Like a seed “safely” beneath the soil’s surface, the newer practitioner is nourished and grows, unnoticed to outside observers. Academy presence, class instruction and camaraderie, brave live rolling and disciplined sticktoitiveness combine to nurture the seed of BJJ to root and sprout. The team’s balanced watering and sunning of our soil makes the perfect environment to grow in. Our efforts and our team turn us blue and through.

Going too hard on the white belt is the rabbit’s digging up the seed before it sprouts. This usually means the seed is done, no return to the garden, with little to no growth beforehand. These are the white belts that sadly never make it to blue. There ARE however, a very few seeds that survive after being yanked, somehow weather the digestion process and hitch a shit ride back to the soil, either to our original garden or another’s for another go. We’re the true comeback story of white belts that quit, sometimes several times, before finally lasting long enough unharmed to take root and sprout. Everyone loves a comeback story, but they’re rare for a reason. Much better to keep moving forward than to need a comeback.

Similarly, going too easy on a newer seed leaves it unwaterned and unwarmed. With too little teammate stressors and engagement, even with all the self discipline and academy presence in the world, these seeds rot in place and disappear as well, white belted and discouraged. The hardest working bee still needs it’s hive.

The perfect balance of individual work and team effort keeps the white belt safely exploring under the watchful eye and support of the hive to do so. The combo of the team’s watering and sunning warmth with the efforts of the white belt turns the white belt blue.

Continued in part 2…