The Goal of Jiu Jitsu Black Belt

Written by Ryan Berry

Having goals, knowing what they are, and writing those goals down is a very powerful thing.  There are long-term, mid-, and short-term goals, and all are very important to our advancement as human beings.  A goal must be written down and have accountability, otherwise it is just a wish that will likely never be fulfilled.  People’s goals can be private for them, and no goal is a waste of time, as long as the pursuit and fulfillment of it is important to them.  On the other hand, goals can be made very public, in order to create accountability or to solicit assistance and encouragement from those around us, who are interested in our success. 


I have many goals, short, medium, and long-term, that I have written down and revert back to them often.  They are works in progress, and it is important to keep them at the forefront of the mind and make decisions based on the advancement of achieving what is really important to me, which are my goals.  In business school (which I just completed last fall, one goal marked off the list as completed) they taught us a system, or a checklist so to speak, of how to most efficiently write and pursue a goal, with the highest success rate of achievement.  The system, which most of us have probably heard of yet never actually tried, is called S.M.A.R.T. goals, being an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  Since I have begun training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Marcello Monteiro in Indianapolis, I have a new goal to add to the list.  Let’s use my new goal pertaining to advancement in Jiu-Jitsu as a template and work through this S.M.A.R.T. goal system.


I once heard Marcello say, at his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, that “he doesn’t want to make me a blue belt he wants to make me a black belt.”  I have liked him ever since, and that was our first meeting.  In the sales business, my colleagues and I have a similar phrase.  “I don’t get all dressed up for nothing.”  I want to be a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Now, looking at the S.M.A.R.T. system, is that specific enough?  Well, it’s better than saying “I want to improve at Jiu-Jitsu” or “I want to be tough as nails.”  In general, however, that phrase is not specific enough, but we will get back to that. 


How will this goal be measured?  Pretty simply, by attaining a black belt I will have achieved the goal.  But, more importantly, my progress up through the ranks: the different levels, different belts, stripes on belts, success in competition, etc. can all keep me accountable and measure my progress.  So the goal is measureable. 


Is it attainable?  Not in my current state, but there is an underlying assumption that as I train, advance, and work toward this goal that I will develop into the physical and mental shape needed to achieve and hold the rank of black belt.  I am relatively healthy right now, so though there are no guarantees and it will not be easy, we should say at this point that this is attainable for me.


Realistically, am I willing to put in the work that it takes for this goal?  Black belt is a very lofty goal.  I won’t make it if I go at it half-heartedly.  It is a lifestyle.  However, with that being said, it is a healthy lifestyle that appeals to me.  At this point, realistically speaking, I think the goal is safe to pursue. 


Finally, I must assign a timeframe.  A timeframe keeps you accountable and starts the mental countdown toward the goal, increasing success rate through sense of urgency.  If there were no deadlines, very few things would ever get done.  I would like to have this highly coveted achievement by the time I am 40 years old.  That is 3,439 days from today.  Another way to put it is 9 years and 5 months from today.  Now I have a deadline.  Remember, these goals are works in progress, I could get it earlier than that, or I may have to re-evaluate sometime and push that deadline back.  But, at least I have something concrete.  I would also like to gain this achievement from Marcello Monteiro, due to the integrity of his brand and the importance of lineage in this sport.


I, Ryan Berry, will achieve the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Master Marcello Monteiro within the next 3,439 days.  Now we have something specific, and all criteria are met.  I wish you luck in all of your goals, and thank you for visiting our Indianapolis Jiu Jitsu Academy website

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