"...How's the knee? You should come to class on Saturday. Andrew is going to be there... Gunna be a good day I think.. "I thought that was a bit weird. I wasn't going to come because my knee was a total mess, but when the instructor says you should come to class; you come to class. We lined up and Micah awarded belts to 7 people (1 purple, 2 brown, and 4 black including myself). I really had no idea. The "Andrew is going to be there" (Drew is a black belt from our school who moved down to Portland recently) Threw me completely off the scent. I figured Brian was getting promoted (he did) and I was just being subtly informed so I could be there for him.
The four of us promoted to black belt range from 6.5 to 9 years on the mats. I could not be more proud to wear my lineage and to share the same promotion date as the other 3 gentlemen. The whole thing is completely surreal. I keep saying it to myself: I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt.
dunning-kruger effect. I joked with Brian who was promoted moments ahead of me "I don't know what Micah is talking about; in my head you and I are still blue belts, and Paul and Ian (long time black belts) are still purple belts."
It's so strange how our self perception fixes in a point where we are most comfortable. I know empirically that I am good on the mats, but I also know all the times my guard gets passed, and all the times I've been tapped. I know all of my weaknesses and will never be satisfied. Maybe I'll never feel like how I think a black belt should. Honestly, I kind of hope I never do.
I have to say, this was never one of my goals. Which is not to say I don't appreciate the honor as bestowed upon me, and also not to say that I did not know that I would continue to train until and well after being awarded my black belt. Your goals should be things you have control over, and belt promotion is far outside of what I can control. That makes it a terrible goal.
Good goals are things like:
Train X number of times per week.
Improve my guard.
Work the Rodolfo pass in sparring every time I train.
Only collar chokes on white and blue belts.
These are goals that I can choose to accomplish. Belt promotions are nebulous and subjective. They are at your instructor's discretion. Conversely if you just train hard, and pay attention, belts will come. If you worry about belts, you end up doing silly stuff that does not improve your jiu jitsu. Train like you've already got a black belt and it will come.
My own insecurities aside, I have been promoted. Now I need to get healthy and train.