My friend Naushad Ali sent me this beautiful piece as a guest article. I hope you enjoy it.
"One of the senior belts at my gym was telling me how a BJJ Black belt was very discriminating on whom he let train at his facility. His students were not allowed to have unclipped nails, neck tattoos, and definitely no coloured GIs. While the first rule makes sense on grounds of hygiene, and the second rule may appear somewhat harsh, the third rule intrigued me. Given his place in the BJJ world then it is safe to say he can afford to be so judicious, but his insistence that a white gi be worn by his students no matter their rank, stuck furthermost in my mind.
Recently Ed for some bizarre reason promoted me to blue belt, (along with someone else who deserved his blue belt much more than I did). I began thinking about getting a new gi....... the ninja gi with matching shruiken and nunchucks. But as I started thinking about it, I starred contemplating what the white kimono with the white belt meant symbolically (to me if no one else). I then started seeing it a blank canvas on which a student can paint their own destiny. A quest for knowledge whose zenith is where unbridled imagination meets unyielding effort. And while the colour of the belt we wear around our waist will change its final colour is a weird allegory to the space it cannot begin to cover. While much has been learned in what was white eventually becoming black, the space it leaves uncovered represents the incredible amount yet to be discovered. And while this knowledge is infinite, not just in Jiu Jitsu but in all things, just as the stitches of the kimono constrain the cotton, we who wear it are similarly constrained. But these constraints give shape and direction, allowing us to achieve infinitely more working with them and within them than we could ever hope to working against them."
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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