If you've been training BJJ for any length of time, you undoubtedly have heard that it can take upwards of 8 to 10 years to get your black belt. I, myself, am still on this journey.
Many men and women are shocked to hear that it can take 8 to 10 years because, compared to karate or other mainstream martial arts, where you can achieve black belt status in 3 to 4 years, a black belt in BJJ is a grind.
But let’s take a step back and think about what a black belt is. A black belt is someone who most would consider a master. He or she has spent 1000’s upon 1000’s of hours practicing their trade. They know the art inside and out. Sure there are prodigies just like with anything else, but those are few and far between.
So let’s compare a BJJ black belt to other sports professionals.
The average NFL player, upon being drafted straight out of college, has been playing football since the age of 7. If they are drafted at the age of 22 into the NFL, which would be the equivalent to a black belt, that is 15 years of hard-core practice.
The average baseball player who makes it to the big leagues started playing t-ball when he or she was 5. If they enter the big leagues at 22 years old, that is 17 years of hard-core practice.
Now let’s look at corporate mastery.
Most CEO’s started out in the mailroom 25 years ago. They are only now becoming the masters of the corporate world. It took him or her 25 years of learning, refining, and promoting through the corporate ranks to achieve mastery.
What about the military?
If you were on the “fast track” it would take you 22 years to become a general in the army.
So the idea that 8 or so years to get your black belt in BJJ is somehow long, is ludicrous. When compared to other sports or the corporate world or the military, it’s actually pretty short.
So take your time… truly become a master at the art of BJJ. Enjoy every phase of the journey. BJJ changes lives from white belt to black. So it’s no rush. If you are steadfast, the black belt will come and you can look back on the journey and smile.