Just about every martial arts student would like to earn a Black Belt one day. Is it because they like the colour or is it because what the colour represents? If most of us will pick the latter answer then why is that an increasing number of Martial Arts Instructors seem to be lowering the bar which reduces the value of the Black Belt? There is an important lesson to be learnt from the way BJJ students are graded. BJJ grades are not easy to get and wearing the same colour for a long time, might not appeal to most people. It takes about 3 years to get the first grade (Blue Belt) then another 7 or 8 to get Black (if you ever make it that far). In most Karate systems it takes about 4 years to get Black. If a student is dedicated and persistent there is no doubt they will eventually succeed. Whilst there may be martial arts styles/schools lowering the standard, I’d like to keep the bar up high enough, in our school, so there is an incentive for the student to train to the highest level they can reach. The students who drop out may have never really wanted it. I was recently talking to John Will, our QC of BJJ*, that I hope Instructors don’t ever lower the bar in BJJ. I’d rather work hard and wear each grade with pride. I believe this approach will ensure everyone will really appreciate the meaning of a Black Belt. Chief Instructors of all martial arts schools have the responsibility to maintain quality control for this to happen. I hope our students share my philosophy.
Don't worry, we will help you get over the bar!