Purple Belt Perspective

My back hurts like hell. More specifically, my lower back has been spasming. I can stretch it out well enough to still roll, but it makes certain positions and transitions just about impossible. Bridging, for example, is out. This has forced me to play a different game and has given me a really different perspective.

Given a large enough skill gap you expect the senior ranking person to be able to tap the other person more or less at will. They should be able to pick a submission and get themselves into a position to apply that submission – maybe using other submissions as ploys for transitioning, but ultimately finishing with the one they said they would. At least, that’s how I thought before. As a purple belt, of course I should be tapping white and blue belts with what I chose to work on.

With a spasming back, the skill gap takes on a whole new perspective. No longer is it tapping them, but being able to dictate positions where I am comfortable. Even injured, I can defend well enough against a good blue belt to prevent them from tapping me, and get into a position where I can escape whatever bad place a lack of athleticism has put me in. That really shouldn’t be mind blowing. I mean, it’s pretty much what I do when faced with a big white belt who used to wrestle and rolls more aggressively than I like – let them spend a ton of energy, then get out of wherever we ended up and eventually take the submission – but it feels so much different when it’s not a choice.

When turning it up to 11 isn’t an option, and the fact that skill can still play such a massive role is just mind blowing. Even if I’m not hanging with competition purple belts, this is one of the first moments where I’ve felt like I really am a purple belt, no questions asked.