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Blue Belt Blues
The blue belt blues…sounds kind of funny, but it is a real issue that those who train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will run into. There is a sizeable population of those who train in Jiu Jitsu that quit after they receive their blue belts. It is often attributed to the blue belt blues. For those who do not know what the blue belt blues are…they are the frustrations that a blue belt has during training, on his/her way towards purple belt. There are common traits that are apart of those blues. Here are traits and the ways to survive them…
The bad days. One common trait that every blue belt will have, is the feeling of frustration at a bad day at the gym. There will be days where some lower belts will give you hell on the mats during rolling, and will have you questioning your skills. Maybe you couldn’t pull off a certain submission, or your sweep keeps getting countered. Perhaps you event get submitted by a lower rank. Don’t fret. You will have these days, but you just have to reaffirm yourself and know that you have attained your position for a reason. You’re not regressing in your skills, off nights do occur.
You will also have some very good days. How is this part of the blue belt blues? I’ll tell you. There will be days that you are on the mats, beating everyone easily. Perhaps, you even tap a higher belt. This can give you frustration due to the fact that you believe that you are above what your belt looks like. Maybe you feel that you deserve more stripes on your belt, or maybe you even think that you should be a purple. My advice is strive to reach that next level, but do not stress about the color of your belt, or how many stripes is on it. Work on your game, especially the areas that are weak. That is how you will move up.
Another thing you might feel is that your game has become stale. Luckily this is an easy fix. If you feel that your game has became stale, and people know how you work your Jiu Jitsu, this will be the time to experiment with new parts of the game. Do you have a good closed guard, but don’t work on top much? Play with an open guard (like x guard, butterfly, etc) and use it to get on top. As you add new parts of your game to the fundamentals you know, you will feel your game get better.
Sometimes you will feel a lack of motivation. This is still something that can be remedied rather easy. In my own person case of the blue belt blues, I competed as much as I could. Competing gave me a drive in motivation that might have been dim at certain moments. Having tournaments where you know you will be tested against other skilled Jiu Jitsu fighters will spark a fire inside and will give you motivation to train.
The blue belt blues can feel hard to beat at times, but it is something you move on through. As long as you keep on truckin’ on the mat, and advance your skills and mind, you will eventually reach the next level of purple belt. An important thing to remember is that Jiu Jitsu is suppose to be fun. Have fun, learn a lot and you will continue on the Jiu Jitsu journey and do just fine. As Rickson Gracie once said, “flow with the go”.