London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Watch out for the “Green Belt Phase.”

My original instructor, Soke Billy Fenner (7th Dan) used to have a saying. 

“If you don’t start a fight and someone attacks you, whatever happens to him is his fault.”

He would then go on to say “You also don’t want things to escalate, so you must make sure that every time he coughs or turns over in his sleep he thinks of you! That way he’ll never come back.” 

Very tough words as you might expect from a tough Liverpool docker. He had been running his own Dojo from 1958 and was already well into his sixties when I first joined his club in 1983. His technique was superb however and he always had the utmost respect from all of his students. I would have loved to have seen him when he was younger! I totally agree with his first comment and I think circumstances must play a part in whether you apply the second. What constitutes starting a fight though? Just because you don’t throw the first punch doesn’t mean you haven’t started or contributed to starting the fight. 

This brings me to what I call the “Green Belt Phase”. I was guilty of this and I’ve seen it many times over the years. When you get to green belt or thereabouts, i.e. roughly half way between novice and black, you’re generally getting reasonably proficient at your art. You’re a long way from being an expert of course but maybe not experienced enough to know how far. The temptation is to be aggressive if even a minor confrontation or slight occurs. This is because the student wants to put into practice what he (or she) has learned. The she is in brackets because it’s generally a male issue. You may want to prove to yourself or to the world how good you’ve become. There are times when you may fantasise about some great victory similar to some scene in a movie. The problem is that real life and real fights are not like a movie. Remember that being good at a martial art doesn’t mean that you will win a fight; it just means that you have a better chance of winning than you did before you trained. So many things can and will go wrong. There are people out there who have never been trained but are naturally good scrappers. There may be more people to fight than you bargained for. If you miss one block a good punch may end result in your defeat. Weapons may appear out of nowhere. And you may well not be as good as you think you are! The main thing to remember is that fighting is dangerous and the consequences can be severe! My advice is to avoid being aggressive if you can. When you are really are good, you won’t feel as though you have to prove it!


One Response to “London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Watch out for the “Green Belt Phase.””

  1. chrisrlacy Says:

    Reblogged this on Thoughts of a Martial Arts Teacher.

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