Generally, the longer time to reach each rank the better the value particularly in the case of BJJ. I am not saying ranks should be held back in every case but consideration should be given as to why grades need that extra time. This is to make sure you really earn that belt. Experienced Instructors know it all too well that a Black Belt is only as good as the system or the Teacher who gives it. Each rank symbolizes a certain mental and skill level. Many of us do martial arts for the enjoyment of training, not for the belts. If tomorrow, I was promoted to the next belt in BJJ, then what? If anything, I have a bit of worrying to do because I have to live up to it. I usually like to share the same philosophy when grading my students in Karate and which sometimes may be difficult to understand. If that's hard to take then try BJJ which takes 3 years to get Blue. That's equivalent to getting a Brown in our karate system. Thankfully, those who get their Black Belt in our Karate system, understand the reasoning.
I've had a number of enquiries from people asking me what belt could they wear, based on previous skill, if they joined our school. I always say, ‘White’. You should hear the stutters in their voices! (Oh, well, that’s another potential student lost and probably don’t need).
It's quite gratifying to hear other Instructors talking about our school's grading reputation (particularly, the Black Belt). I like Mr John Will's belt philosophy, 'you must be that belt before you get that belt'! It's also about the enjoying the time leading to the grade compared to that short moment of enjoyment of being give the grade. Belts to me are only good if the Instructor who gives them really means it.
I spent the whole Saturday with Mr Will doing seminars. The seminars were great and he raised some interesting points about time and grade. The one thing about John is he respects the person not necessarily the rank. Shihan Richard Norton has a similar view – SHOW US WHAT YOU CAN DO.