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BJJ Black Belt

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most highly complex Martial Arts in the world. The evolution of BJJ since its beginning has seen exponential growth, due to high level pioneer names like Gracie, Machado, Vieira and Almeida. Most students that begin a BJJ journey will wonder how to become a black belt in bjj, the answer is never easy and the path is a long and hard road to walk. Reaching the pinnacle of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an amazing accomplishment and only a small number of practitioners make it to the prestigious level.

What This Article Covers:

In BJJ a student must go through a stringent belt ranking process that includes a series of coloured belts. We are focusing in this piece on adult progression and not kids bjj belts. Starting at the white belt level, students will then earn their way up to the blue belt bjj level. Each belt is awarded four stripes before the next belt level can be handed out. The second belt promotion is the purple belt bjj level, this is the halfway point towards the coveted black belt. The final belt before black is the brown belt Jiu Jitsu rank, this is the pivotal belt phase where practitioners refine their skills before their final upgrade.

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bjj black belt

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WHAT DOES EACH BELT MEAN IN BJJ AND HOW DO STUDENTS PROGRESS

WHITE BELT

There are significantly different bjj belt meanings for every belt level. All beginners start off wearing a white belt, this is the first step in the BJJ journey. As a white belt it is quite common to see students using too much strength during their training. It takes time to develop the relaxed state in which a practitioner must acquire. White belts are extremely inexperienced in the natural flow of Jiu Jitsu, so they need significant guidance and nurture. Beginners will need to set themselves bjj White belt goals so they can maximise their ability to understand the fundamentals of BJJ. 

A Jiu Jitsu White belts will need to develop in a number of areas before they can move up to the next belt level. It is extremely important for beginners to master control positions, they must utilise heavy pressure and understand how to use the crossface, overhooks and underhooks. They must also understand simple concepts like controlling a limb before attempting to submit their opponents. Utilising good posture is another important aspect for a beginner, they must develop a tactical base so they are harder to sweep or submit and become more efficient with passing the guard.

A student must also understand how to keep balanced as it will become considerably important during a heated battle. The grip battle is another important facet of BJJ, utilising dominant grips and knowing how to break grips as well as repositioning grips to advance movements. Breathing techniques are also very important, most beginners forget to breathe or don't understand the benefits to regulating their breathing. When a student utilises the appropriate breathing technique it will oxygenate the blood and maximise their physical output. 

BLUE BELT

When a student is promoted to the blue belt bjj level it is an extremely exciting time. Everyone remembers their first belt promotion as it is a pivotal time in the growth of a student. The meaning behind the blue belt is all about improving their technical efficiency, they will learn a vast amount of techniques and will begin to implement them into their game styles. Blue belts will become role models to the lower belts at their academy, as they begin helping them with many bjj white belt tips and all other aspects of the Martial Art.

Blue belt is a level where the student can stagnate and stay content with their BJJ level. Some students will endeavour to progress from Blue to Purple belt bjj, as they start to improve significantly with their technical application. Blue belts must stray away from using too much muscle and really focus on being swift with their technical skills. They will also need to improve their technical knowledge if they want to rise up to the next belt level, the key to this is studying different movements and then mastering them.

Blue belts will also need to develop their flow chains, as this is extremely important for progressing past the purple belt level. They will need to develop switching from one move to another, with submissions, sweeps and defenses. This becomes more important when competing against higher belts, as they will often see maneuvers coming a mile away. Blue belts will also begin competing more seriously as they realise how it can help fast track them to the purple belt level. Although competing is not mandatory within an academy, it is highly encouraged and supported by a BJJ school.

PURPLE BELT

The purple belt is the halfway point in a practitioner's journey, and is often referred to as the instructor's level. At this level the practitioner has gained a significant amount of technical and conceptual knowledge. They are also deemed qualified to instruct students on a more professional level. Purple belts will start to understand how to improve a Jiu Jitsu mindset, and start implementing these factors into students at their academy. They will not only assist their coaches, but will start to run adults and kids classes and warmups themselves. They will have many lower belts looking to them for advice, so it is important they act with humility, integrity and become solid role models.

Purple belts will start to aim their focus into refining all of their technical skills, and developing their flow chains. They must start to alter their game styles by adding different concepts that suit their Jiu Jitsu. This is a time to explore, as the middle belt level can be a hard place to progress from. All the lower belts are hunting them, while all of the higher belts are managing to stay a few steps ahead. Some purple belts will find it extremely hard to move up to the brown belt Jiu Jitsu level, as many of them will be happy to just stay as a purple belt.   How long it takes to go from purple to brown belt can sometimes be outside of one's control.

BROWN BELT

It takes a special breed of athlete to gain a promotion to a brown belt level, as many purple belts never get to the next level. Statistics show that only 35% of purple belts go up in rank, meaning it is a massive jump up the BJJ ladder. At this stage of a practitioner's journey, they will have an incredible technical proficiency and outstanding technical knowledge. They are usually extremely quick with their decision making and have a high intellectual capacity.

Brown belts are basically as good as a black belt, all they need to do is keep refining their craft. It is important for a brown belt to master any weaknesses they might have in order to have an all round game style. They will often be dynamic on the mats, as they will challenge everyone, but still have the ability to nurture the beginners. Brown belts have developed their Jiu Jitsu style for the best part of a decade, and they will start to hone in on their coaching skills and usually run many classes in their academy.

Along with many of a brown belts developments, they are usually extremely invested into competition. As the highest level before black, a brown belt often feels like they have something to prove to their instructors and the BJJ community. They will strive for competition success as they know how important it is to lead by example and battle test their skill set. This level is the last chance for a practitioner to win a vast array of tournaments including world titles, as once they earn the black belt promotion competition becomes significantly harder.

HOW TO ACHIEVE THE BLACK BELT LEVEL

Reaching the high level of black belt in BJJ, is one of the most complicated journeys in sport. Jiu Jitsu has a highly complex series of movements to learn, and can only be mastered over a long period of time. Students must devote their time and breathe Jiu Jitsu for over a decade if they have any hope of reaching the highly unachievable level. The only way to get there is through sheer determination, hard work and consistency on the mats over a period of years.

A student must develop a serious technical ability, which is a slow accumulation of years of study. Thousands of hours on the mats have proven that any student that doesn't quit can achieve this amazing accomplishment. Along with spending a serious amount of time developing techniques, students will need to battle test their abilities by rolling with as many higher belts as possible. They can also test their abilities on the competition mats, as this is a great way to fast track their progression through almost real life combat.

Students must show dedication to the art of Jiu Jitsu and to their instructors. By working hard on all aspects of Jiu Jitsu is the only way forward, a student cannot solely rely on natural gifts. They must also be extremely consistent on the mats, it is really hard to improve if a student is not training regularly. Continuity within their Martial Arts will boost their chances of gaining promotions through the belt rankings. It is like most things in life, the more time you put in the more results you will achieve.

Students must learn humility throughout their journey and show tremendous heart. Students will endure a decade or more of high intensity training, this can take a heavy toll on the athlete, so they must dig deep and continue to show perseverance. Students can achieve a multitude of success through the BJJ platform as long as they work hard and constantly improve their technical skill. What every student needs to earn the most illustrious bjj belts is self belief, it is the key component for success.

If a practitioner stays on the path of progression and never gives up, they will certainly have a chance of becoming a black belt. Reaching the black belt is one of the highest honours an athlete can earn, aside from the coral belt bjj level and the red belt bjj level. 

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HOW LONG CAN IT TAKE TO REACH THE BLACK BELT LEVEL 

During the BJJ journey it is quite common for students to question how long does it take to get a black belt in bjj. The answer is not as straight forward as most might think, as the journey is different for everyone. Some athletes will race through the coloured belt levels and earn their black belt in five years or less, but that is only for the extremely dedicated students that train everyday and have international success in competition. 

For the average student it will take anywhere from ten to fifteen years to gain a promotion to the top level in BJJ. There are many factors that can affect a student's growth in BJJ, like injuries or life commitments. Some students will spend extended periods of time recovering from injury, this can severely setback a student from reaching the highest levels. Other students will show up less to training due to life commitments, many students will start new jobs, move to different locations or start families, all of these factors can act as a setback in a practitioner's journey through the ranks. 

The time component is up to each individual, if a student has the hunger and the ability to train regularly then they will reach their goals quicker. Students that get there slower will sometimes just have to accept that going at their own pace is what is required. The worst thing a student can do is compare themself to other members of their academy, because everyone is different, everyone learns differently and some are just naturally more talented. The trick is old fashioned hard work, consistency and perseverance will always give a student the best chance at progression.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF A BLACK BELT 

Once a student progresses through the ranks and becomes a black belt, it comes with certain expectations and responsibilities. Black belts become leaders of an academy, they are a formidable force that all lower belts look up to and aspire to be. Black belts must show good nurturing skills and help students develop in their techniques and their conceptual thinking. A black belt will need to roll at different levels in order to help develop the lower belts and also challenge the higher belts. 

There are other expectations that a black belt must adopt, like outlining the guidelines and the club conduct. A black belt will often help the beginners understand basic conduct like being respectful to other members in the academy, not being a mat bully, being humble and showing a duty of care and keeping good hygiene practices. They will also show students how to tie Jiu Jitsu belt properly and teach them the significance of washing their gear including how to wash bjj belt. 

Overall a black belt is required to help with the development of all students, this includes keeping track of all progression levels. Black belts are required to award stripes, which is a way of monitoring a student's progression through the belt rankings. They will grade all of the adult belts and the kids Jiu Jitsu belts. A black belt is an instructor and will also be expected to help coach their students from the sidelines at competitions. In most cases this is highly anticipated by black belts and they are extremely experienced at this process. 

Learn to expedite your journey and stay on course towards the black belt with Tom DeBlass!

jiu jitsu black belt

Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an amazing feeling and unless a student experiences it, they will never know how good it can be. This Martial Art will take a student on a journey from humble beginnings and transform them into a technical assassin. Earning a black belt is very hard, but with dedication, consistency, humility, perseverance and good guidance, then this is an achievable goal for all BJJ enthusiasts.  If you're lucking and start early enough, you may also make it to the illustrious bjj coral belt.

If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking:

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