One way of defining the value of a thing is in relation to what you had to do to obtain it. By that definition, a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu is extremely valuable. It is not easy to obtain. There are no shortcuts, and it’s a hard process. You’ll really have to work for it. It may be the most meaningful achievement you ever reach.

The sense of accomplishment people get from training in BJJ is multi-faceted, but one major aspect is that you’ve really learned to protect yourself. What you have learned are real-world skills, and you’ve tested it again and again against people who are fighting back. There’s a confidence that comes from that, a real sense of having acquired something very valuable.

Furthermore, the sense of accomplishment people get from BJJ training is directly proportional to how much hard work they have put in. BJJ training is hard, there’s just no way around it. It’s physically demanding. It pushes you to your limits. It’s sweaty and hot and often uncomfortable. You will accumulate bumps and bruises, just like in any other sport.

Even more difficult for many is the psychological frustration. There are many movements that are hard to understand how to do, and harder still to get your body to actually do. There are the repeated mistakes that will frazzle you. Then there’s the feeling of not being able to do something you used to be able to do. Missed opportunities, bad timing, and so on. The feeling of getting completely dominated by a training partner, or simply not understanding what you’re doing wrong. All these happen for all of us, and will happen more than once.

This may sound like I’m trying to talk you out of BJJ. Not at all. What I am indicating is exactly how hard you have to work to progress in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and correspondingly, how much of a sense of accomplishment you will feel, based on your training. Even if you never make it to black belt, you’ll still feel like you achieved something powerful, worthwhile, and real. That does not happen nearly enough for most of us.

 

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