Getting My Fourth Stripe on My White Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

You’ve come a long way since walking into the gym and signing up for a jujitsu membership.

Just walking through the doors and deciding that this is something you want to dedicate your time to, is a feat unto itself.

A reminder that most people don’t do jujitsu, most people who do join end up, leaving for various reasons, and most people who end up staying for a bit end up quitting at blue belt. At least that’s what they say.

Just over a week ago I got my fourth stripe on my white belt in Brazilian jujitsu. It means a lot more so than the other three stripes.

This fourth stripe I actually feel like I’ve earned it and deserve it. That’s not to say I don’t trust my head instructors judgment, when giving out stripes , I think it has more to do with my lack of self-confidence, when I first started my martial arts journey.

Who knows how long I’ll have my fourth stripe for before I get the coveted blue belt. Then the fun can really start.

How many stripes do you have on your white belt? If you were higher belt, do you remember what it was like having four stripes on your white belt?

Here are some observations about being a four stripe white belt:

Survival

I’ve had enough white belts and blue belts and the rare purple belt tell me I have good defence.

That’s a wonderful compliment at this stage in the my game. That being said, I almost never go for or attempt a submission finish.

The only technique I try for is a head and arm choke from side control or mount.

It works fifty percent of the time. I’ll take it, that’s pretty good for me.

Escapes

With survival usually comes escapes. At least that’s what I’ve experienced. Or you’re saved by the buzzer, which is a white belts best friend.

At this stage in my game as a four stripe white belt, escaping from someone taking my back is getting easier. It’s not easy.

But it’s now not impossible. Escaping from side control is still challenging and I haven’t found my favourite way of escaping that, in no gi it’s a bit easier for some reason.

I still get caught in arm bar and triangles. From white belt to higher belts. I must be doing something wrong.

I think that I tend to put my hands out when passing and lean over too much, what can I say I love putting the pressure on when I pass.

It’s the wrestler in me I guess. Gotta keep them arms in.

Mindset

Why keep showing up in the first place?

I like to say I have a white belt mindset. Always eager to learn, being a newbie in an ever growing and evolving martial art.

I bet even higher belts still have that mindset. There were times I really struggled with wanting a to keep showing up.

But after I got my third stripe I knew I was on the right track. After getting my fourth stripe I can see the blue belt in my sights.

I still have a long way to go to get there but aim not stopping. Not now when I’m so close.

What do I think blue belt is like?

I feel like being a white belt in bjj is the tutorial in a video game. And the real game hasn’t even started yet until blue belt.

My defence will still be a work in progress but it will be harder for whites and blues to submit me. It will happen but not as much. The higher belts will still destroy me, of course.

At blue belt that’s when I will get my attacking and escaping game going. With a tight defence I can feel comfortable and confident in attempting attack techniques and submissions. Maybe something OTHER than a head and arm choke.

Audio Version (with a bit more detail)

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