So you just got promoted?
First of All, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
By the simple act of training you’ve set yourself apart. You’re doing something that 99% of normal people would never do.
Armchair quarterbacks sure talk tough, but when it comes to actually putting it on the line and having skin in the game, well, nobody back-pedals faster.
But that’s not you. You’ve trained, strained, sweated, learned, and maybe even bled to get to your new rank..
Remember that BJJ is essentially designed from the ground up to make you quit.
So good for you for sticking with one of the hardest, ego-crushing activities known to man!
Secondly, How Do You Like the New Bullseye On Your Back?
I’ve always thought that a new belt around your waist should be accompanied by a gigantic bullseye patch that gets pinned to your back, right between your shoulder blades.
All of a sudden everyone – especially the junior belts – are gunning for you.
Let’s say you just got your blue belt…
Every white belt in class wants to tap out a blue belt, and you’re the newest, bluest, and least experienced blue belt around.
Of course they’re going to come gunning for you!1
This is totally normal and should be expected.
Just know that there’ll likely be no such thing as a ‘friendly roll’ for the next little while – they’re all going to be fights to the death until your belt looks a little less brand new.
Don’t worry, it’s a trial by fire, everyone goes through it, and it’ll make you a better grappler quickly!
Third: What Are You Going to Work On Next?
A lot of people feel like they don’t deserve their promotion.They’re worried that they can’t represent the belt.
Well, the best way to represent the belt is to continue to get better. Rise to meet the challenge: just keep on working on your skills and soon enough you’ll be there.
And don’t even worry about getting tapped out by a lower rank.
A black belt is just someone who has tapped out more often than you. And if you don’t get submitted regularly and frequently then it means you’re not experimenting enough.
Finally, consider this: a promotion is a great time to figure out what the holes in your game are and what you want to work on next.
You already know what you need to work on. You know your strengths and weaknesses much better than I do!
Maybe it’s time to get a second reliable guard pass, or set up your takedowns better, or develop a new guard position.
It’s up to you.
Bottom line: if you’re not working on something new, growing and learning then you’re not doing your job!
Congratulate yourself, pat yourself on the shoulder, and wear your new belt at home while cooking and doing chores if it makes you feel good.
But don’t rest on your laurels for too long.
Sooner rather than later you gotta get back on the mat. Take a deep breath and launch yourself back into the grind.