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Why only a small number of practitioners make it to BJJ black belt?

According to google only 2% of practitioners make it to black belt in bjj and the average time to get it is 8-12 years. That’s a small amount of people who get it and a long time to spend on the mats.

After talking yesterday to one on the purple belts in the gym I though I share my thoughts about why only a few people make it to black belt. Guy in his 20’s, 4 years a purple belt of which 2.5 years he spent injured. A lot of people would just give up, not him, he is stubborn, he loves bjj and I admire him for that.

He is still there doing whatever he can to train, lifting and a little bit of rolling. I am 100% sure he will be in that 2% group and he will and is a great example for a lot of people with his work ethic. Imagine if there would be more people like him, with that kind of attitude towards life and sport.

I started bjj in 2010, from people who started around the same time as I had, there is only 3 of us who made it to black belt. At this stage, after 13 years in the same club I saw 100’s of people come and go, some stayed longer, some for only a short period.

Looking at the guys who made it that far and talking to them it takes a special kind of person to stick to bjj for so many years, same with other martial arts I guess, as long as its not some BS where belts are just handed over for attendance.

A lot of the guys who made it that far had surgeries, a lot of us got/get hurt during sparring session, we train even if we don’t feel like it, we train injured (do as I say, not as I do 😉 )we lift weights to get the bodies stronger for all the punishment, we are challenging ourselves, we are not afraid to lose, we are willing to learn, we look after our health, some of us progress slower, some faster, sometimes life gets in the way but we still grinding away, we are not waiting for the mythical motivation to train, we just go and train.

All this can be and is a pain in the ass, and a lot of people don’t want that pain, they prefer the easy way. If it would be easy everybody would do it. I have a t shirt that says – Nothing worth Having is gained easily and that’s 100% the truth in life/sport. You have to earn it with sweat, pain and sometimes blood.

Being injured for 2.5 years is a big pain in the ass, getting surgeries in the mean time is a big pain in the ass, doing physio, seeing your friends improve, you lagging a little bit behind is a pain, getting your conditionong back is a pain. What will make this guy a great black belt is exactly the pain he is going throug, he will be more understaning towards his students, he will be emphatetic, he will be able to help others to improve. Usualy the best people go through tough times to become gret examples for others.

The recipe to a black belt is simple, not easy.

It is simple to be healthy, eat well, go for walks, lift weights, move, get good quality sleep.

It is simple to get that black belt in bjj, show up in the gym and train, there will be a lot of pain involved, mental and physical, a lot of time will be needed, you probably will want to give up a few times before that, I know I wanted to give up bjj but I stuck to it, what else am I going to do? Watch crap online all the time? I’d rather get the crap beaten out of me on the mats 😉.

The time will pass anyway, you may do something with it.

Everyone knows that they should be doing those simple things, a lot of people don’t because it’s a pain in the ass, it’s easier to sit on the couch.

This is what makes us different. We love it, maybe not always but we are stubborn, we love each others company, we love the challenges, it’s a big part of our lives and we are not stopping any time soon.

That just my two cents on that topic.

PS. stop pulling guard, learn some takedowns ;D

All the best


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