Romulo Barral, the Ultimate Black Belt
Jiu Jitsu, everyone loves it. This article is for all of the Jiu Jitsu practitioners out there. Lots of people, including myself, have talked about what a Black Belt Mentality means. In this article, I will talk about what goes through the mind of a Jiu Jitsu athlete from a white belt all the way to a Black Belt. You see, when you are starting Jiu Jitsu for the first time, you are fascinated with the Black Belts. You like the respect they get. You like the recognition they have. It’s a sort of Black Belt community going on and you hope that one day you’ll get to be a part of it. The problem with most white belts is that they don’t understand the responsibility that comes with being a Black Belt. Most Jiu Jitsu practitioners don’t realize what comes with every belt promotion they receive. Often, especially for White Belts, it’s their ego that wants the promotion and not their skill level. In some cases, your belt promotions might not be in sink with the real progress or the lack thereof. That’s why some athletes lose interest in the sport immediately after getting a promotion (you know who you are). Every stripe/belt/promotion a white belt gets, it’s a step forward to achieve their ultimate goal. When a White Belt get’s a well-deserved promotion, him/her, deep down, knows whether he/she is worthy of that particular promotion. There’s no doubt there, and its noticeable. You might ask, How do I know whether I deserve a promotion or not? You deserve a belt promotion when you don’t “WANT/NEED” a belt promotion. It’s when you don’t practice jiu jitsu to JUST get a promotion. It’s when you practice jiu jitsu just for the love of the sport. It’s when you get a promotion when you least expect it. It’s not about what belt you wear around your waist; it’s about your skill level. It’s about what kind of example you set for yourself and for the lower belts. It’s about being a role model, on and off the mat. It’s about having a Black Belt Mentality even when you are a Blue Belt.
When you’re training with higher belts you need to focus on what you can learn from them. Don’t be afraid to get yourself submitted. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in dangerous/uncomfortable situations. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your growth process. I’m not saying lay down. However, there is fight and there is growth. That’s how you learn. That is how you get better. Not by playing it safe. Practice Jiu Jitsu because you love the sport and not because you need an ego boost. Keep it real. For all the Black Belts out there. When you roll with lower belts, it’s not about who gets a submission. It’s not about smashing the lower belts. It’s not about your ego. It’s about your teaching. It’s about setting an example. It’s about being a great leader. It’s about understanding that it’s no longer about you anymore and it’s about what a Black Belt represents: Pride, Respect, Humility and Honor.