You all may know master splinter as the rate that took care of the teenage mutant ninja turtles, we look at jiu-jitsu black belts in the same light. All the students in the academy are pupils of a small number of black belts that take the time to pass on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation. There are several things that we rely on from these individuals. In this article, we discuss the jiu-jitsu black belt and answer what it means to make it to this stage.
Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
The Black belt in BJJ is the most prestigious belt you can be rewarded with. It is typically achieved by those who have put at least 10 years of mat time into the craft. Most people who start in BJJ envision that one day they will make it to this rank only to realize how hard and long the journey truly is. For those with the tenacity and the right mindset achieving this will be easy, all you’ll have to do is work hard for a long period, master techniques, and become a greater version of yourself.
Once you hit this stage in BJJ the ranking does not stop. There are two types of black belts in BJJ.
White Bar Black Belt:
This black belt is typically a competitor who does not lead an academy. Note that if you are a white bar black belt you will not receive stripes like you would if you were a red bar black belt.
Red Bar Black Belt:
This black belt is an instructor in the academy you train at. Most of the time these people will still compete. In this rank, you get stripes based on the amount of time you have been coaching others. This is where you will find the ‘degrees’ in the black belt stage.
What Does it Mean to Be a Black Belt in BJJ?
The black belt in BJJ will have many different meanings depending on who you ask. The beautiful thing about jiu-jitsu is that each belt has a general meaning but everyone holds a different belief of what it means to them. There is no one true meaning behind the belt but the characteristics that people will give you are generally the same.
Black belts show a high level of competence in several techniques and have perfected their style of play that they started to cultivate as early as a purple belt. Black belts are leaders in the academy. Whether they like it or not, people will look up to them and seek their guidance so they too can one day reach their level. The community surrounding jiu-jitsu relies on the black belts to spread knowledge about the sport, without them we could not uphold a strong culture.
Black belts are the true 1% in the martial arts world. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a hard sport to rank up in and getting to this point is a huge personal accomplishment that no one will be able to take from you. The average person does not make it to this stage because the average person will give up when times get tough. You have to become exceptional to make it to this stage. You do not have to start exceptional but if you allow the sport to morph you into that high-quality individual, making it to this point will be in your future.
As a jiu-jitsu black belt, you will be a leader inside and outside the academy almost by default. Getting to this point is a huge deal; we hope we can live through a time when we see more people practicing BJJ and making it to this point. Jiu-jitsu is an excellent tool to help you improve almost every aspect of your life. By the time you get to the point where you are a black belt, you will not recognize who you have become. This journey is a worthwhile one to pursue.