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Some BJJ news caught my attention.

Here’s the headline of the Jits Magazine article I read:

“IBJJF Refuse To Recognise Enson Inoue As A Black Belt”

Enson Inoue is a legendary veteran MMA fighter from Hawaii.

He has Japanese roots and spent many years living in Japan as well.

Also, he’s one of the pioneers of BJJ in Japan. People started asking Enson to teach BJJ in the early-mid ’90s, because he was a BJJ blue or purple belt under Relson Gracie at that time (I think), which was still rare in Japan… or anywhere outside of Brazil and the major US cities.

I started training around 2002 in Australia. My first coach was a blue belt.

So, being a colored belt meant a lot more in those days than today.

If you are a white, blue, or even purple belt, and have access to brown/black belt coaches/training partners… you’re in a way better environment than those who started practicing BJJ in the ’90s or early 2000s.

Anyway, I digress.

Enson Inoue got his black belt awarded by John Lewis, who received his black belt from André Pederneiras of Nova União.

So, it’s not like Enson came out of nowhere and started wearing a BJJ black belt.

This news caught my attention because Enson Inoue awarded a black belt to my coach Tatsuya Onose in 2005.

My coach is certified as a 3rd degree black belt under IBJJF. Although… he might have someone else as his black belt giver on paper. I don’t know.

But I feel it’s a funny situation to be in.

I’m a BJJ black belt certified by IBJJF… and I received it from my coach, who is recognized by IBJFF as a 3rd degree black belt…

… and now IBJJF doesn’t recognize Enson Inoue as a BJJ black belt.

I don’t care so much about this whole belt thing. It is important to some extent, but it’s not the most important thing.

BJJ belts and stripes can give you a sense of where you’re at in your journey for sure.

But they are only signposts.

When you’re on your BJJ journey (or any journey), it’s better to focus on making progress and enjoying that process…

… rather than constantly worrying about whether you’ve arrived at a certain signpost.

So, if you’re always inclined to ask, “Why am I not an X belt yet?” more than anything else…

Ask yourself instead… “How can I improve my skills today, even if it’s a tiny bit?”

If you keep asking this question and working on it, you will eventually reach your next level.

Enjoy the ride.