Been a white belt for 5 years

drop bear

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Ten years is a bit long to be a white belt even for BJJ, were you training consistently for those 10 years?

Not really. We are also rural and had a hard time finding people to grade us.
 

Tony Dismukes

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im going to throw this out there for the more knowledgeable to answer. is it common place for a BJJ teacher to be called Professor?
In Brazilian Portuguese, professor just means teacher or instructor. Most Americans dont bother with the title (probably because of the potential confusion with the English usage) but Ive had a couple of Brazilian instructors call me professor after I reached black belt.
 

PhotonGuy

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Not really. We are also rural and had a hard time finding people to grade us.
That's probably why you were a white belt for so long. If you want to promote you have to be consistent with coming to classes in most jiu jitsu schools.
 

isshinryuronin

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In Brazilian Portuguese, professor just means teacher or instructor. Most Americans dont bother with the title (probably because of the potential confusion with the English usage) but Ive had a couple of Brazilian instructors call me professor after I reached black belt.

In traditional karate there is an awarded title (separate from, but related to belt rank) called "kyoshi", which can loosely be defined as "professor" or "expert/enlightened instructor." Depending on style and organization this honor may be given to a 6th or 7th dan, often with time in grade as well as age requirements. Below this is "renshi" for 5th dan, and above it is "hanshi" for 8th or 9th dan. These titles do not automatically come with the rank (having their own criteria) and are not used when addressing the instructor.

Note: Miyagi Chojun was the first kyoshi. It was awarded to him in 1937 by the Okinawan MA governing board made up of the top masters at the time. They also oversaw many of the highest belt promotions (no self-promoted masters back then.)
 
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Tony Dismukes

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In traditional karate there is an awarded title (separate from, but related to belt rank) called "kyoshi", which can loosely be defined as "professor" or "expert/enlightened instructor." Depending on style and organization this honor may be given to a 6th or 7th dan, often with time in grade as well as age requirements. Below this is "renshi" for 5th dan, and above it is "hanshi" for 8th or 9th dan. These titles do not automatically come with the rank (having their own criteria) and are not used when addressing the instructor.
I think that in Brazilian Portuguese, "professor" would be closer to "sensei" in Japanese, i.e. just "teacher" rather than "enlightened instructor." However in BJJ it traditionally isn't used until a practitioner reaches black belt even if they are teaching at an earlier rank.
 

punisher73

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My experience in BJJ schools is limited. But, I have come across to kinds of "models".

First one I went to, the instructor would show everyone some techniques based on some position and then you would drill them a little. Then it came time for rolling and then you were "thrown to the sharks" so to speak.

Second one I went to, the instructor would have a progression of techniques based on some position and progression and then you would drill them to learn the basics as a beginner so you had a little bit of an idea what you could/should be attempting or doing. When it came to free sparring, as a beginner, you would be paired with someone and they would give you feedback as they rolled to help you understand the positioning and what you should be doing. They didn't just always "go for the win" every time where it felt like you weren't getting anywhere.

In talking with people, I think the first school is a lot more common and the assumption is that you just keep sticking around long enough to "get it'. But, I have also found that if you ask lots of questions, the information is usually freely shared. For example, when we were rolling and I was in X position and you did X to tap me, what should I have been trying to do?
 

callMeHawkEye

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I don't really know. I think it's that I feel my skill level isn't improving. I'm getting crushed by people who have only been training for like 2 months. I'm about 40 lbs under weight and I'm sure that plays a part but it doesn't feel like a valid excuse to me.

I'm probably not training enough, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Still, I feel like I should be improving.

We don't really do testing. Professor just promotes based on what he sees I guess.

Thank you for your input!
hi jmr what really helps is if you do 4 things-
1) really track and record your training and rolls. keep a journal or video diary and recording of your rolls. use it to reflect on what you learn, what you like, and dislike and struggling with. When you can really track things then you can tell where you improve or where you falling behind or lacking

2) DRILL. DRILL. DRILL. DRILL and drill some more. a lot of school unfortunately do not drill things enough. Look at your journal and recording and choose 1 or 2 thing to really drill and focus on. Then rep those drills- whether it is guard retention or pass or triangles or sweep etc. And REALLY FEEL the movement and flow as you do it. BJJ is very tactile martial art. You do not have to do static drills- once you got the basic movement patterns down solid then you can add resistance and change things up

3) Check out some amazing rolls or techniques online- see floroll or EBI or check out YouTube etc- this can really give you more inspiration for things to try and enhance your game. You also should be talking with your coach for feedback as a white belt
4) leads me to the 4th point- fundamentals. If you are really not progressing then it all come back to the fundamentals- If you have issues with passing then something is off about your understanding or application of concept and techniques of guard passing. Same with escapes, transitions, back attacks etc

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

Graywalker

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Reminds me of the Tracy kempo scams. The longer between ranks, the mo' money they make.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Reminds me of the Tracy kempo scams. The longer between ranks, the mo' money they make.
Huh? Its generally the other way around. Lots of frequent rank tests with associated rank fees is a major revenue stream for some schools in certain styles.

BJJ is on the other end of the spectrum. Most schools dont even have belt testing fees and even those which have them dont make much money off them because its typically at least a couple of years between ranks. (And in some cases, as for the OP, it can be a lot longer between belts.)
 

Graywalker

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Huh? Its generally the other way around. Lots of frequent rank tests with associated rank fees is a major revenue stream for some schools in certain styles.

BJJ is on the other end of the spectrum. Most schools dont even have belt testing fees and even those which have them dont make much money off them because its typically at least a couple of years between ranks. (And in some cases, as for the OP, it can be a lot longer between belts.)
But, there monthly cost, is a bit on the high side. It's not about the cost of rank testing, but the amount of time, the longer you can keep a student, the more money you will receive. It reminds me of some schools, (Karate) that state you can't master the system in 3-4 yrs. It is is an issue in several systems.
 

Tony Dismukes

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But, there monthly cost, is a bit on the high side. It's not about the cost of rank testing, but the amount of time, the longer you can keep a student, the more money you will receive. It reminds me of some schools, (Karate) that state you can't master the system in 3-4 yrs. It is is an issue in several systems.
I can guarantee you that we dont keep students coming to train longer in BJJ by having belt ranks farther apart. If anything, we weed out the people who need that quick external validation. No one says to themselves, Im just going to train BJJ long enough to get my black belt, then move on.

Ranks in BJJ are based on how long it takes the practitioner to reach the level of ability the instructor expects from that rank. That takes however long it takes for the individual. For those who reach black belt in BJJ, 10 years seems to be the average time. It took me 15 years (and I felt my promotion was a little premature). I have friends who made it in 4 years and were equally deserving. I have other friends who have been training for 20 years and havent made it past purple belt.

Ive seen a lot of people come in and out of BJJ over the years. If they stay, its because the training is giving them something of value thats worth the time and effort. If they leave, its because they arent enjoying it, or they are pulled away by other interests, or family responsibilities, or injuries, or health issues, or dojo politics. No one is staying around for the belts.
 

Flying Crane

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But, there monthly cost, is a bit on the high side. It's not about the cost of rank testing, but the amount of time, the longer you can keep a student, the more money you will receive. It reminds me of some schools, (Karate) that state you can't master the system in 3-4 yrs. It is is an issue in several systems.
As an ex-Tracy Kenpo fellow myself, while I certainly feel there are problems in the method that I was unable to surmount, ultimately leading to my discontinuing with the system, what you describe was not, in my experience, part of the problem. Monthly fees were certainly no more than other schools, and perhaps somewhat less, we did not have more promotions than what was typical in many other schools, we never paid testing fees, and there were never any other surprise fees. If anything, I felt rank tended to be given liberally and on the quicki-ish side. I agree with @Tony Dismukes: if people stay it is because they feel they are getting something of value from the training and the time in the dojo. While I believe that ultimately a student needs to be able to stand on his own and should not need to be beholden to a teacher forever, each person will decide how long they will stay and when they will strike out on their own or for something new. There is no processing of the student through a conveyor belt after which they are ejected from the school, fully developed. Ive never seen any school work that way.

So, no.
 

BigMotor

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Change schools or simply train on your own, if you cant find a better classroom, with honest instructors. Your sitrep smells of rotten fish, so go to a better fishing ground.

You are free to do what you want, maybe switch out your current fighting style, for something that suits you better.
 

masherdong

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Stop worrying about your belt and focus on having fun and hone in on your skills. It will come! BJJ is one of the longest journeys to Black Belt. I started in 2007 and I got promoted to Black Belt back on Nov 13, 2020. So, it took me 13 years! Those years went by really quick for me as I was just enjoying myself and learning new techniques. Im not a competitor any more, did some when I was a white and blue belt and it just isnt for me. Focus on going to class and have fun with your classmates. If you stress over the color of your belt then you will get disappointed, frustrated, and angry. Dont go chasing the rabbit on that! Go and have fun and get better with your team mates. Iron sharpens Iron brother! Oss!
 

MadMartigan

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It reminds me of some schools, (Karate) that state you can't master the system in 3-4 yrs. It is is an issue in several systems.
So everyone's good with that statement? Ok, cool... wait. Hang on. You can't master anything in 4 years! (My opinion of course)

In seriousness to the OP, we all start from different places. Some people are just naturals and just 'get it' right away. The beauty of the martial arts is the individuality. You're not in competition with them. You just need to focus on being better than the you from yesterday.
 
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Urban Trekker

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This is why I would never take BJJ. It taking 10 to 15 years to make black belt isn't the issue for me. The issue is that I've seen so many horror stories all over the internet about how BJJ instructors will find any and every excuse to not promote someone to the next belt rank. I remember one where someone who had been a white belt for years was submitting brown belts, but wasn't still wasn't getting promoted for whatever petty reason.

For me, finding another BJJ gym isn't the answer. Sounds like you've already got everything you're going to get out of BJJ, and it's probably best to move onto another art.

Based on what I'm reading, you probably don't belong. They probably want you gone, but are dropping hints instead of telling you to your face.
 
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Hanzou

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This is why I would never take BJJ. It taking 10 to 15 years to make black belt isn't the issue for me. The issue is that I've seen so many horror stories all over the internet about how BJJ instructors will find any and every excuse to not promote someone to the next belt rank. I remember one where someone who had been a white belt for years was submitting brown belts, but wasn't still wasn't getting promoted for whatever petty reason.

For me, finding another BJJ gym isn't the answer. Sounds like you've already got everything you're going to get out of BJJ, and it's probably best to move onto another art.

It's better being a white belt submitting browns than it is a brown belt getting subbed by white belts. That said, I have serious doubts that there's a school out there that would keep someone at white belt if they're consistently submitting brown belts.

Like Drop Bear said, White belt is a non-pressure belt. I've been a purple belt for about 8 years (due to family responsibilities and on and off training), and there are times that I wish I could just start over and be a white belt again.
 

Urban Trekker

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It's better being a white belt submitting browns than it is a brown belt getting subbed by white belts.
That's like saying it's better to be the guy in the warehouse who can load x number of times more boxes onto a truck than the guy who just got promoted to foreman. If that warehouse worker knows his worth, he won't be staying there much longer.
 

Graywalker

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So everyone's good with that statement? Ok, cool... wait. Hang on. You can't master anything in 4 years! (My opinion of course)

In seriousness to the OP, we all start from different places. Some people are just naturals and just 'get it' right away. The beauty of the martial arts is the individuality. You're not in competition with them. You just need to focus on being better than the you from yesterday.
You would need to take it up with Anko Itosu, it is from his precepts on Karate. I believe he would be the authority.
 

Hanzou

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That's like saying it's better to be the guy in the warehouse who can load x number of times more boxes onto a truck than the guy who just got promoted to foreman. If that warehouse worker knows his worth, he won't be staying there much longer.

Actually it's not, since the foreman has an easier job and is getting paid more money.

Rank increase in Bjj increases your responsibilities and also increases the target on your back. There is an expectation that you can't always meet for a variety of reasons. No such expectations exist for white belts.

That said, I must stress once again; I find it highly unlikely for a white belt to stuck at that rank for long time if they're submitting upper belts on a regular basis.
 

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