Why I Love Blue Belts

Hey you. Yeah, you, mademoiselle or monsieur blue belt. I see you, and all of your cerulean magnificence.

I see you being awesome, in your sapphire splendour. You are an indigo inspiration, my friend. I just wanted to say thanks, from the bottom of my white belt heart. There's something about a friend in a blue belt that I really appreciate. 

Blue belts are the ones who, in my experience, have been the happiest to help a struggling white belt. It was a blue belt who first had the patience to explain slowly what it means to shrimp, and made me feel like I had just successfully climbed Mount Everest when I got the movement right. It was a blue belt who didn't think it was a stupid or annoying question when I asked if there is a difference between an americana and a kimura. It was a blue belt who saw me accidentally show up to a gi class without a gi and convinced me to join in anyway. A day with jiu jitsu is better than a day without jiu jitsu, he said. You're already here, you might as well train. 

To this day, it is the blue belts who are intentional about checking in and asking how training is going. It is the blue belts who feel the most comfortable in sharing with me their own continuing struggles in jiu jitsu. Not that an upper belt wouldn't share if I asked, but the blue belts I've been around tend to be more than happy to give you something to relate to. They want to see you fall in love with it as much as they have. They're far enough along that they have tons of value to impart to us white belts, but they're still new enough in their journey that feeling completely disoriented and struggling for air in the giant sea of jiu jitsu isn't a foreign concept to them. It's always been a blue belt who has been the first to extend a hand and help me onto the lifeboat. It's always been a blue belt who has smiled and said hi, and who doesn't seem disgusted when they have to be paired with the white belt chick who has no idea what she's doing.  

Blue belts are the ones I've seen happily jump into the fundamentals class full of white belts when someone needed a partner. Blue belts are the ones it's easier to believe when they tell you to just keep at it and you'll eventually get the hang of it. Not because upper belts don't say it or don't mean it, but because often you've seen the blue as a white before their promotion, or there is simply a more visceral understanding that your skill level is closer in proximity to theirs than any other belt's. 

It is a noble honor to inspire and be there for others. It is an irresistible necessity to have empathy; to understand the situations and the reasons for the actions of others.
— Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Blue belts, don't think we don't notice how fantastic you are to us white belts. For those of you blues who take the saying, 'Adopt a White Belt' seriously, thank you. I don't yet know if purples adopt blues, or if browns adopt purples, but I know that you are more needed than you might realize. 'Adopt a White Belt' might be presented like a joke, but I submit to you that it is not. You are in a unique position to impact the journey of a white belt. We look up to you, so please take seriously the idea that you can make someone's day by how you treat them at jiu jitsu. Some days I hate jiu jitsu, and the Blues save me every time. 

We're keeping our eye out for you, Blues. Us white belts need you. The hue of your belt is a marker of approachability, respectability and possibility. Wear it as such!