_ To most that train BJJ, it is oftentimes more than a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. Of those that train, nearly all strive to someday achieve the level of Black Belt. The idea of the Black Belt demonstrates that a practitioner has reached a superior level in his or her respective art. Years of sweat are poured and countless hours are spent on the mats to achieve this belt. So often we often spend so much time training, thinking about the latest techniques, strength and conditioning programs and anything else that will take our skill to the next level that we lose sight of what we do to our relationship with others. In writing this post, I would like to try and convey the concept that although a Black Belt is a sign of excellence, this idea should be carried off the mats and outside of the gym as well.

                     Inside of the Gym/On the mats:

1.)    Be a good training partner- By allowing your partner to train in an injury and ego free environment you give them a greater opportunity to improve their skills.

2.)    Support your Gym/Academy- By doing this all members may feel more like a team/family. Also most gyms should be somewhat of a support system for their students, so why not give back and do the same for your gym? This can be in the form of attending gym events, competitions, or just helping out with cleaning.

                     Outside of the Gym/ Off the mats:

1.)    Be relevant to your family- Depending on situation of course, be grateful to the people that brought you into this world and if you have your own family, be relevant in their lives. Don’t be the person that can’t spend time with their loved ones because their too busy training.

2.)    Be a role model- be a person that others can look up to, not because you do Jiu Jitsu and people are afraid of you, be someone that everyone can respect. We always hear the question “What would you want to hear people say behind your back?” well I would hope that everyone would like to hear good things.

3.)    Volunteer- Get out of your comfort zone and do things in the community. Not only would you be helping your own community and possibly a good cause, studies have shown that volunteering may also increase years in life J

What sparked this idea was actually a Facebook post by University of Jiu Jitsu and their Silver Star patch.

The meaning of a Silver Star for Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu:

“The Silver Star is the highest decoration award from the Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Association. You can achieve it by showing great competition skills, by being a role model student, supporting in projects, being a RJJ representative School or giving extraordinary contribution to the Jiu Jitsu World.
_In conclusion, regardless of what ranking you are, strive to be a black belt on AND off the mat.

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