Sometimes we receive questions/comments that are worthy of exploration. Recently Jiu Jitsu Times received a message from one of our readers expressing frustration over their lack of “progression.”
I’ll share some of my thoughts on this matter, hopefully it helps someone!
For starters, Jiu Jitsu is a service provided to you by someone who has in some capacity been deemed qualified to provide that service (sometimes they’ve fallaciously deemed themselves qualified but that’s a different conversation for a different day.) If you feel you are not receiving the services for which you are paying or that you can receive better services elsewhere you should consider exploring other options.
That said, reading the message I am not sure if the progression that this individual is seeking is in their game or in their belt color/rank. If you are training with an awesome black belt, is your lack of progression your fault or theirs? Do you lack viable training partners? Or are you chasing a belt?
On multiple occasions I’ve explored why the belt as a construct is meaningless. If tomorrow all belts magically turned white and there was no such thing as a “black belt” anymore, people who hold black belts today wouldn’t somehow be downgraded. The belt is simply there to symbolize the hard work that you’ve already done, so if the belt progression is what you are coveting, you’re doing this for the wrong reasons.
As for progress in one’s game: that’s not nearly as trivial. It is possible that the training methods that you choose to use are not progressing your game. I train at a wonderful gym with amazing training partners, there are however people who progress faster than others and at least part of that has to do with what they are doing to better their individual games. Maybe you need to do more chain drills, maybe more flow rolls, maybe more live hard brutal rolling, something is lacking and chances are it’s not something that is under the control of your gym unless there is something there that is blatantly holding you back in which case the black belt is not awesome at all. An awesome black belt will try to find ways to help you grow as an individual but ultimately your growth is your responsibility not theirs.
Have you voiced your concerns? When I’ve had concerns I’ve voiced them, always respectfully but always directly. We pay a lot to train, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are receiving the services for which we pay. If I go to a massage parlor with a backache and the start to give me a foot rub I’ll tell them “No my feet don’t hurt it’s my back.” I won’t let them give me a foot rub and then go complain on Yelp.
I hope these insights help. Loyalty is important in this game, but so is receiving the services for which we pay. Does what I’m saying make sense? We are all in this to grow and better ourselves, our coaches are there to help us do just that. Progress, be successful and be happy!