Jiu Jitsu is one of the most grueling sports/martial arts one can participate in. On average it can take over 10 years to earn the rank of Black Belt. Other martial arts you are able to earn a Black Belt in 3 to 5 years and quite possibly never test yourself in competition. The stats are stacked against the Jiu Jitsu practitioner reaching Black Belt in the first place, with only 3% (1 in 300) of all people who start staying the path long enough. What make it so difficult? Why do more people not stick with it? What can you do to make sure you reach the highest level?
We have all heard the saying that “Jiu Jitsu is for everyone”. This is a very true statement but should be followed up with “Not everyone is for Jiu Jitsu”. What does this mean? It means that everyone is capable of showing up, putting in the work and learning at their own pace. On the opposite side it means that not everyone is willing to endure the hard training, overcoming injury or not willing to make sacrifices in their daily life.
Why does it take so long to get a black belt? The average person can only train 2 or 3 times per week, this is the number one reason why it can take so long. The more time you spend on the mat, the faster you will potentially be promoted. Every student learns differently, while some will be able to comprehend the technique the first time, others will not. Some compete where others do not, if a student is consistently wining tournaments then they could be promoted faster. At the end of the day it is up to the instructor, but consistency is the key.
How can you ensure you will make it to Black Belt; It’s simple, don’t quit. Work, family and injures can sideline us all from time to time. The most important thing is to stay consistent. The student that attends once a week for a month will progress more than the student who attends only once a month. Start small and work to eventually make it 3 times a week. It isn’t easy and some sacrifices will be made.
In 2016 Frank Curreri gave a Ted Talk where he spoke in detail why people tend to give up on Jiu Jitsu. Frank Curreri is a second-degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and three-time IBJJF Masters World Champion who believes that no sport builds children or adults better than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He learned this first hand being from the inner city of Baltimore that facing adversity builds mentally stronger people. Click the link below to hear his speech of how Jiu Jitsu has changed his life.