With more and more Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) gyms sprouting up, it’s more important now than ever to ensure complete integrity throughout the community.
Some gyms grade from time on the mat, some from skill level and curriculum and some do a bit of both and grade on merit, like Base Training Centre does. Grading on merit for the most part means that people will be graded when they are ready based on the coach’s recommendation. No grading days, no paying for grading and students will not know when they are going to rank up. It could be 6 months or it could be 2 years between gradings. This all depends on a few factors.
Time on the mat and skill
It’s no secret that to progress in BJJ you have to be skillful enough to receive the next ranking and to gain those necessary skills you have to put in the time on the mat. That being said, training eight times a week isn’t for everyone and your coaches understand that. Therefore, consistency is key! If you can only make class twice a week, then come to those classes every week all year, whilst your progression may be slower you will still progress! All it takes is time and commitment.
At a lot of gyms, community and treating others correctly also comes into your gradings. Be the nice guy in the gym! Make every effort to be respectful to not only your coaches and teammates but absolutely everyone and you’ll find yourself progressing a lot faster in BJJ. If you are an asshole on the mats, in the gym or even outside the gym then your coaches may choose to hold back your grading until you mature.
Listening to your coach
This is the big one. If you listen to your coach you will progress faster. Your coach is ultimately the one who decides to grade you, so if you ask what you can work on and they say your half guard needs some work, work on it! Have faith in your coach and trust the process, you will get there eventually.
Grading based on merit allows for truly good people to rank up and become higher belts. This is crucial because those higher belts are going to be teaching the next generation of grapplers, and there the cycle continues. This sport is as much about creating good, respectful, confident people as it is about being physically healthy.
We hope this has helped quell some of those ‘not ranking up’ blues. Don’t worry about the destination, focus on the journey and you’ll find yourself there in no time.