BJJ Black Belt

So I was awarded my BJJ Black Belt a week ago and being such a monumental milestone I have been meaning to take the time to write some words of thanks and reflection but haven’t had much time due to wrapping up work for the year and preparing to head overseas. So I’ve got a few hours left before flying out so now’s my chance…

To say I was surprised to have been awarded my black belt that night is an understatement. I personally didn’t think I was ready as in my head there was so much that I wanted to work on and perfect. Having planned the year ahead with competitions and travel for training and outlining somewhat of a path of what I wanted to do before getting my black belt – so didn’t think I was ready. But like most of my life I’ve always been one to keep working on things, trying to improve wherever possible, striving for perfection and never settling on where I’m at. And if that’s how I naturally am then I don’t think I would ever have been “ready” for a black belt.

Many black belts say when they receive their belts, this is the real start of things. New things. Might not be the same start as when we were white belts, but it’s the start of a new journey of being a black belt. And it’s not only just about skills, but also exuding the qualities of someone holding a black belt. Leading by example. Passing on knowledge. Kicking off the journeys of others on this road. Representing the BJJ lifestyle. And as new as a black belt as one can get, now is the start on the path for me of what it takes to be a very good black belt. And in time, I’ll strive to be the high quality of black belt that I want to be. I’m not there now, of course. I don’t pretend to be. But by being awarded this black belt by my coach, whom I respect very highly, and who believes I have the potential of being a high quality black belt one day – just like he believed in me years ago when he thought I could one day actually reach the level of black belt itself – and along with my peers it shows a belief in me that I can do this.

It’s like getting a promotion at work for a more senior position that you don’t feel qualified for but your boss thinks you’d do a great job. That’s the belief. And in time with you putting on a new hat and with on-the-job experience, perseverance and hard work, you end up slotting into that role nicely. We don’t always have to be 100% ready for anything. If we were always ideally qualified at something when we got there, then there wouldn’t be as much drive or motivation to excel once we did get there. It’s like there always needs to be that hunger or drive for us to evolve and get to where we need to be. So in a way we should never be “ready” in anything we set upon. That feeling of the unknown and unreadiness is what keeps us alert and on top of things. It stops us from being complacent. It makes us give 100% and put in the hard work because we’re still trying to get somewhere we feel we’re not. It stops us from being static and that’s how we progress in our training – and in life really. If we really want something, no matter how imperfect it may feel at the start, hard work and dedication can get us there. 

And I take that lesson with me in life. I was probably never ready for anything in life. But it made me fight, work hard and get through things. It made me stronger and more resilient. It made things much more worth it. It improved me as a person. There’s so many life lessons that BJJ has taught me that I could go on and write a book about, but maybe I’ll leave that for another time… But in general, there’s so many things that BJJ has done to make me better as a person on and off the mats. And those of you who are on this BJJ path will understand and agree with me on that point. So with BJJ being such a massive part of my life and probably who I am, this is probably one of the proudest things in my life to have achieved. There has literally been a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved and so many ups and so many downs. But regardless of the negatives and down times it taught me not to give up in the face of adversity. When things got hard and there were signs around me trying to convince me that this was not meant to be, it made me push through it. And so it was definitely.. most definitely all worth it.

So in wrapping up, I would like to thank my Coach/Instructor/Mentor/Friend,  Luke Pezzutti who probably doesn’t get as much recognition as he should and is an amazing person and black belt himself. Not only is he an awesome teacher but has always had my back (no pun intended) and guided me in more ways than just on the mats. Many thanks also to everyone at Lion’s Den who I have trained with, rolled with, drilled with, conversed with, regardless of what color your belt is – you have all had some contribution to my growth and learning in training and as a person. And that goes to literally anyone who I’ve crossed paths with over the years in training and competition.

And now… this is where everything really begins…

balck belt

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