“A belt is just a belt, regardless of its color, it only covers 3 inches of your ass.”
That’s what my Professor Ray Quintana always tells us when we get promoted by him. I am sure he learned that from the best: Megaton Dias.
Even though this is true, having a color on your belt does represent years of hard work, sweat and a lot of hours on the tatame, that is why it means a lot to me being promoted to purple belt!
Last time I was promoted was in 2015 by Megaton himself, who came to visit the academy in Bocas del Toro, Panama. I have been comfortable being blue belt for these last 3 years, in fact I have been the longest in blue in our academy.
To be honest, part of me did not want to be promoted because I wanted to compete again in blue. I am in the Master 2 category, and every time I have competed I had to always combat in adult division because there are no many masters 2 competing in my weigh division and color of belt. Competing with the younger guys has always been very difficult, they are faster and their cardio is better. That opportunity is gone, now I will have to train harder because I will be facing other purple belts that have been purple longer than me of course.
For the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation, there is a set up age divisions, below 30 years old is consider adult division, any age after 30 is Master division.
- Master 1: athletes aged 30 to 35.
- Master 2: athletes aged 36 to 40
- Master 3: athletes aged 41 to 44
…and so on every five years.
I remember Megaton told me when he gave me the blue: ”Now the white belts will want to test themselves fighting with you, and the blue belts will want to defeat you”
I understood in his words the level of responsibility you get when you get promoted. Being purple belt now also means to be able to help more in class and teach the new members fundamentals, and this is one of the most beautiful things of Jiu Jitsu, to be able to teach it.
My professor, as my previous post said, came down to visit and teach cool techniques, and somehow I had the feeling that he was going to promote me. I even told him one night when we were eating dinner, not to promote me, as a joke lol.
Well he did, and of course in a funny way with a fun speech, like we are all use to in the Megaton Team.
After asking me to roll literally with everyone, he put all of us in line and asked me to be in the front. My blue belt had only 2 stripes, you need 4 stripes in order to be promoted to the next level. At first he gave me 2 more stripes saying they were well deserved. But suddenly, he takes from the roll tape a 5th stripe! I was like… “WTF?!”. Everyone started laughing and I knew something else had to come next. He even said: ”You are now the first in the history of Jiu Jitsu to have 5 stripes in your blue belt" lol.
And the moment came… he took out the purple belt, it was hidden under his gi. And the joke was over, he put the purple belt around me and my teammates congratulated me. It was a memorable moment for me.What is coming now?
What is coming now?
Having my purple belt on me, to be honest, it doesn't feel like a big difference, although as I said before, responsibility does feel bigger.
While being blue I had hard times, either being injured, sick or busy, and have not been able to train this last year as before, or as I wanted to. Past is in the past, now I am looking forward to train a lot, learn from previous mistakes and be ready for my next competition. It does not matter if I am a newbie in purple, I will gain a lot regardless of the outcome.
"There is no losing in BJJ, either you win or you learn"
I am very grateful for discovering this martial art and I hope my body will last long through all the training so I can keep enjoying it the rest of my life.