Belt Promotion: Feeling unprepared?

Annual  School photo day and promotions days are an exciting time for many students.
The entire group comes together and the sense of team and community is strengthened. Those students who have displayed dedication and consistency in training are rewarded with a new stripe or coloured belt around their waist.

Those photos and memories can last a lifetime.

But at home..later that night, the student starts to doubt their belt promotion. They look at the crisp new belt and think “I am not sure that I am ready for this new belt. I don’t think I deserve it.”

Some new blue belts are overcome with an increased sense of pressure of being a colored belt.
There is a phenomena known in Bjj: the “Blue Belt retirement” where a student achieves the long sought after blue belt, only to be never seen again at the school!


read also: The Blue Belt Blues

That student is not alone. MANY students have approached me and confidentially whispered in my ear “I am honoured to get my blue / purple / brown belt…but I’m not sure I deserve it.”

I respond by saying that many other students feel the same, but in reality, that they are well deserving of their new rank. I suggest that they channel those nervous feelings into striving to raise their level so that inside, they feel like that belt belongs around their waist.

I point out that several other students also received promotions and pose the question: “Do you feel that those students deserve their belts?” “Of course! That guy is a BEAST on the mat!”

I point out that the Professor who awarded the promotion has years of experience and can correctly ascertain a student’s technical level. They would not have been awarded the promotion unless the professor genuinely felt that they were ready.


How does your Black Belt professor decide to promote a student?

Gracie Barra 2nd Degree Black Belt, Prof. Flavio Almeida shares his thoughts on bjj belt promotion evaluation.

read also: Are You Ready For Your Blue belt?

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ