So, how do I gain promotions? That is a popular question asked by most students beginning in martial arts. A question like that presented to instructors of traditional martial arts like Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, and American Karate can receive a direct answer and even feedback as to when they can expect to receive promotions. The same question presented to an instructor of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu may get an indirect answer with a lot of questions presented to the student.
Most martial arts are known for using a systematic and formalized approach to belt rank progression while Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is known for using a [social][/social][einset][/einset]loose framework and, sometimes, subjective approach to belt promotion. It is fair to say that most martial arts use a universal system to promoting their students. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is quite the opposite. Some BJJ teams even have a different focus as to how they teach their students and evaluate their progress with sport BJJ being the main focus of some instructors while self-defense is a priority of others.
Many jiu-jitsu instructors are conservative when promoting their students. Because of this unique evaluation of BJJ competitors the journey to the black belt is a long one. Yes, there are stories of notable fighters like Roberto Traven and Mike Fowler who received their black belts in 4 years or less, but the opposite is usually true. There are many black belts that trained for 10-15 years before they received the coveted belt. [bjj][/bjj]
So, why is that? Why is it that it takes so long to gain promotions? Why is it that so many instructors vary on their evaluation procedures? Why is there not a universal system and time frame? This series will attempt to address some of these questions and more.