Stripes! Earned Not Given

Congratulations to Zhouke and CJ! They both received their first stripes as white belts from Head Instructor Steve Wanderer this past week.

In Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, everyone starts off as a white belt, and achieving higher belt levels is notoriously difficult. If you didn’t know, now you know.

Why is advancing belt levels so difficult in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu? Well, first of all, while the principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu are simple to understand and learn, mastering them is something even the legends will say is virtually impossible. Even they always learn something new with each roll.

Advancing belt levels in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu may also be difficult, because after white belt, there are only four belt levels. Until the Black Belt level, each belt level is delineated by four, white stripes at the end of the belt. It takes an average of 10 years for most people to achieve Black Belt, if they ever make it that far.

Head Instructor Steve Wanderer receiving his first stripe as a Black Belt from Professor Chet Quint earlier this year

You’ll notice in the photos below that even our Head Instructor Steve Wanderer has a stripe on his Black Belt. The learning and the challenge never ends.

Advancing in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is something that is personal and unique to each practitioner. Behind the skills that are learned, and tested by one’s instructor, lies the first layer of stories and experiences of survival and acquiring knowledge on the mats. That first layer is built upon a foundation of consistency and dedication; no easy task when, for most of us at Gracie China, we have demanding work schedules, family obligations and the like.

That first stripe as a white belt, the first of many, carries so much weight and importance. Yet, it is simply a milestone, earned.

CJ says his “stealth” white belt keeps him humble.
Zhouke aka The Joker

Congratulations, guys! You earned it!

See you on the mats!