When we talk to our children about earning their next stripe or belt in Jiu Jitsu, we speak to them about the development of character. Personal progress is inherently multimodal (which can be difficult to understand), and must be emphasized to our young practitioners. This means that these strong and capable young people must be expected to, and then helped, and then praised for being honest, hardworking, generous, focused, kind, positive, responsible, and disciplined. Of course the quality of their Jiu Jitsu is of great importance, because if we teach them something that is less than real we both put them at risk physically and we undermine the trust a child has in adults that teach them. However, it is the aforementioned character qualities that will help them grow into capable adults. Thus, each child progresses and is rewarded for their personal growth. It will never look quite the same as their peers, but it will always be just as valuable. This is so important for them, and for us, that I’ll say it again in a different way: it is not how you compare to everyone else today, but how you compare to yourself yesterday. Be better than that self.