Purple Belts Quit Because Their Heart Gets Broken


Watching some Chris Haueter videos today, and this stood out to me:

“Blue belts quit because life happens. They get a new job, they move, they get married, whatever it is. Purple belts quit because their heart gets broken – about jits. Somehow… it’s the obstacle belt. It’s the belt where it just doesn’t seem like you’re getting any better…”

There’s a lot of nuggets of wisdom in this video if you start from the beginning. I like his overview of what each belt is about. I disagree with his implication that judo focuses on strength rather than efficiency – sport judo does, but the art of judo doesn’t (judo very much has street, sport, and art components too). Still, overall it’s an excellent video.

To the note of why people quit, I think that’s pretty profound. It’s pretty often that life comes up, gets in the way. You move, you get a new job, you get married, you have a kid. Life is constantly vying for your time. I know I personally have to keep re-evaluating my schedule. How do I get to BJJ and judo enough to progress in each, while still being at home enough to actually see my family? Getting to purple belt takes commitment. By the time you get it, you’ve determined that BJJ is important enough that you’ll make time for it. You’ve probably sacrificed another hobby, hanging out with friends, or even some family events. Training means keeping a schedule.

I’m kind of afraid of having my heart broken. I’ve had a ton of injuries. I remember other times where I desperately cared about the recognition of a rank, or where rank would matter for what I could or couldn’t do. I can’t increase in judo referee rank without getting two more ranks in judo; including learning/performing kata and all the throws of the shodan test, but now having to do so modified for all of my permanent and semi-permanent injuries. Honestly, it’s pretty frustrating. I know that had I delayed the break for the wedding by a couple weeks I’d already by ikkyu rather than nikkyu since so much of it comes down to time in rank. I also know that most of my time away from judo or BJJ has been of my own volition. The clubs have been around – I’ve been the one that’s absent. Still, it’s been awhile since I hit that wall, and I’m pretty sure hitting it after eight years of BJJ would suck so much worse than hitting it after just a couple years.

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