Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Brown Belt and the U.S.A.! Part I

I was reading a popular BJJ blog that I like a lot one time, and the author was giving blogger's tips on how to get and maintain readers.  Most of the advice I found helpful, but one part had me scratching my head.  It said something like if you haven't posted in awhile, don't bother writing why you haven't been posting, because no one cares.  

I thought that was kind of silly since if you read someone's blog that usually means you are interested in that person's life, experiences, or point of view.  Why wouldn't people care what I've been up to and why wouldn't that be important?  I don't know.  Maybe you don't care.  I'm such a lovable guy though.  How could you not?

First, I was promoted to brown belt in October. 

                          My new belt and certificate from DCBS/Barbosa Academy Korea! 

This promotion was "different" fore sure.  I REALLY wanted my blue belt and I REALLY wanted my purple belt, but I honestly never wanted to be promoted to brown.  The longer I train, the more jaded I seem to become about the whole belt system.  I also felt comfortable at purple and loved being that rank.  Of course, being promoted isn't a horrible thing, and I'm extremely honored and happy, but at the same time it's a bit nerve racking. 

It's also very surreal.  When I was a white belt I though blue belts were Gods.  A brown belt seemed like something that was impossible to achieve.  I was definitely an ugly duckling, stupid as hell and not very athletically gifted.  I was 120 pounds soaking wet and although I wasn't a total pencil neck, I wasn't very strong.  Like I heard Renzo Gracie say one time, "Look at me now, a beautiful swan".

This I know for sure:  if you work hard you can achieve your goals in BJJ.  You will improve, but you have to dedicate yourself and take a huge amount of ass whippings.  There are no short cuts, but if you put in your time on the mats you will see results. 

    My brown belt promotion!

Some things I suggest (take them for what they're worth):
1.  Always go to class
2.  Spar with everyone, don't be afraid to spar with people who kick your butt, roll hard
3.  Don't make excuses (I'm too small, fat, skinny, old, ugly, etc.) or focus on your shortcomings, that will only hold back your BJJ and keep you from progressing and growing as a martial artist
4.  Your training partners are the people who make you better, so take care of them, there's nothing wrong with a healthy rivalry and rolling hard, but don't look at your teammates as people who you are trying to "beat"

   동천백산유술회 East Heaven White Mountain Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club

To be continued....


  1. Cool! Congrats on the brown. Looking forward to the rest of the update, especially if it contains the words "I have now moved back to Austin". ;D

    1. Thanks! You'll have to stay tuned for part II!

  2. I completely disagree that you should "spar with everyone." I started bjj in 1998. No group has given me more injuries than big white belts. They are dangerous, imo.

    1. Yeah, they definitely can be. I actually don't mind sparring with big white belts that are rough, but that's my own personal thing. Rolling with big spazzy new guys might not be the smartest thing, but I like to see if my jiu-jitsu works.

      I completely understand you, though. As a recreational player it's not worth getting hurt in BJJ and having it negatively affect your work, school, or personal life.

    2. Yeah, I don't like to spar with unknown big white belts either, as it's not worth the injury risk to me. When I first spar with anybody who is bigger, I'll attempt to get on top and control as quickly as possible, so I can gauge how much energy they use (or if I can't get on top, stay super-defensive).

      However, some big people can be really good training partners, so I try not to dismiss them out of hand. Big spazzy new guys, not so much: I can send all of them your way, as I've got no interest in sparring with them whatsoever. ;)

  3. Congratulations, John! So you're back in the States now? Hope all is well my friend.

  4. A bit late but congrats bro! well deserved!!!!

  5. Hey! I think I was that blogger! ^_^
    I think that the time it takes you to write "Hey, I'm not blogging because XYZ" you can easily post SOMETHING about jiu jitsu. Sure, I break my own rule every now and again but overall I try to keep it to content rather than reasons why I'm not posting. ^_^ Even when I was sick before, I wrote about Flu Jitsu!

    But it partly comes down to your blog - if they're there to read about jiu jitsu, and you post "Hey, I've been really busy and that's why I'm not posting" then sure, it keeps people in the loop, but do most of your readers want to be in the loop, or are they there for the content. I know that I'm The Most Interesting Person in the World, but the reality is, for every X people who think that, Y people don't give a crap and are just there for the content. And that's okay.

    If your blog is half personal and half jiu jitsu, and you've got a core readership there to read about you - then okay. But even then "Hey I'm not posting because I'm busy" is still lame in the scheme of things.

    It still comes down to the things in this article: "The world only cares about what it can get from you." So while that's harsh, I think ultimately it makes for a better blogging experience. Reasons why you haven't been blogging end up often sounding like excuses instead of that precious content that I'm there to read! ^_^

    In any case, super congrats on the promotion, thank you again for the fantastic suggestion to go to BJJ Lab - I'm really stoked to have met the guys down there! You're awesome and you're in my feedly now!