The Philosophy Behind the Black Belt

Ivan

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Today, after a BJJ class, my fourth ever so far, the main black belt gathered around all of the people who trained with me for a sort of group-talk session. You will find out why this is relevant in a minute, bear with me, as I first want to say that I believe the reason and the philosophy behind belt gradings, and black belts is something that we all, as students of martial arts should discuss.

The coach stated that everyone in life must have a purpose or goal for which to guide them towards the rigth path - he said that in BJJ, the same applies to all its beginners (this was a beginner's class so it was me and all the other newbies, and a brown belt), and we must have something to stride for too. He asked, "what do you think that is?".

One guy said "confidence".
Another said "to be better".
I said "strength".
He approved all of those and claimed they were good answers. Then he took off his black belt and tossed it down on the ground before everyone, all of us surrounding him in a semi-circle in front of him, the belt in the middle.

"That".

When I realised what he was saying, I had never felt this type of indecision before. On one hand, the moment that word left his mouth I whole-heartedly agreed. But a few seconds I was sceptical, I simply didn't know, and don't know what to think.

"Everyone in BJJ, must have a goal, and for most of us, this is it".
"There is no greater feeling than knowing you are good at Jiujitsu, it is like a state of total euphoria. It makes you better, stronger, and more confident. You could have inordinate amounts of money, be a movie star, or be completely broke and down on bad luck. But this,", he held the belt in the air, "is going to give you the belief and the knowledge that you've achieved something in your life. There is no greater meaning".

He then took the belt and threw it behind him, where it was out of sight.

"But without something to stride for, you're left with nothing. You don't know where to go, you don't know how to improve, you don't know how to get better. You all have a long way to go before you reach it, but we look at all of you as potential black belts".

Now please keep in mind I haven't been able to quote him with 100% accuracy, but this is the gist of what he said. In one of my previous posts, I stated that the BJJ gym I have enrolled in, has a bad reputation and the same black belt who I am quoting, did so too. However, he has honestly impressed me with the way that he coaches the class regardless of the pandemic, and how passionate he is. He sometimes comes off as a bit over-zealous, but he is a genuinely friendly guy as far as I can tell, and his students who helped him in the classes did too. As of now, I quite liked his take on the meaning behind the belt, and I wanted you guys to hear, well, read, his words and let me know what you thought.
 

KOKarate

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Oooookkkaaaaayyyy see what you mean about that cult type thing....seems weird to me talking like that.
 

jobo

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Today, after a BJJ class, my fourth ever so far, the main black belt gathered around all of the people who trained with me for a sort of group-talk session. You will find out why this is relevant in a minute, bear with me, as I first want to say that I believe the reason and the philosophy behind belt gradings, and black belts is something that we all, as students of martial arts should discuss.

The coach stated that everyone in life must have a purpose or goal for which to guide them towards the rigth path - he said that in BJJ, the same applies to all its beginners (this was a beginner's class so it was me and all the other newbies, and a brown belt), and we must have something to stride for too. He asked, "what do you think that is?".

One guy said "confidence".
Another said "to be better".
I said "strength".
He approved all of those and claimed they were good answers. Then he took off his black belt and tossed it down on the ground before everyone, all of us surrounding him in a semi-circle in front of him, the belt in the middle.

"That".

When I realised what he was saying, I had never felt this type of indecision before. On one hand, the moment that word left his mouth I whole-heartedly agreed. But a few seconds I was sceptical, I simply didn't know, and don't know what to think.

"Everyone in BJJ, must have a goal, and for most of us, this is it".
"There is no greater feeling than knowing you are good at Jiujitsu, it is like a state of total euphoria. It makes you better, stronger, and more confident. You could have inordinate amounts of money, be a movie star, or be completely broke and down on bad luck. But this,", he held the belt in the air, "is going to give you the belief and the knowledge that you've achieved something in your life. There is no greater meaning".

He then took the belt and threw it behind him, where it was out of sight.

"But without something to stride for, you're left with nothing. You don't know where to go, you don't know how to improve, you don't know how to get better. You all have a long way to go before you reach it, but we look at all of you as potential black belts".

Now please keep in mind I haven't been able to quote him with 100% accuracy, but this is the gist of what he said. In one of my previous posts, I stated that the BJJ gym I have enrolled in, has a bad reputation and the same black belt who I am quoting, did so too. However, he has honestly impressed me with the way that he coaches the class regardless of the pandemic, and how passionate he is. He sometimes comes off as a bit over-zealous, but he is a genuinely friendly guy as far as I can tell, and his students who helped him in the classes did too. As of now, I quite liked his take on the meaning behind the belt, and I wanted you guys to hear, well, read, his words and let me know what you thought.
yes mate, it helps in life if you have a goal or two,

however if the essance of your existance is defined by havibg a blackbelt, then you probebly need to think about getting some perspective in your life,
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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Oooookkkaaaaayyyy see what you mean about that cult type thing....seems weird to me talking like that.
I only wrote those quotes out in a formal fashion to better convey the point. It was a much more relaxed conversation I promise :wideyed:
 

KOKarate

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yes mate, it helps in life if you have a goal or two,

however if the essance of your existance is defined by havibg a blackbelt, then you probebly need to think about getting some perspective in your life,
Yeah I’ll take the infinite amount of money that the guy offered over a black belt any day of the week
 

Bee Brian

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A black belt means different things for different people.

One time, there was a journalist who was interviewing the NOW Mike Tyson in his house. They went to a certain area where all his great championship belts were displayed. You know what Mike said about them after the journalist praised them saying they are "history"? Mike said "worthless. Junk. All of them. Your priorities change and eventually, at some point, the only thing you care about are the happiness of your kids."

And yet, for young athletes, a belt or a trophy or a medal is everything to them.
 

Buka

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To me, what he's talking about is the knowledge and ability you'll have as a BJJ Black Belt - because getting there in BJJ ain't no walk in the park.

And I couldn't agree with him more.
 

jobo

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To me, what he's talking about is the knowledge and ability you'll have as a BJJ Black Belt - because getting there in BJJ ain't no walk in the park.

And I couldn't agree with him more.
yea, i can see that, homeless guy wraps himself in a bin bag, crawls into his cardboard box all ready turning to mush by the frseibg rain,

thinks im glad i turned that law degree down to concentrate on geting my bjj blackbelt, its really given my life meaning

happens all the time, im sure
 

skribs

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"There is no greater feeling than knowing you are good at Jiujitsu, it is like a state of total euphoria. It makes you better, stronger, and more confident. You could have inordinate amounts of money, be a movie star, or be completely broke and down on bad luck. But this,", he held the belt in the air, "is going to give you the belief and the knowledge that you've achieved something in your life. There is no greater meaning".

This is a very self-centered view of the world. Many of those things are also goals. Many of those things require hard work or talent. There are many things you can achieve that make you realize what you've achieved. There are different things with bigger meaning. For most people with kids, it's their kids.

It's nice to have goals. But this "a black belt in BJJ is the only goal that matters" is a bit nuts to me.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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yea, i can see that, homeless guy wraps himself in a bin bag, crawls into his cardboard box all ready turning to mush by the frseibg rain,

thinks im glad i turned that law degree down to concentrate on geting my bjj blackbelt, its really given my life meaning

happens all the time, im sure
I think you're misinterpreting a bit. The BJJ black belt is supposed to be a metaphor for anything. It could be your own personal goals or whatever - it's just that to people who are passionate about BJJ, that "anything" could be the belt.
 

jobo

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I think you're misinterpreting a bit. The BJJ black belt is supposed to be a metaphor for anything. It could be your own personal goals or whatever - it's just that to people who are passionate about BJJ, that "anything" could be the belt.
well there are many many thing more important, consider maslows hierarchy of needs bjj black belts are right at the bottom, unless you can monetise, the belt much as you can say a law degree, so that it provibmfedms you with food and shelter etal.

if it do4snt then your " passion" to the exckusion of all else is an elevator cto the bottom

the problem, you will find as you progress your life is people will try to install their life choices on to you.

if the onky thing they have achieved that they can be proud of, is a black velt, then they will try to sell that to you to repeat the same mistake, ive seen the same with lits of different hobbies

rich, i didnt want to be rich ive got a blackbelt, far more important, bull,&&&,
.the guys a complete looser ir a conman
 
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Bee Brian

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I think you're misinterpreting a bit. The BJJ black belt is supposed to be a metaphor for anything. It could be your own personal goals or whatever - it's just that to people who are passionate about BJJ, that "anything" could be the belt.

This proves my belief that every human being on the planet is a philosopher to a degree.
 

Graywalker

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I believe, that the lesson in getting a BB, is understanding the importance of focusing on the smaller goals, and not so much in the ultimate goal. Although getting a BB can be the ultimate goal for some people, focusing on the short term goals and perfecting the individual steps towards that goal, is rewarding in itself. The ultimate goal, in what ever it is that you pursue, will come eventually.
 

isshinryuronin

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So that was the "pep talk" the instructor gave the beginner class. Sounds good for wide-eyed white belts who are oozing with enthusiasm and dreaming of attaining a black belt (a worthy goal and truly great achievement in BJJ.)

But I doubt that would be something he would say to those who have already braved the road and gotten their black belt.
Those people would have a completely different perspective. For them, a black belt would not be the Holy Grail, although something they'd be rightly proud of, a goal achieved. And being achieved, their eyes would be turned to future development of their skills, a journey seldom completed.
 

Flying Crane

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"There is no greater feeling than knowing you are good at Jiujitsu, it is like a state of total euphoria. It makes you better, stronger, and more confident. You could have inordinate amounts of money, be a movie star, or be completely broke and down on bad luck. But this,", he held the belt in the air, "is going to give you the belief and the knowledge that you've achieved something in your life. There is no greater meaning".
Yawn.
 

dvcochran

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It is very hard to gauge the conversation 2nd hand from someone who was receiving it. That said, I imagine there was a good amount of personality involved in how the talk was expressed. It was motivational speaking. I feel isshinryuronin said it best; people at the beginning of the journey are going to hear it very different from those that have been through the fire.
What matters is how You heard it and what you do with it going forward.
Starting is an accomplishment for some. Finishing is an accomplishment for few.
 

Hanzou

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Maybe this is off topic, but as I climbed the ranks in Bjj, I wanted to become a black belt less and less. I have no issue with remaining a purple or brown belt in Bjj until the day I die.
 
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