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BLUE TO PURPLE BELT BJJ
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BLUE TO PURPLE BELT BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has to be among the most complex Martial Arts to learn in the world, with its infinite number of defensive and attacking manoeuvres and counter manoeuvres. In most cases it takes well over a decade to learn how to become a Black belt in bjj, with the promotion from one level to the next, taking at least two years. 

Learn the most important takedowns that a new BJJ student should know according to John Danaher.

blue belt to purple belt bjj

Different coloured belt levels present different sets of challenges, like the White belt stage where it becomes all about learning the fundamental principles of BJJ. There are five bjj belts including White, Blue, Purple, Brown and Black. The Blue belt level is a stage where the practitioner will start to refine their foundations learnt as a beginner, they will also begin to understand the natural flow of Jiu Jitsu as they push significantly harder in the academy.

What This Article Covers:

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A BLUE BELT

White belts will often ask their coaches how long does it take to get a Blue belt in bjj, the answer they often receive is just to keep showing up and working hard. Earning the promotion from White to Blue is an empowering moment for a Martial Artist, it is when a student becomes aware of the jedi force. Beginners are full of insecurity and have little confidence, but when they become a Blue belt it is like they have discovered the first step towards becoming a leader. Blue belts will often hand out bjj White belt tips to the beginners, as they start to feel a sense of duty towards their younger belt siblings. 

When a practitioner has been graded to Blue, they must wear the belt with honour and pride as their skills are a representation of their professor's abilities in coaching. To earn the Blue a student must have learnt a combination of fundamental techniques like; basic positions, positional control and escapes, posture, basic sweeps, guard passes, and submissions. Although a beginner doesn't have to master every manoeuvre, they still have to have a good defensive and attacking game.

Let's have a look at some of the techniques a Blue belt should have in their repouture. 

  • Elbow Escape: This manoeuvre is one of the best ways to escape the mount, and achieve half or full guard. It involves using frames to set up a sideways position, before escaping the legs into a guard retention situation.
  • Umpa Escape: This technique requires a student to escape full mount by trapping one side of their opponent and exploding through the other side from a bridging position. This escape will help the student go from being mounted to inside their opponent's guard.
  • Framing Escapes: It is extremely important for students to develop frames so they can easily escape positions. Most escapes involve using frames to help the student create space so they can retreat out of the control position.
  • Submission Escapes: Students must develop the abilities to defend and escape from major submissions like; Rear Naked Chokes, Armbars, Kimuras and Triangles. The importance of these movements need no explanation, so it is imperative to master these skills.
  • Mount: Learning how to Maintain a defensive and attacking mount is crucial in becoming a Blue belt. They must be able to control their opponent and know how to transition when necessary.
  • Side Control: students must be able to control opponents with short base and long base side control. They will also need to understand the importance of the crossface and the over and under hooks. 
  • Back Control: Developing a sound back control is a huge advantage, they must incorporate using hooks and a seatbelt grip, they must also have a good understanding of lapel grips. 
  • Breaking Guard: Learning how to break guard in order to attempt a guard pass is a necessity, so Learning a cat stretch or standing break is important for a Blue belt.
  • Turtle: Blue belts must develop a positional understanding of controlling a turtled opponent. They must understand the concepts involved so they don't lose position.
  • Knee on Belly: A good knee ride is an important way to start an attacking submission chain, it is also a great way to suck some energy out of their opponent when the appropriate pressure is applied.
  • Scissor Sweep: This sweep is utilised from full guard and requires a knee shield position to attack from. A necktie and an arm grip is needed as the scissoring motion will help the student not only sweep their opponent, but secure full mount.
  • Hip Bump Sweep: This sweep is extremely easy and can be used on an opponent in your guard. It is very similar to the kimura sweep, as the student must reach over their opponent's arm and use their hips to sweep.
  • Technical Stand Up: This manoeuvre is an important escape used on heavier opponents or in a self defense situation. The common use for this move is when a sweep cannot be achieved.
  • Armbar: This submission is one of the most popular and accessible attacks from almost any position, as it requires a hyperextension of the elbow joint.
  • Triangle: The Triangle is an extremely reliable choke which is mainly executed from guard. It involves using a student's legs to squeeze the neck of their opponent. 
  • Rear Naked Choke: This choke is the number one submission used, as students execute it from the most dominant position, back control. There are several variations of the rear choke that can be mastered.
  • Kimura: This is a bent arm lock that can be secured mainly from mount, guard or side control. The submission puts pressure on the opponent's shoulder joint.
  • Break Fall: Students must learn the art of break falling so they can protect themselves if they are taken down to the ground.
  • Single Leg Takedown: The single leg is an easy takedown to help beginners advance their takedown games. There are different variations of this takedown that students must explore.
  • Double Leg Takedown: The double leg is a harder takedown to learn, but it is an important technique to master. It will take time, but as a Blue belt they should be working on it.
  • Knee Staple: Students must acquire the knowledge to execute a knee staple so they can begin passing the guard. A knee staple is where a student uses their knee to trap the thigh of their opponent to the mat, this will help them begin their guard pass.
  • Posture: Learning good posture is one of the most important lessons going from White to Blue. The body goes where the head goes, so if a student can maintain good posture they are extremely hard to move.

Although a Blue belt doesn't have to be a master in all these techniques, they need to master a few and be competent in most. There is also another factor, that required techniques will change from gym to gym. Above all else they need to understand the flow of Jiu Jitsu and they should be an integral and humble representative of their instructor's philosophy.

EARNING THE PURPLE BELT 

It can take anywhere from two to five years to achieve the transition from Blue to Purple belt bjj. A Blue belt should have extensive knowledge in most techniques to move up the ranks. Their control positions should be dominant and they should have developed their own game style that is highly adaptable on the fly. 

Along with their highly developed Jiu Jitsu prowess, they should have a keen eye for coaching. A Purple belt must begin their teaching degree, as they are becoming a huge part of many of the younger belts transition through the ranks. Being good at Jiu Jitsu and teaching Jiu Jitsu White belt moves are two completely different aspects. Many great competitors are not great teachers, so it is important to develop a good coaching ability. It is next to impossible to become a Black belt in BJJ without becoming a good teacher, many coaches will not promote someone unless they have reached that level of teaching. 

Most high level Blue belts will start taking White belts under their wing, this is a good way to develop the one on one skills needed to become a good coach. As they become a Purple belt they will be trusted to run warm-ups, teach classes in both kids and adults. Purple belts are now at a level where they realise they can make it to the coveted Black belt level. 

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WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF A PURPLE BELT 

To hold their head high as a Purple belt they need to understand the bjj belt meanings. The meaning of the Purple is they need to be a patient and integral individual. A Purple belt is a representative of their Professor's academy, and as they join the ranks of the coaches, they need to show understanding and leadership. Often the newly ranked practitioner will teach classes or assist their instructors with their classes, so they must have calmness, resilience and become a good role model for the younger belts.

Wearing a Purple belt can put a target on their back, as many lower ranked belts will measure their progression versus if they can submit the Purple belt. So being humble and knowing when to tap is crucial, a stubborn Purple belt will often miss the lessons taught in a real rolling situation. A Purple belt must put their pride aside and allow themselves to learn through trial and error. 

Purple belts should be able to dictate the flow of a roll, as they will often use traps to set up attacks on their opponents. A Purple belt should have a vast array of technical knowledge and ability, as their new level is all about refining. Let's have a look at some of the more advanced positions a Purple belt should know.

  • Mount: Purple belts should have extensive knowledge on how to control their opponents from high mount, low mount, s mount and technical mount. They should also understand the importance of their weight distribution and how to use it while they transition.
  • Control Positions: They must be able to successfully transition between all control positions, including back control, kesagatme, knee on belly, side control, turtle and north south. They must also understand the pros and cons with underhooking, overhooking, crossfacing, seatbelt control and utilising their hooks. 
  • Guard: By now a Purple belt should know most types of major guards, like closed guard, open guard, half guard, deep half guard, butterfly guard, x guard, dela riva guard and spider guard.
  • Passing: Purple belts should have a really good passing game, as they should know several different passes like; the toreando, the bull, the over under, the knee cut, the knee slice, the stack pass, the weave pass and the smash pass.
  • Takedowns: Purple belts should have a decent takedown game, takedowns are extremely important to help get the fight to the ground. They should know takedowns like; the single leg, the double leg, the ankle pick, the collar drag, the hip toss and the Valley drop. They may even know moves like the uchi mata and the drop seonage.
  • Sweeps: By this stage of their evolution they should have a vast array of different sweeps they can use. Some of the sweeps they would know are; the scissor, the hip bump, the shotgun, the flower, the hook, the reverse scissor, the waiter, the pendulum and the tripod. There are many variations of sweeps including versions through the dela riva, x guard and lapel guard positions. 
  • Submissions: A Purple belt should know a lot of different submissions and they should have mastered a certain style of submission. There are a lot of different subs like the guillotine, the darce, the armbar, the triangle, the kimura, the rear naked, the omoplata, the cross collar, the baseball bat, the americana, the bow and arrow and the ezekiel. Purple belts must be able to master a chain of submissions like the triangle, armbar, omoplata trifecta or the guillotine, darce, anaconda trifecta. They should also have deep knowledge of the leg lock game.
  • Escapes: Purple belts will be able to escape from all positions and have several different ways to do so. They will also have outstanding submission defense.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GO FROM BLUE TO PURPLE 

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the time will vary under different instructors. The time will also change depending on the skills of each individual, realistically the student decides when they go up in rank with how they dedicate themselves to the academy and how well they improve on their technical abilities. 

If a student is heavily involved with competing at tournaments, then that can fast track a promotion to the next level, especially if they are winning Gold medals. The competitive process is not for everyone, and in some form can be detrimental to the development of a student's coaching ability if they focus too much on competition.

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bjj blue to purple belt

Some students will only spend one year as a Blue belt while some will spend five or more, on average it is anywhere from two to three years before they will earn their Purple belt. When a Black belt entrusts a student to become one of their Purple belts it is a distinguished honour, and one that comes with great privilege. 

Becoming a high belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a lifelong achievement, and the honour bestowed upon the inductee is a humbling and remarkable moment in their Martial Arts journey. 

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