How Long Does It Takes to Get A Blue Belt in BJJ?
Go From White Belt to Blue Belt In Less Than 6 Months
Most of us when we started our Brazilian jiu jitsu journeys were eager to climb the ranks as quickly as possible. Once you get the basics of being a white belt, your confidence level quickly grows as it becomes actual potential to rank up in skill level. But anyone who has trained for a long time, especially a brown or black belt will tell you that belt color is not as important as your approach to training in a martial art. The reality is, there is no rush. Jiu jitsu is a life time journey so long as you never quit. One of my favorite sayings is, “a black belt is just a white belt who never quit.” This powerful sentiment levels the playing field between the a complete novice and an experience master. With all of that in mind, let’s explore what an eager student can do to quickly gain his or her first rank in Brazilian jiu jitsu.
#1. Train Consistently
This is the most important factor to achieving a blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu in 6 months or less. Consistency is key is all practices, and jiu jitsu is no different. You will find that new students often come in with a ton of energy, try to train as many times as possible per week, and then burn themselves out when they ultimately realize they can’t maintain that high level of output just yet. Or, you will see the student who barely shows up more than once or twice a month. Where to they disappear to? Who can really say. But it is obvious that earning their blue belt is less of a priority.
Drilling the fundamentals movements and mechanics of Jiu Jitsu is so imporant when you are first learning. One of the biggest tips we can offer you when learning Jiu Jitsu is to SLOW IT DOWN. There is a great saying from the Marine Sniper school: Slow is Smooth, Smooth is fast. If you remember that when you are drilling your jiu jitsu moves, you will learn and progress very quickly in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Consistent training is pushing yourself when you do not want to train, and knowing when not to over train by listening to your body’s feedback. I would generally recommend no more than 2 or 3 BJJ classes per work for a complete beginner. Obviously this will vary depending on how good your health is when starting out in jiu jitsu. A strong, athletic guy is going to have an easier time adjusting to the physical demand required for training. Someone who is spending most of their time sitting at home, at work, and training very little will have better success from starting out a little slower. So keep track of how often you are getting to class. Write down your weekly training goals at the start of the week, and then at the end of the week reflect on how well you did.
#2. Find Good Training Partners
This begs the question, what makes someone a good training partner? I will answer this question for you very simply. A good training partner is one who is willing to share their knowledge and help you grow. As you journey through your jiu jitsu career, you will meet men and women from all walks of life, with all types of different backgrounds, from different parts of the world, with different trajectories in life. But when we get on the mats we are all equal as students, and our goal is to try our very best as well as help one another. Any well established martial arts school will cultivate a learning environment and students will be very respectful to one another. This makes the initial step to starting jiu jitsu much easier than most white belts anticipate. Rather than douchey guys with big egos, you are greeted who friendly and warm people who encourage you to grow.
A good training partner will be at any belt level in jiu jitsu. No matter if you are a white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, or black belt, everyone has something to teach you. So do not be afraid to ask for feedback after a roll, even if you get smashed over and over again. You too will learn to be a good training partner this way, as your ego will not be involved in stopping you from taking in the lessons of a hard roll.
#3 Train At Different Schools
When you start training Brazilian jiu jitsu you will quickly learn that the BJJ community is a network of schools all over the country, even all over the world. Many high level BJJ practitioners will seek masters out wherever they can find them. Some martial arts academies even have deals with one another that allow their students to cross train at their facilities without additional fees.
As a white belt, you will eventually grow comfortable rolling with anyone in your class as you get to know other students. And this is a good, but you will benefit from training partners you have never rolled with before. You will also find that all masters of BJJ have different approaches to teaching their methodology. One school might have a teacher who is a specialist in guard, another school may have a teacher who is a specialist in submissions. There is so much variety to the art of BJJ and grappling that there is no one way to teach it.
You can compete at any belt level in BJJ with any amount of experience. Competing gives you any opportunity to truly test your skills by getting immediate feedback from your opponent. Most Brazilian jiu jitsu schools will encourage their students to compete. As a complete novice, you may find the idea of competing to be out of your grasp. But the reality is, it is a great way to vastly improve your skill set in a short amount of time. Even if you lose a match there are lessons to be learned in that experience, and you will quickly grow confident in your ability to perform under stress. You will often hear elite level fighters in the UFC say there is no way to truly simulate the pressures of a real fight during training. The quicker you get comfortable being in uncomfortable situations, the faster you will climb the ranks in BJJ.
#5 Train Gi and No Gi
Many different BJJ instructors will have different philosophies when it comes to training in the gi. There are many benefits to training both gi and no gi, and as you experiment with both you will see the differences--the largest and move obvious difference being grips. The gi is a great tool for teaching grips and grip strength. It also has connections to real world street fight scenarios where you may find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself. It is very likely that your attacker will be wearing some sort of loose clothing such as a jacket or collared shirt, giving you that familiar sense of grip that you learned in the gi. No gi will teach you an entirely different approach to training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Fundamental things such as pressure, and control will be a necessary focus as you lose that ability to easily grip when passing or going for a submission.
Remember, jiu jitsu is a life time journey. We have all felt that desire to get to the next belt level as quickly as possible, but what is the rush? Take your time, be methodical, and enjoy yourself as you train. Do not get lost in the idea that belt levels have some sort of special significance. They do not. What truly matters is your mentality as a student, and commitment to bettering yourself.
#6 Focus on the Fundamentals
Jiu Jitsu is a very "sexy" martial art. There are so many cool fighting techniques that you can pull off that almost make you look super human. It's very enticing for the new martial artists to look at all those fancy jiu jitsy techniques and think that they should ne learning those too - but if you ask any BJJ black belt, they will tell you that the secret to being able to do those techniques with ease is their strong understanding of the Fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu.
Bernardo Faria is considered one of the best fundamental Jiu Jitsu athletes and instructors in the world. He is a 4x IBJJF World Champion among other wins in top competitions. His fundamentals of jiu jitsu game is so strong, that most of his techniques require no natural ability, physical speed or quickness. The mental and technical ability is what is important in his DVD / On Demand Series called Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Increase your overall understanding of jiu jitsu, as well as increase your mental and technical speed with this awesome series.
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