“A black belt is just a white belt that never gave up.” You’ve probably heard some variation of this quote a few times since starting Jiu Jitsu. Maybe your coach reminds you of this lesson after every class, or maybe you saw it on a t-shirt.
Whether you roll your eyes at the cliche or take the meaning to heart, the fundamental truth to success in Jiu Jitsu is showing up on the mats. That’s always easier said than done.
Between work, family, school, and a potential social life, there isn’t always energy or motivation to spare for BJJ. One of the biggest challenges in Jiu Jitsu is being present on the mats; mind and body.
Fortunately, the sacrifices you make are usually rewarded with progress. Consider this your rest stop to replenish your BJJ motivation. Here are a few guidelines and motivational tools you can utilize.
What are your reasons for training Jiu Jitsu?
There are no right or wrong answers. Maybe you started to train for fitness. Perhaps, you just wanted a hobby or a way to meet new and exciting people. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to recognize why you want to pursue Jiu Jitsu in order to know how much of yourself to give.
Attending class three days a week isn’t a bad schedule for someone who just wants a little exercise in their spare time. However, if you’re chasing a world title, you may want to consider raising the frequency.
Constantly reminding yourself of why you train will keep you from beating yourself up if you aren’t progressing like you feel you should. If you are often frustrated at your progress, or lack thereof, that may be an indicator that you want to shift your focus.
Set the right goals
Knowing the “why” of your Jiu Jitsu is only the beginning. As you develop, your desires for the sport may change. These are the moments where you discover the “what” of your Jiu Jitsu. In other words, what the goal for your BJJ journey is.
In my years of training, the most common thing I’ve heard newcomers say is something along the lines of, “Sorry, I suck.”
Oftentimes these students are measuring themselves by the wrong metric. As a result, they talk themselves out of continuing their training. If you compare your game to a seasoned veteran, it might appear like your game is lacking.
Measure your successes by knowing what you want out of Jiu Jitsu instead. While you may not be a world-class competitor, you might be an amazing communicator who is able to relate to everyone on the mat. These could be qualities of a great teacher, which might be a goal you’d be interested in exploring if the competition scene doesn’t pan out for you.
You will have a clearer view of your own progress if you know what goal you’re chasing in Jiu Jitsu. If your goal is to be the best competitor in the world, chase after it. But if you just want to make friends while beating each other up hopefully you can meet that goal! You will hit plenty of walls, but the key is to maintain your course regardless of the obstacles.
Here are a few motivational BJJ quotes
Tape these to the inside of your locker, or stitch them in your gi, but remember to keep them in your heart and mind as you progress through your Jiu Jitsu journey.
“A black belt only covers two inches of your ass – you have to cover the rest.” – Royce Gracie
“Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all I have attained in my life. Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist.” – Carlos Gracie Jr.
“I wasn’t a good student, and even now I never say that I am better than anybody, but I know I love Jiu Jitsu more than anybody. I love the energy and that it gets deeper the more you study.” – Marcelo Garcia
Here are a few motivational BJJ videos
If the quotes don’t do it for you, try some film study. Hopefully, these videos will keep you excited and inspired to train for years to come!
When you first started Jiu Jitsu you were probably told about the benefits of training and how practical of a martial art it is. Once you hit the mats and began your training, maybe the challenge was overwhelming.
It’s normal to feel out of your element as a white belt. The “blue belt blues” hit all of us. Every belt level carries its own challenges and obstacles. What is important is that you maintain your motivation to train in whatever way works for you.