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The Hardest Belt in BJJ for Bernardo Faria
Bernardo Faria is one of the most decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes in history. Having won the World Championships an amazing 5 times, he is considered one of the most important super-heavyweight competitors in history and certainly one of the best of his generation of athletes. But there was a time early on when Bernardo was not certain he would be able to follow the course that training BJJ had begun to lay out for him early on.
It was as a purple belt, that Bernardo's development had reached a tipping point and his course as one of history's most decorated athletes and now much sought after instructor and academy owner was set into motion. It is also coincidentally, the purple belt that Bernardo Faria feels is the most challenging belt of all.
Check out the video below from Bernardo Faria's YouTube channel to get his thoughts and then we'll break down some of the key ideas.
The purple belt is halfway
For Bernardo, the purple belt is midway to the black belt. Although at black belt, for Bernardo, the journey starts again, the purple is the point at which someone's motivation may start to fade. They are in a strange place where they have progressed the furthest from white belt, but still have a long way to go to black belt. The student or athlete may begin to feel like their jiu jitsu is stagnating as they are not seeing or feeling the progress that they may have been making in the past as white and blue belts.
For Bernardo personally, the purple belt was the belt at which he committed to his coach that he wanted to become a world champion and his instructor took him fully at his word. At purple belt, Bernardo won his first world championship and it solidified his confidence and let him know that he had what it took to become a black belt world champion someday, a dream that ultimately would come true. Looking back at this pivotal moment as probably the most important moments in his jiu jitsu career, it was this half way point that became a point of no return for him.
The purple belt is a time of refinement
Generally the purple belt is a time where students begin to hone their game and work to improve the execution of the techniques they know. This can seem much less glamorous than the early days of your BJJ journey when everything seemed fresh and it seems like every class is adding a new move to your repetoire. At purple belt the influx of new techniques begins to slow down and the real work starts which can sometimes be demotivating, because we feel like we're not improving.
So what is the student left to do when they reach their purple belt. The answer for Bernardo is very simple. Don't give up. Keep training. Understand that everyone has thoughts and feelings where they don't think they are getting better or their jiu jitsu game is stagnating. This is normal. By persevering through these periods of supposed plateau you will develop the ability to drive through obstacles and you will most likely see your game take a dramatic leap in time. Who knows, purple belt could go from the hardest belt for you, to the most important belt like it did for Bernardo when he foreshadowed his future success by winning the world championships at purple. The key is never to give up.
One of the submissions that has became essential to Bernardo's success as a competitor was the omoplata. He became known for teaching seminars and afterwards dazzling the audience by catching everyone in omoplatas to demonstrate the power of his teaching and technique. You too can "Omoplata Everyone" by taking advantage of Bernardo's most recent BJJ instructional from BJJ Fanatics, available here!