It’s the seventh and final day of podcast launch week. For those that missed them, here are the other six podcasts:

My goal going forward is to release two new podcasts and a video each week. Any donation you can drop in the tip jar will be greatly appreciated while I’m out of work and spending my time making content for instead of submitting resumes.

But we can worry about logistics later. Right now we’re talking about the desire to earn belt rank–or lack thereof.

Is It OK If You Don’t Care About Earning Belts

Listen to “Is It OK If You Don’t Care About Earning Belts?” on SoundCloud

Here is the original question:

I’ve been training consistently for an embarrassingly long amount of time
to be wearing my current belt rank. My problem however, isn’t that I
somehow can’t get promoted. Rather, it’s that I no longer have any
desire to obtain belts and recognition. I train hard with other challenging
students, I’m always learning, and I still feel my game growing all the

When I first started, my gym gave out belts informally, so you’d just get
promoted by surprise at any given time when the instructor deemed you
ready. This was how I ever got promoted in the first place. Over the past
decade however, my school has grown much larger and belt promotions are now
scheduled affairs that happen only a few times a year at massive
cross-trainings; so if you don’t ever make it to one, like me, you never
get promoted. Admittedly, I wouldn’t look forward to the attention or the
massive belt-whipping gauntlet, but ultimately my absence just comes down
to a lack of desire for the belt itself.

My question to you sir, is whether or not you believe it’s acceptable for
me to transcend the need for this rank progression. I know there are black
belts out there who still train but no longer actively seek to gain rank in
the form of degrees, but perhaps this is different? Do you think this
stance on promotion is disrespectful to my instructor, peers, and/or
founders of the art? I no longer compete, so as not to be an unfairly
sandbagging competitor.

Tell me Aesopian, if I’m still growing as a student and enjoying my
jiu-jitsu journey at least as much as the next guy, am I wrong to hold this
philosophy? Have I somehow left too much of my ego at the door?


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