blue Belt, the instructor should feel confident in knowing that if you were to defend yourself against somebody unskilled, you should be able to stay safe. At this point, you should also notice that your movement, knowledge, and reflexes are surpassing students with less experience.
I believe the White Belt works in FOUR phases...
Acquisition : Receiving new information for the brain to process.
Making Sense : You are starting to grasp the basic principles and techniques/positions that make up the art of Jiu-Jitsu. You are beginning to drill smoother and can retrieve techniques you have learned.
Reflexes : You can drill the techniques and have the ability to flow through multiple positions from memory and feel. If you are put under stress (live), you may still struggle.
Street safe/Basic Rolling : On the cusp of Blue Belt, the instructor should start feeling confident if you were to defend yourself. Also, you are starting to feel semi-comfortable with Jiu-Jitsu vs. Jiu-Jitsu rolling/grappling.
The struggle from Blue --->Purple
Every new belt has a "growth" period.
It is like a kid whose parents got him new shoes that are too big... but THEY KNOW he is going to grow into them eventually. That is what a new belt is like.
You look down at your waist and don't always feel like you are ready for the next step. At Blue Belt this is even more evident because of the fact that other Blue's do really well against you and Purple Belt seems like a far off, distant, unreachable land. This belt is most likely where you will spend the longest time in your Jiu-Jitsu journey.
Here is the deal...
You are basically still "new" to Jiu-Jitsu and the problem with most practitioners is, they place emphasis ONLY on their PERFORMANCE in live training! At this point, this is a small piece of the puzzle. The most difficult part of Jiu-Jitsu is, the ability to execute techniques, live, against knowledgeable training partners.
Being able to "roll" well is something that starts to happen on its own through persistence. It is hard to evaluate the big picture like this and it is IMPOSSIBLE and pointless to evaluate yourself as there are lots of factors that go into sparring success.
Instead of looking at "Did I tap vs. Did I tap someone", start setting micro goals in your sparring sessions. These will help you evaluate things much better. They can be as simple as...
Setting MICRO goals will help you precisely determine how you are progressing!
Being Persistent - Finding a Schedule
If you have made it to Purple Belt, you have figured out how to fit Jiu-Jitsu into your personal life, family world, and work schedule. At Blue Belt, you are still facing the struggle of balancing life and training. It is a tough battle and it takes some creativity in figuring out how to make it happen.
Jiu-Jitsu is WAY MORE than just a workout and people will generally do almost whatever it takes to make sure they get the Jiu-Jitsu therapy!
Stay the course, it is worth it. There is not a "disappointed" Black Belt on earth. They all know that when you can conquer an activity like Jiu-Jitsu, life starts to appear like a walk in the park.
FOUR common issues that sabotage the journey to Black Belt
Work: Your profession will be better when you do Jiu-Jitsu. If you can't afford Jiu-Jitsu because you lost your job, BRING IT UP to the instructor. It can usually be figured out.
The ultimate quote from someone who stopped Jiu-Jitsu because of work... "I wish I never stopped, I am so miserable." Ok then don't stop..."I need the money."
You need to be happy and if your happiness doesn't add up to your bank account, your bank account won't make you happy.
Kid's : Bring your kid's to do Jiu-Jitsu. If it's a newborn, take all the time you need, and make your return to the mats when you are ready. When the baby is born, make sure you create an action plan to facilitate a smoother return.
Personal relationships : COMMUNICATE. Sell them on why you "need" Jiu-Jitsu, not why you "want" Jiu-Jitsu. Also, involve them in Jiu-Jitsu. Perhaps through classes, social events, or bring them to meet everyone. He/She will be absolutely blown away by the camaraderie and friendships established in Jiu-Jitsu. If you keep them separate from it, they will NEVER understand.
Laziness : Step ONE > Stand Up ---- Step TWO > Grab your gear ---- Step THREE > Get in your car ---- Step Four > Drive to class. What is so difficult : ) ???
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