Everything batman730 said, plus here’s my $0.02 from a 5 month student who feels like I might have gotten my stripe a little too soon.
No, I wouldn’t care at all. A stripe on your belt doesn’t change what you know or what you’re able to do.
I got my first stripe a little after four months. The criteria in my school boils down to demonstrating a desire to stick with it (consistency) and putting technique into practice during live rolling. Pretty vague and subjective. I’ll take the stripe and I appreciate the recognition from my instructor. Great, thanks. I still suck, now let’s continue with the learning process.
I train with a brown belt from another school with objective requirements for each stripe. There’s a test and you need to demonstrate proficiency to be awarded the stripe. I don’t think it matters so much how you do during rolling day-to-day, you just need to pass the test. You still need to roll to pass through the ranks, just not necessarily for your white belt stripes.
What both of these have in common is that getting a stripe doesn’t actually change anything about you. Its just a piece of tape on my belt I got at the end of one class, and it is not how I’ve been measuring my progress. I measure that by how I perform during live rolling and how my body of knowledge is growing, my awareness of what’s taking place during a roll.
I was like most new students, getting mauled by everyone, even people 100 pounds lighter than me with colorful belts around their waists.
Then I started going 5 minutes and only getting tapped once. Or twice.
Then I started going 5 minutes without getting tapped. Maybe make an escape or thwart one of my training partners’ escapes.
Then I started staying calmer during rolls.
Then I started getting some taps. I wasn’t sure if they were being given to me or what, but I was making people tap.
Then I started tapping new white belts easily. Really easily. From standing to submitting in seconds. That’s progress.
The last two upper belts I’ve rolled with from different schools were draws. One purple and one blue belt (who I should have tapped, but sloppy technique impaired me). It feels good for me to get a draw on an upper belt I’ve never rolled with before.
Just last week I tapped a two-stripe white belt who is 10 years younger than me, has a full year on the mats and is and close to my size. This guy murdered me when I first started. That’s progress to me much more than the piece of tape on my belt is. For what it’s worth, it took him about 8 months before he got his first stripe from our instructor. I literally got mine twice as fast as he did, but he also couldn’t attend class as consistently as I have been able to.
The highest point of my brief training career was two weeks ago at an open mat, when I defended the choke and pulled off a gritty back control escape on a four-stripe brown belt, then got him in side control and maintained the position for a few minutes. He still found a way to escape and tap me, but it was the first escape of ANY kind I had pulled off on him, and the first time I found myself on top without him giving it to me. That was way more significant than any tap I’ve gotten so far and a much clearer indicator of progress than getting a piece of tape on my belt.
Have you had any similar experiences you can look back on and say “yep, I’m definitely improving, there’s no way I could have done that seven months ago”?