Belt Purgatory

Tonight, after rolling, we got to talking about someone I saw at a tournament that was probably in “belt purgatory.” By that we meant this guy had been stuck at purple so long that his purple belt looked like a white belt.

I said I thought I was going to be in blue purgatory, then purple purgatory and then brown purgatory.  As I thought about that on the drive home, I thought how purgatory described how I often feel right now.  I’m stuck in between two worlds. The white belt world and the world of the other blue belts I see.  I often feel like I earned not being a white belt anymore, but at times, I still feel like I haven’t quite earned a blue. I’m stuck in limbo.

The more I thought about that the more I had to challenge myself with what I was thinking. Each belt is a progression. I’m sure there are things that every blue should know/do and every purple should know/do, etc.  But someone that just got his blue belt today is going to have huge gaps from what someone that might get their purple tomorrow, and yet their both blue.

While there are definitely times I still feel like I’m in limbo (beyond white, not yet blue) I also realize that I’ve grown. Even tonight, while I was getting dominated in a sparring match I realized two things:

  1. HAD to stay off my back while in bottom half-guard and/or side control
  2. I was in a position I could not shrimp from (My feet were up, not on the ground.)

As I thought about that I realized that most likely, a year ago, I wouldn’t have realized that while rolling. Now, did I fix it? Sort of, I didn’t get flattened out, but I also didn’t shrimp away.  But I think even seeing that stuff is growth.

One other area of growth that I realize I’ve seen over the last couple months is being able to ask a question.  It hit me recently when an instructor was asking the class what questions we had.  We ran out of time before he got to me, but I actually had a question!  When I was a white belt and the instructors would ask what I was struggling with, I would never know what to say.

So in reality, I’m probably not in purgatory or limbo between belts. But it sure feels that way sometimes.