1. You're more likely to recognize a line of bullshit.
For example, I've heard people saying that judo is growing in the U.S.
My old friends and I laugh at this because we have been around long enough to remember when there were several times as many people in the divisions at the national championships as there are now. Because we were there, we know that those tournaments did not have novice divisions, brown belt divisions, masters divisions. There were actually several hundred black belts competing and they weren't over 40 unless they were Hayward Nishioka.
Some flavor of judo is being taught in many ju jitsu and mixed martial arts schools, but the number of people seriously aiming for the Olympics in this country has never been smaller. Those of us who have been attending the tournaments realize that there were half as many competitors in the black belt divisions as 15 years ago.
People can't lie to you as easily when you're older because you know the history of events and the character of individuals.
2. You don't have to put up with bullshit.
I don't care if I ever get promoted again. As my good friend, Steve Scott, says,
"It's not as if my belt is going to get any blacker."
People try to give me the analogy of,
"You earned it. You went and picked up your Ph.D. diploma, didn't you?"
It is not at all the same thing. That would be like getting your black belt.
Getting a seventh-, eighth- , ninth-degree black belt is just stupid. It's like if after you got your Ph.D. you got someone to award you a "Gold Star Ph.D." The other people with doctorates would have special parties just to laugh at you. I know they would because I would host them at Lula's with shots of tequila on me.
Much of the business of the judo organizations in this country centers around people paying money and kissing ass so they can get promoted to muckety-muckety-muck degree black belts.
These days, instead of going to meetings with people I don't respect, I get together with my friends, drink tequila and laugh at those people. It's pretty awesome.