Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stripes in BJJ

Sometimes, people ask me how many stripes I have on my belt.  When I tell them "zero" they sometimes get confused especially since I am very dedicated and have been a purple belt for well over a year.   I think it's a silly question to begin with.  I realize that the skill differential between someone with zero stripes and four stripes can be quite large, but in the end I'm just a purple belt, plain and simple. 

Truth be told, I could care less about stripes in BJJ.  Okay, okay I know what you're thinking:  "Yeah, sure man.  You don't care about stripes, but you feel that it's necessary to make a blog post about how much you don't care about stripes".

Look, I have to write about something, don't I?

I realize that stripes can help motivate students and help keep an instructor aware of where a student stands towards his/her next promotion (especially at big schools), but I think that many people put too much emphasis on the little pieces of tape around their belt.  Some tape or even my belt color isn''t going to keep me from catching an ass whooping from someone on the mat. 

I don't want to come off like I'm above caring about promotions.  Quite the opposite is true actually.  I remember really, really wanting to be a blue belt and really working hard and striving to get my purple!  To be honest, I like promotions (hell, who doesn't)?  It feels good  to have your instructor recognize all the hard work you've put in and your accomplishments. 

Actually, it's kind of cool not having any stripes.  People have no idea if I'm a fresh, newly minted purple or if I've been at it awhile.  It keeps people on their toes.   Also, having my instructor give me a kind word every now and then (something I think every good instructor should do) means more to me than a piece of electrical tape around my belt. 

Personally, I really don't need a marker to help motivate me to go to class and try to advance and excel.  I think the desire to get better should come from within me and not from carrying or worrying about when or whether my instructor is going to put something on my belt or not. 

These are all just my thoughts of course and my own personal opinion.  Just because I don't care for stripes doesn't mean that I think they are completely useless.  Also, any sort of positive recognition from an instructor is always something to be happy about and reflect on.  Now, stop reading this and go train!

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