Becoming a blue belt is exciting. Particularly in the sense that you know and your teammates know the significance of it when it happens: it’s your level up. Blue belts are theorised to be one of the hardest belts to get out of all the belts, despite being one of the first levels up. It’s the belt that moves you from amateur to intermediate, where you start from nothing, with sometimes little idea of whether you are really improving—and then BAM, the blue belt shines its way to light. But with great power, comes a need for some new understanding. Namely: to know the common myths spread around becoming a blue belt in jiu jitsu.
IF THE WHITE BELTS BEAT YOU, YOUR BELT WILL BE TAKEN
Whether or not this has been mostly just word of mouth between higher-level jiu jitsu goers, this is certainly a thought that brings a lot of unnecessary embarrassment and egotism to the mats. Particularly if you’ve been attending class long enough, surfing the local competition stands, and so on, you would know that there will always be lower-level belts overtaking higher-level belts. It just happens sometimes. Be it one person’s strength overtakes another’s technique or vice versa. Sometimes you even get endearingly termed ‘freak’ white belts giving high-level blue belts a run for their money. You losing against a lower-level belt does not mean your coach is going to suddenly appear behind you while shaking their head and take away your blue belt. You would never have been given it in the first place if they thought you didn’t deserve it.
YOU WILL BE AMAZING AND NEVER STRUGGLE AGAIN
If only life were simple. One of your greatest assets in practicing BJJ is your humility. Carry it with you constantly like a shiny new gi and remember every time you stuff up that it’s part of the learning process. It will never be smooth sailing. And, if it is, it’s because you’re only choosing only newbies to roll against (you shark!). Things will never be easy in jiu jitsu—not if you’re applying yourself to be better. It’s all about taking the time to enjoy the struggle.
IT TAKES NO MORE THAN TWO YEARS TO GET YOUR BLUE BELT
Yah—no. Everyone succeeds differently! Some might race ahead to their blue belt, others may not have the time, athleticism or energy to propel themselves ahead as fast. Some might just take longer because that’s who they are. The idea that you can’t take any more than a set amount of time to earn your blues is a defeatist view for many that can ultimately see once-keen jiu jitsu-goers losing interest in pursuing BJJ. Your belt might help to symbolise a stepping stone in your journey, but it is not, ultimately, what it’s all about.
EVERYTHING STAYS THE SAME
No. Your belt might just be a piece of coloured cloth you wrap around your waist, but it certainly does come with its advantages and disadvantages. While you won’t suffer the same heat as a higher belt, you will find yourself targeted more on the mats, more so by white belts eager to earn their stripes against a higher rank. Becoming a blue belt at Kaizen also opens you up to the opportunity of taking advanced classes, which provide higher-level training to those who’ve surpassed the white belt level.