Keys to A Successful BJJ Journey
Every jiu-jitsu journey is unique to the practitioner, and over the past 12 years I’ve learned a lot of lessons and absorbed a lot of information. I’ve acquired an invaluable skill set that can never be taken from me, and that can only be acquired through steadfast determination and discipline. But there is so much more to the voyage than the physical skills we obtain.
There are three important principles I’ve observed that have served as guide stones through my own personal voyage. I’ve always come back to them, and they have continued to ring true over the course of my own progression and experiences. Dedication, commitment, and contribution. I often stop and think of each word on its own and ask myself, “Am I still upholding these principles to the best of my ability, and how?”.
We all have our own philosophies and creeds that we follow and subscribe to, but these particular ideals have assisted me in navigating myself all the way to black belt, and I will keep it with me always.
To achieve a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it’s quite obvious that you’ll have to dedicate a large amount of time to learning and to your progression. The amount of time it takes will vary from person to person, as we all have our own unique sets of circumstances. If you train multiple hours a day, you’ll probably see a black belt tied on your waist faster than most. Maybe you discovered BJJ a little later in life and you have a family and a career that needs lots of attention, making your training consistent, but less frequent. In any case, your dedication must still be unwavering. Whether you train twice a week or twice a day, you have still made jiu-jitsu a fixture in your life, and on that, there is no compromise.
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Dedicating yourself to a craft that takes years to master is no easy feat. I’ve always heard and read about the 10,000-hour rule. This is a concept that tells us it takes around 10,000 hours to achieve an expert level at a particular skill. I believe this is a number that can be trusted. Do the math.
Over the course of your 10,000 hours and beyond, you will experience setbacks, life changes, career changes, possibly even tragedy. What separates the black belt is the will and strength to keep moving forward in the face of any diversity. As one of my dearest friends says, “Its ok to slow down, you just can’t stop”.
We are all brought up by our teams. We were taken in, cared for, taught, integrated, and treated as one of the family. This is because of the commitment we all have to our academy, training partners, and Professors. Our environment is important to all of us, and we work diligently to maintain and constantly improve it. When this is the norm, the culture inside the academy will flourish.
We are committed to the cause. We continually build each other up, support each other, and enrich each other’s lives. We uphold the rules of the academy, help when we can, support events and seminars, and we provide friendly faces to new students as they walk in the door. We commit ourselves to being an important part of the machine for the benefit of the academy as a whole.
Never forget what your very fist day was like, and who helped guide you. Over the course of your journey to black belt, you may help foster dozens of new students and be an integral part of the goals they will achieve. This is a responsibility that you should take great pride in. One of the most important quotes I’ve ever heard is by Kenneth Blanchard. It says, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you only do it when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” Are you interested in being a part of a great academy or are you committed to making your academy great?
Jiu-jitsu gives us a lot. What are we giving back? The pioneers of BJJ sacrificed so much to further the art. They were willing to put themselves at risk to spread the word of something they truly believed in. Be a good ambassador for jiu-jitsu. A black belt should be a person of honor and integrity. Promote jiu-jitsu. Speak of its power, and represent it with class, and control.
Have you ever seen the t-shirt that says, “Jiu-jitsu saved my life”? Jiu-jitsu has saved 1000’s of lives by being what it is. That’s a powerful thing. And the more people that know about it, the better.
Support tournaments, buy instructionals, go to seminars, share the memes, purchase products from BJJ based companies. Display your love for the art proudly anywhere you go. Everyone loves BJJ, but not everyone knows it yet.
Jiu-jitsu has enriched my life in a myriad of ways. I continuously look for ways to give back, as I feel without jiu-jitsu in my own life, things would have been much different for me. I don’t feel ill ever be fully able to repay my debt to BJJ, but I will continue to do my best.
We are a part of something very special. Something that you only understand if you train. My BJJ family means everything to me, and I sacrifice as much as is necessary to serve them in the best possible way that I can. Try to keep these things in mind as you progress through the ranks and see if they serve you as the same beacons, they’ve been for me. Always keep moving forward, and good luck!
The Road To Black Belt And Beyond By Tom DeBlass is the most recent DeBlass instructional. It is Unlike ANY other instructional available. DeBlass dives into what it takes to have a Black Belt Level Mindset! Revolutionize your game by having a rock solid Mindset!