The Jiujitsu belt ranking system was hard for me to understand in the beginning. There were no real set times, dates, or a specific set of moves for me to know in order to proceed to the next level. Coming from a traditional Martial Arts background (KARATE/Taekwondo) there was always a certain set of moves, katas, and time frame that came with ranking up. One thing I found out first hand in Jiujitsu in Humble Texas, Receiving your next rank is earned not bought or given easily.
I started training in 2000. It wasn't until 2009-2010 I received my Blackbelt. When I started training, I never really thought about my next rank or stripe or what I needed to do to get there. Alvis always instilled in all his students a since of humility. There is always one or two guys that might get upset or question theirs or others rank. For me, Jiujitsu has always been fun. It was and is a game. I have never really thought of it as fighting as I did when I trained Karate. I guess because there is no kicking and punching. Don't get me wrong, I feel that through Jiujitsu, I am more capable of defending myself today than I ever was strictly training stand up.
I have personally seen guys go from white to black in under 6 years of training. The thing about that is, they have what we didn't have at the time, a skilled abundance of students and coaches to push them along. Training has improved. Techniques have improved. The amount of students training in Jiujitsu has increased. All of these are factors in how fast or slow you may or may not progress in Jiujitsu.
At my academy (DAVIS MARTIAL ARTS) as it was previously, your rank is based on a skill set. If you put in the time, effort, and retain the knowledge given by our instructors, your rank will come. I personally take roll each and every class. The more classes you attend has a drastic affect on your rank. The more mat time you put in, naturally the higher your performance and ability to apply techniques. Working the new techniques into your existing game, the willingness to adjust and grow, not sticking with "WHAT WORKS FOR YOU" is a HUGE part of how I judge a students growth. Trainability, coachability, helping and instructing fellow students. All of this plays into a student ranking up.
I have seen and heard of guys jumping from school to school chasing rank. "This guy was holding me back"??? Things like this, I feel, are bad for the sport and for the art itself. If your instructor doesn't feel your ready, then take alook at why. Not just jump to conclusions, leave, and then tell the next place yeah I am a purple belt when in reality your a blue. I tell my guys to ask why or why not. They are free to consult me at any time.
I explain to all my new students, Jiujitsu, like most things in life, is a constant work in progress. Its a marathon. Not a sprint. There is no magical wand to wave to help speed up the process. Its all on the student. Of course the instructor and instruction is key as well. If you get to the point where you don't feel your learning anything or growing, its not always the instruction or instructor. You get out what you put in.
From white to blue is an average of 1 1/2-2 years. Blue to purple 2-3 years. Purple to brown is about the same give or take. But, keep in mind its about the knowledge. At Humble Jiujitsu, just because you have been here 2 years as a whitebelt, you may not have put in the mat time to move up in rank. You need to train.
On the flip side of that, I have seen guys that just get it!! They move up the ladder faster. They put in the time, train the techniques and apply them in training. So, naturally these guys rank up quicker. PUT IN THE WORK!!!!
Receiving my Blackbelt was one of the best days of my life. I felt a great since of pride and accomplishment. I finally got there. Then a took a look back, thought for a moment about what it really meant, and realized it was just the beginning.
Blackbelt or whitebelt, always be open to learn, train, and grow. There is always room for improvement. My journey may have started 16 years ago, but the path I am on has no end.
DAVIS MARTIAL ARTS ACADEMY
PRACTICE MAKE PERMANENT
Owner and head instructor of Davis Martial Arts Academy in Humble Texas