Although my BJJ rank is three-stripe blue, my belt is currently only sporting one stripe, because the other two have fallen off while I was rolling. Last year when my first stripe started to come off, I taped it back on, but when I lost the second one, Mike told me that if I was a good student, then my stripes should fall off, so I just left it. Then after the other one went, I realized that I didn’t really care if my belt didn’t show my true rank, because I know I’m a three-stripe blue belt, and it’s not just that I’m aware The Professor wouldn’t promote me if I didn’t deserve it, but I also know it for myself.
After Professor Greg gave me my third stripe, he informed me that there will be times where I will do everything correct but still fail due to size differences, but being aware of that and actually dealing with the reality are two different things. Sometimes it can be very discouraging, and during king of the mat last night, I complained to Tumbleweed that I could’ve beaten one of the guys if he hadn’t been so big, and he responded “But we know”. The simple truth of that statement really struck me, and both Mike and Greg understand what it’s like to be the smallest people in class, and to lose to someone who isn’t as technically good as you.
I feel like I’ve finally been gaining some confidence in my Jiu-Jitsu skills, because I’ve fully accepted that I do deserve my rank, and the way I’m treated by my instructors at Lincoln BJJ has helped me to see that. I know that Mike wouldn’t partner with me on a regular basis if he didn’t think I was a good student (or at least trying my best), and I know that after Jerad taught the advanced class last night, he wouldn’t have told me that I did a good job if I didn’t. My failures aren’t always a direct reflection of my abilities, and I don’t care if anyone else believes that, because I know it’s true.