When I was a white belt, I remember my enthusiasm and sometimes it was difficult for me to slow down. I wanted to learn as much as I can, as fast as possible. I used to go to the academy to train 5 or even 6 days a week, it was too much.
It took me 1 year and 8 months to earn my blue belt. I felt very excited when Professor Megaton Dias tied my blue belt around my waist. And even though I kinda wanted to keep wearing my white belt, very deeply inside I was so looking forward to that promotion.
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, according to the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBBJF) standards, there are the ranking belt levels:
- White belt: Has no minimum of years of practice to earn the next level. Fundamentals, escapes and defensive positions, common offensive moves are evaluated by the professor to determine the promotion.
- Blue belt: this is the level where we spend most of the time, there is an average of a minimum of 2 years of practice and hundreds of hours of mat time before even thinking about purple.
- Purple belt: it requires a minimum of 18 months.
- Brown belt: it requires a minimum of one year.
- Black belt: it requires a minimum of 5+ years.
- Red / Black belt (Coral belt): a practitioner should remain a black & red belt for a minimum of 7 years.
- Red / White belt (Coral belt): a practitioner should remain with it minimum of 10 years.
- Red belt: this last degree, is the highest rank. Members of the Gracie family have stated that this rank should be only reserved for those which dedication to the art have brought them fame and provided big influence. Only a 9th and 10th degree black belt could earn it.
Each black belt degree takes 3 years of teaching experience:
I decided to mention these time frames for you to have an idea of how long it takes to advance in each level, but please do not get me wrong. I learned from my Professor Ray Quintana that the color does not matter, and that we should not pay attention to what is written in paper regarding timing because what counts is what is done on the mat.
Also, I remember asking to Professor Megaton about how long it takes to go from one belt to another, to which he replied: ”The belt only serve the purpose to tie your Kimono”
I am currently a blue belt as you could figure by the name of my post.
Blue belt is most often the second adult rank in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu. At the blue belt level, students gain a wide breadth of technical knowledge and undertake hundreds of hours of mat time to learn how to implement these moves efficiently. Blue belt is often the rank at which the student learns a large number of techniques.
Not all Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools or regulatory bodies award the blue belt as the second adult belt. Although many Brazilian jiu-jitsu organizations adhere to the IBJJF standard of awarding the yellow, orange, and green belt exclusively as part of a youth belt system (under 16 years of age), some supplement the time between white belt and blue belt with one or more belts of these colors.
The IBJJF requires that a practitioner be at least 16 years old to receive a blue belt, thereby officially entering into the adult belt system.
Two years and 7 months have passed since I got my blue belt. I have had the opportunity to participate in a few competitions in Panama under my white and then blue belt, and it has been very fun!
Although the journey has not been easy. I had to stop training a few times either because of work related situations that needed my full time or because of injuries I have suffered.
I have to be very honest, sometimes I have lost my motivation. I even felt losing my interest or lets say drive that I had once during my first 2 years of training. At the same time I feel very lucky, lucky because of my wife that sometimes pushed me to go to train when I had a bad day, lucky because the friendship we have built in our team where we all are supporting each other. But there is something more strong that always reminds me to never back down, and that is the commitment I feel with this art and my professor Ray who always believed in us. Besides, I can't turn my back to all the sweat, pain, black eyes that I have taken, and most importantly, I cannot allow myself being ungrateful for all the lessons that jiu jitsu thought me and helped me know myself better to be more humble.
Ironically speaking, I can't train at the moment because during my last practice, while fighting with one of my team members, he managed to take my back and lock his legs in a triangle lock, he locked it so strong that I think he broke my rib due to excessive effort. I have been 1 week out of the mat, and has been quite funny trying to avoid to sneeze and laugh. I am telling you, it’s a bit painful.
Here is picture I found to use it as an example of how it happened.
Then when I thought my rib was getting better, I ended up very ill due to a bacterial pneumonia that kept me off the mats for another month. But now I am back and started training a few weeks ago!
So to wrap it up, I have to say it feels good to write about how I have felt towards my jiu jitsu, somehow it helps me to remind me about all these important reasons to always keep myself strong mentally.
These circumstances apply to anything you do in life, sometimes you could feel demotivated because things don't go the way you want to, or because you get injured and cannot continue your training. This is when you learn how to be responsible with yourself by being patient and help your body heal, life continues and there is still so much to learn.
Here I am in a competition fight setting up knee on belly for my points. Picture courtesy of Game of Pain.