Entitlement in Jiu-Jitsu
the fact of having a right to something. “full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered”
synonyms: right, prerogative, claim, title, license;
the amount to which a person has a right. “annual leave entitlement”
synonyms:allowance, allocation, allotment, quota, ration, grant, limit”your annual holiday entitlement”
the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. “no wonder your kids have a sense of entitlement“
When we think about entitlement in Jiu-Jitsu, the first (and really only) topic that comes up is Black Belt entitlement. While this is definitely a real thing, entitlement in Jiu-Jitsu is not only limited to black belts. Everyone can be guilty of this attitude, even at the white belt level. Yes, those of us who are further up the grappling hierarchy absolutely do deserve acknowledgement for the time and effort it took to reach, for example, the brown and black belt. Therefore, yes, they are entitled to certain benefits within BJJ (i.e. standing at the head of the line, choosing their partners first, having others move out of the way when you’re mid-roll with your partner, etc.).
However, some people seem to think that when we outrank them (even if you have stripes on your white belt), it means we outrank them as people in general. This could not be farther from the truth. The same could also be said for people who, outside of the academy and their rank, may hold higher positions in their job or household; which translates to their attitude of entitlement on the mat. Just because they may make $100,000+/year, it does not give anyone the right to feel like they deserve special treatment or privileges on the mat. You’re still going to get choked and submitted no matter who you are.
Another example is when people receive sponsorships from lucrative (or non-lucrative) Jiu-Jitsu companies. Just because they may own a gym or have annoyed their way into a company enough to give them a chance, having a “sponsorship” or being a “brand ambassador” for a company does not make anyone better than anyone else; nor does it entitle them to any more special treatment than what they are getting from the companies they are sponsored by.
Outside of the BJJ realm, what are we entitled to because we are an [insert color here] belt in BJJ?
Nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
In fact, my co-workers could give two sh*ts about me getting a belt promotion or winning a Masters World championship. Does it change the way that I do my job at work? No. Or what if I were the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company and was a purple belt in BJJ… does that give me the right to tell others what to do even if they outrank me on the mat? No.
You are not an [insert color here] belt at everything. Whether it be a black belt, blue belt, purple belt, or brown belt. It’s already bad when black belts have an overwhelming sense of entitlement, but what’s even worse is a lower belt with with one. Stay humble, it’ll take you further a lot faster.