GB Culture: On belt promotions

Watching all of the Gracie Barra schools all over the world on social media in the last couple of weeks, many schools had their year-end photo and promotions day. We see many GB students who are sporting another stripe on their belts or even a new colored belt around their waists.
It has been an especially challenging year for all GB schools given the disruption of our normal lives due to the global pandemic. So at GB Online, we say a big congratulations! to all who received graduation in their rank.
A new stripe or belt promotion can provide “reassurance that you are on the right path” to borrow the words of Prof. Braulio.

Prof. Braulio Estima on the lessons and experiences of his own blue belt journey.
In the video, Prof. Braulio speaks about the character trait of persistence that a Jiu-Jitsu student both displays and develops during that learning period as a blue belt. Give it a listen.
Now anyone who is reading this will likely relate to the feeling that there are some negative feelings associated with going up a rank.
It usually comes down to one of two things.
#1 The feeling that you don’t “deserve” the new belt. The irrational fear that the next time you show up for a class with your new blue or purple belt the instructor is going to pull you aside and, consulting his clipboard, whisper “I’m sorry, there has been a mistake. You are not ready for the new belt!”
All joking aside it is VERY common for new belts to experience inner feelings of doubt that they are not yet worthy to wear a higher belt. It isn’t only you that feels this way. Recently I saw a video on social media where UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was promoted to purple belt and said a few words where he said he didn’t really think he was ready! That first week sporting the new belt you will feel self-conscious but you will quickly forget about it and return to normal.
When I graduated to the brown belt (the 2nd brown belt in the entire GB school) I felt this way. I silently vowed to train harder and more consistently to improve and be worthy of the new belt.
The truth is your instructor sees you in class several times each week, observes the signs of your progression even when you can not. We are not objective about ourselves and it can be difficult to assess our improvement. Feel confident that your instructor accurately assessed your level and your new promotion is in fact well deserved.
#2 To the competitors who suddenly face the prospect of competing up in a higher belt division, this might not seem like the best news! But rest assured that you will improve and grow into the new belt.
So to all of the Gracie Barra students all over the GB Network who received a promotion… congrats and enjoy your holidays.
Look forward to setting some new and challenging goals for this next phase of your study of Jiu-Jitsu!
See also: Gracie Barra Kids Jiu-jitsu with Prof. Bryan Waltz
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia