One of the first questions prospective members ask is “Do y’all do belt tests?”
The short and simple answer is: NO.
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is much, much different than other forms of martial arts. In most aspects, it’s not even comparable. Yes, other martial arts can teach you discipline, respect, loyalty, and dedication, but in terms of applicability and pureness, nothing compares. There is not another martial art on the planet as pure as Jiu Jitsu. It’s you vs your opponent. It’s your skill set put to the test against someone else’ skill set. If your skill set is lacking, it will be exposed by you having to tap out to the more experienced and skilled practitioner. The mats do not lie and there is no way around it. You either put in the time and dedication it takes to get better and improve or you get passed up by those who do. This is why the art of Jiu Jitsu is so pure; it’s a true testament to your consistency, work ethic, and willingness to learn and evolve as a martial artist and human being.
We promote our students on the basis of consistency, skill development, and time commitment. If you do not put forth the time and effort it takes to get better and move up the ranks, forget about getting promoted. There’s no technical “standard” associated with Jiu Jitsu simply because others have different approaches and skill sets. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has their own unique arsenal that works for them. Some are stronger than others, some are faster than others, some are slower than others, and some simply have the physical AND mental advantage over others. Those who do will more than likely get promoted quicker than those who don’t. It’s not special treatment or favoritism, it’s just how things work. With that said, if you are not a LOYAL member who is consistent with their training efforts, you WILL NOT be promoted. Regardless of your physicality and natural ability, if you don’t put in the same amount of time, effort, and sacrifice as the others do…..you better be content with staying where you are rank wise. It’s nothing personal, but there are certain criteria you must meet in order to be eligible for promotion. You must attend class regularly. You must train regularly. You must be respectful, willing to learn, and remain humble win or lose. You must continually strive to help those around you and positively influence other students.
If you put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded. Jiu Jitsu is much more than just being the best in the gym and beating your training partners everytime you roll. Talent and natural ability will take you a long way, but you must be persistent with your training efforts in order for us to promote you to the next rank. It’s just how it goes.
If I tell you that you must learn “X, Y, and Z” in order to get promoted, but “X, Y, and Z” does not work for you and your bodytype, abilities, and preferences…..what is the point in you learning and trying to perfect those techniques? If they don’t work for you, they just don’t work for you. Me telling you that you MUST learn them is just silly.
Individuality plays a HUGE role in Jiu Jitsu. What works for me, may not work for you. That’s perfectly okay. There are a few basic movements and techniques that everyone should know, but past that…..it’s up to you how you want to approach your Jiu Jitsu game. That’s what makes Jiu Jitsu so unique compared to other forms of martial arts.
Being a world champion and winning every competition known to man is AWESOME, but, it’s just a small part of the journey and at the end of the day, what matters most is your consistency, willingness to learn, and respect to others.
Belt tests are fine and dandy if you believe in technical “standards” – but in Jiu Jitsu, there is no “standard” approach that works for everyone and it’s your job through trial and error to find what works well for you. If I roll with you and see that you are applying techniques the correct way, moving the correct way, and understand the basic concepts of Jiu Jitsu i.e. pressure, angles, leverage, etc…. Then you are more than eligible for promotion given that your attendance and consistency match your technical abilities.
We firmly believe that promotions should be given on an individual basis with all of the different variables from above taken into consideration. We can not reiterate the importance of CONSISTENCY enough. You don’t have to know 1,000 different techniques to be eligible for promotion, but you must show perfected, technical efficiency and put forth the time and hours it takes.
The average number of years to earn a blackbelt is 7-15 years, and for very good reason. Less than 1% of those who start Jiu Jitsu will ever receive a blackbelt, again, for very good reason. If you’re wanting to join Jiu Jitsu for the sole purpose of becoming a black belt, you WILL NOT last very long. It’s not easy and the road is long and hard. It’s grueling. It is a true test of your character.
Every day is a test day!