I believe everything grows and is destined to change in this world.
Last night I got too sit back and enjoy the growth of my teammates as many of them took their jiu-jitsu to the next level! I am a two-stripe white belt, so getting a new belt is something I have yet to experience personally. Nonetheless I have grown to thoroughly enjoy these amazing humans and the progress that they have worked so hard to obtain. Jiu-jitsu is not an easy thing to do. So, having your professor at the school honor you by wrapping that fresh belt around your waste is something I could see in my teammates last night that is well worth the hard work and wait.
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None of us are perfect in the art or perfect in our day to day lives for that matter. But it is the progress we all strive for! The sense of accomplishment and the feeling of purpose. The idea that you are important somewhere and that you are worth something.
This belt promotion night really put into perspective to me what it means to work hard for something and know you earned it. The school I practice at does not just give stripes away to get you your next belt. When you advance in this craft you WILL know something and you will have worked hard to obtain it. I believe this is something extremely important for you to be offered as a student.
So, the night begins… After a fundamentals Gi class and a kid’s class many who showed up a bit early had the privilege of acknowledging and showing gratitude toward multiple kids ages 8-14 receive new belts. Some yellow belts with white stripes in them and a solid yellow belt! I help coach some of the kid’s classes, so seeing how hard they work and the joy they have while doing it made watching them move forward that much better.
They were proud of themselves and full of smiles as the adults and their parents applauded, as they stepped up to our head black belt to receive their tokens of hard work. One thing I really love about the program with the kids at our school is that it is not all about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the art and sport. Things like leadership patches and goals set for them at home and with their academics are implemented. Goals such as some household chores, listening to their parents, getting good grades in school, being a good classmate and teammate are some of the things these kids are to try their best to shoot for! Pretty amazing if you ask me.
As the kids fizzle out and the rest of the adult students make their way in for the promotion night, we enjoy each others company for a few minutes before everything begins. All of the professors in black gi’s and the students required to where a white gi or blue gi.
We are gathered together to start. We line up according to rank. We almost wrapped around the whole building. The energy was so high, it was incredible. Our professor made a comment that it was the biggest belt promotion night the school has ever had, and I was able to join in the excitement. Super grateful. We had a long list of white belts turning blue belts and also blue belts turning purple. I felt almost more excited than they did. I could not WAIT to see how happy everyone receiving a new belt was going to be!
With the professors lined up facing us and our three black belts standing in front of them, our owner of the school and head black belt steps forward to change his first belt of the night from white to blue. He called his name and the student received a huge round of applause.
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Our professor gives everyone there his outlook on the person receiving the belt and talks about things they have been through to get to where they are today. Compliments on top of compliments with maybe a joke or two thrown in there. After he says what he has to say he puts their new belt on. One of our other black belts gets their old belt, snaps it behind their necks and lays it down gently. Immediately following, starting with our head professor, they each make a comment and apply a cross choke.
Kind of like a knight being dubbed in with a sword in medieval times. They tap out and we all give our applause again. This experience is so cool and uplifting. Student by student we made our way through. There were some tears, a lot of laughs and one million smiles.
We all got to see the school’s first actual student receive his purple belt. A white belt that has been through the ringer receive his blue belt. And the first ever female to receive her purple belt at the school. Every single person that was honored with a new belt has worked through their own struggles and through their own obstacles/adversity to be in a position to obtain what they did this night.
I have truly grown to love the place I now call a second home and family. To see everyone, honor and appreciate their teammates the way they did just keeps everyone that much closer. Being able to show praise to someone else for something they have done and it not be about you was more than a humbling experience. I cannot WAIT for the next one!
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