How often do we make judgments based on limited information, not knowing or understanding the full picture? Have you turned up to a competition and seen your opponant has four stripes on their belt to your none. Do you then feel a little defeated from the start. Or they have no stripes and you have a few, so you feel better. Don’t make assumptions. As a bjj strategy fight the person not the belt.
It’s human nature to base our interpretations of other people, not just on the facts we observe. But also to an extent on what what’s going on inside us, psychologically. If we are feeling nervous, we may assume the worst about a situation. This can affect your bjj strategy.
Instead of basing our understanding of people and events on what we observe and what we know for a fact, we often prefer to make judgments based on our emotions and experiences. This means that any judgement you make of your opponent is based on the school you come from. This is understandable as it will be your main factual reference point. But just because the 4 stripe blue belts at your club are all killers, doesn’t mean the person opposite you will be. You don’t know the rules at their club for getting stripes. You have no idea how long he has had the stripes. Or how often they train. So with out the full picture you will fill in the blanks. based on previous experiences and how you feel.
This doesn’t mean that all your assumptions will be negative. Your opponent may have no stripes on their belt. This may make you feel more confident as you do have some. Once again this is filling in the blanks. I know some schools that once you are a coloured belt they stop awarding stripes. Also how many coaches just forget to award stripes regularly? Or if you are like me you may have a competition belt. (I bought it because it is lighter than my original belt. It has now has passed IBJJF so I feel a bit less stressed at gi check time with it).
To a degree all of this is not your fault. Your brain is wired to make assumptions based on previous experience. Imagine before we walked upright and still lived in jungles. If we saw something moving and we would move and get away. It may be nothing but this assumption kept us safe. So filling in the blanks here could potentially keep you alive. But now this animalistic sense can be a problem.
But we are not that animal anymore. When you are waiting in the bullpen, don’t stress yourself out by worrying about the stripes. You know how you want to play your game. You may have even been visualising it. If assumptions start sneaking in, focus on your “A” game. The techniques you want to play and the amount of effort you have put in to drilling them. Your bjj strategy should be to fight the person not the belt. The belt is just something to hold your gi top closed.