When practitioners start BJJ they usually don’t really begin to envision themselves being a black belt – at least not at the very beginning of their training. It’s usually at purple belt that people know that they have committed themselves - they are just hooked at that point. But the journey from purple to black is still usually a very long one, and most people, especially non-competitors, try to not rush their training in order to gain belts. This attitude is completely understandable because if you’re not training full time, it will take a while to get the next belt. However, there are some reasons why someone should put a little more effort into eventually getting their black belt sooner.
1. Compete at black belt at your physical peak.
At some point in someone’s training, they must wonder how it would feel to compete at the worlds at black belt. The black belt adult division is the absolute apex of jiu-jitsu where most of the competitors are in their twenties. Even if you are not a serious competitor, being able to compete in the adult division at this age level could be an experience that you will value for the rest of your life - that you were able to compete against some of the fittest and most agile athletes in the world. But in order to achieve this, depending on when you started BJJ, you have to train harder than expected. Many practitioners like to say “I’ll get my belt when I’m ready” but it’s worth it to try to be ready as soon as possible. Focus on your game, make every class count and don’t take time off. The sooner you get your black belt, the sooner you can test yourself in your twenties, when you’re are your peak.
2. Have the ability to open a gym sooner.
Unfortunately in BJJ, there are not too many forms of compensation for practitioners that dedicate their full time to the sport. The best athletes, like world champions, have the opportunity to scoop-up sponsors and superfights, but that is a small percentage of the serious competitors or full-time teachers out there. So for the others, the options to make a living are usually either opening an academy, working for an academy, teaching privates or group classes, and/or conducting seminars. You don’t have to be famous to get hired for seminars, but realistically, you do need a black belt, and you should be a skillful and knowledgeable one as well. So if you want to work with BJJ full time, it will help to have your belts as soon as possible.
3. You can focus more on the fancy techniques you’ve always wanted to do.
Often I hear professors complain about beginners that continually request to learn fancy techniques before actually mastering their basics. But having a black belt shows that you have achieved a mastery of the bare-bone basics of jiu-jitsu. Metaphorically speaking, you have finally baked your cake and you’ve earned the right to smear on some of the icing. So while still maintaining your strong understanding of the basics, at black belt you can really start to develop all the fancy techniques you want while still being able to kick butt with the fundamental techniques you have developed over time.