The BJJ Black Belt: Responsibility (Part 1)

The BJJ black belt is accomplished through a rare dedication to one’s trade; achieved through persistence, commitment and discipline to having stuck it out. The rank of a black belt comes with the well-known status, honor, and respect. But it also comes with responsibility.

In the next two blog posts, we will cover particular areas of responsibility for BJJ black belts, as well as all BJJ practitioners.

Growth Mindset: Our Jiu-Jitsu journey isn’t completed upon earning a black belt. We are called to be continual learners. In other words, we are not to become stagnant in our learning process. Just as we are not to plateau in our BJJ journey, we are also not to plateau spiritually. Assuming a position of constant curiosity, passion, and an openness to receive new information from all angles fuels us toward increased knowledge, wisdom, and character.

Thus, it is not exalting learning just for the sake of learning, but to apply what we have learned in order to build ourselves and others up. Putting the principles into practical application ultimately solidifies what we’ve learned and then becomes the foundation of the next step as we progress to higher ground.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14
Responsibility to teach: The rank of BJJ black belt is not one to be taken lightly and certainly not to be an abuse of power. While it is the responsibility of all BJJ students to help one another progress in their Jiu-Jitsu journey, it is the marked obligation of a black belt to be both a BJJ practitioner and a teacher, whether or not they are formally recognized as such.
We stand on the shoulders of each prior generation. As an interconnected body, one student’s success is everyone’s success (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). While each “student is not above his teacher”, it is a high achievement for a teacher to see his disciples do “even great works” than he has personally (see Luke 6:40/Matthew 10:24 and John 14:12). We must be deliberate to use our giftings to pass on the knowledge and insights we have gained in order to propel others forward. For, as another comes up higher, we all achieve more. – Whether it is by directly gleaning from our teammate’s knowledge and insight during class, or through being challenged on the mat by a more seasoned opponent through healthy competition, iron sharpens iron. We will find along this path that that we achieve more both individually and collectively than we ever thought we would have been capable of.
 Teachers of the word of God are considered worthy of double honor. – 1 Timothy 5:17
Part 2 continues this blog post but covering the BJJ black belt’s responsibility to model character and excellence.

  • Written by Amy Passos

About Amy Passos

Amy is the Director of Operations for Team Passos Jiu Jitsu. She is a believer and witness that Jesus performs miracles and uses jiu-jitsu as a tool to change lives. Amy has a background in organizational development and international economic development. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and business as a way to advance human flourishing. She believes that the most beautiful thing in life is someone enjoying the work of their hands while pursuing their passions to realize their purpose and potential. Amy enjoys cycling, strength training, traveling and exploring life.

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