Are colored belts the worst thing to happen to martial arts?
Grapplearts Founder Stephan Kesting thinks so. Belts can not only become an obsession for people (“Why didn’t I get my blue belt? I almost tapped out a blue belt!”) but they put a huge target on your back. When you get ranked up to blue belt, all of the white belts want to tap you. When you get your purple, all of the white belts and blue belts want to tap you.
Furthermore, if you focus on your belt, you might quit after you get your belt. Why shouldn’t you? You’ve achieved your goals, haven’t you? You set out to be a BJJ black belt. Now you have it, so why not just quit?
That’s not to say Stephan doesn’t understand the purpose of belts. They not only give you a sense of external validation for your accomplishments, but they give your instructor an idea of what you should know.
But belts are simply to be wrapped around the waist, not for us to be wrapped up in.
Stop obsessing over that next rank. Instead, continue learning as much as you can and recognize that martial arts are a lifelong journey, not a destination.