Monday, February 17, 2020

The Fear with Becoming a Blue Belt

Moving up from a white belt to blue belt has been one of the most fun, exciting times in my Jiu Jitsu journey. But soon after, insecurities started creeping in. Did I really deserve this? Do my teammates think I deserved this? Is there a target on my back now? 

I’ve spent the last two years as a light feather weight, master 2, female, white belt. I had every excuse to struggle with bigger opponents. Get submitted by someone new? Oh well. Struggle learning a new move?  It happens. Then, I received my blue belt, and I felt this pressure  (imaginary or not) to be better, and I didn’t want it to steal the joy Jiu jitsu has given me. So how do you make the transition with excitement and a growth mindset instead of fear? 

  1. Trust your coach. It’s not your job to decide whether you deserve a promotion. Someone else with more experience than you gets to make that call. Your job is simply to show up and put in the work. You’re at this gym for a reason. Do you trust your professor or head instructor? If so, believe that he or she sees you as a blue belt. This person promoted you for a reason. Your gym and instructors want to be represented in a positive light. You earned this. Be careful if you have a tendency toward negative self talk. Don’t listen to the lies. You deserve this. 
  2. Realize that people aren’t thinking or talking about you as much as you probably think. Sure. You may be the talk of the gym the day you get your new belt, but people’s lives are busy and their attention spans are short. If they are saying negative things, it’s because they’re dealing with their own stuff. People have their own hang ups and insecurities that can be placed on us. Don’t accept that baggage. It’s not yours to carry. Your success doesn’t equal their failure. Move on and focus on your own progress. 
  3. You now need to step up your game...but maybe not in the ways you might think. The step up your Jiu Jitsu game will come in time like it has from the beginning. Whether you like it or not, you’re now a leader to a segment of people in your gym. How’s your attitude? Are you complaining in front of newer members? Are you setting a good example for others? Are you showing up consistently? Now is the time to push through a difficult roll instead of giving up. Now is the time to have the courage to try new things and learn how to deal with being in uncomfortable positions. 
  4. You should roll out of a place of continued growth and learning and not fear of being submitted. I get it. None of us want to be the blue belt submitted by a white belt, but if that becomes our new goal in Jiu jitsu, we’re going to become another statistic about practitioners quitting at blue belt. If you’re submitted, your job is to learn from and demonstrate to others how to take it graciously and how to keep going because chances are they’ll be in the same situation someday.
  5. Enjoy it. This is what you’ve worked so hard for. Now is your time to take the basics and dive deeper into the art. Explore new facets of the sport. Try new things, push yourself, and have fun

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