The World’s Greatest White Belt

Competition in jiujitsu is fun.  I mean, I don’t care for it particularly. It makes me nervous and anxious and I never perform my best. However, the need to test our skills regularly whether in day to day training or competition is an essential part of the sport.  I encourage people to compete at least to see if they like it and enjoy it.  For some people the thrill of competition is everything.  And finding that as an adult can be a great vehicle to improve their lives.  That being said, I have to put something into perspective. 

The real competitions start at Black Belt.  I’m not trying to be dismissive or condescending.  It is great that there are competitions open to students of all levels.  And the only way to improve at competition is to compete regularly.  I get super excited over my friends and students competing as anybody would. I cheer them on and I coach them and I watch their matches with great enthusiasm.  However, once someone is dominating the field and bringing home gold medals from multiple competitions, it just signals to me that they are ready to be promoted.  That is another good thing about competition.  It can signal when someone is ready to advance.  

I think it is important to remember this if you are competing and losing.  Yes, that gives you stuff to work on.  Learn from your losses! It also means you are where you should be regarding your belt.  And, third, you are probably going against people that are due for a promotion.  This is why I often say rather sarcastically that nobody cares if you are the world’s greatest white belt. In my mind the white belt world champion (I can’t believe that’s even a title) is just a blue belt that hasn’t gotten promoted yet.  And so on as you go up in ranks.   That’s not a bad thing (although I often say it with disgust). It’s just how it is.  

If you want to compete, then you have to be willing slog it out in the same division for a couple of years until you start making progress.  If you’re competing then it pays to be the world’s best white belt.  However that to me just translates to the world’s newest blue belt.  Then the process starts all over again as you move your way through the blue belt division for a few years.  

Enjoy the process.  One day you might be the world’s best white belt and the next day hopefully you’ll be the worst blue belt.  That’s the journey.  

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