How Long Does It Take to Get a Purple Belt in BJJ?
There is no short answer to this question, as the time it takes will vary from academy to academy. The prerequisite for most schools is to spend at least two years per belt, and that is based on a student that attends at least three lessons per week.
Putting that kind of time into your academy doesn't guarantee a student will be graded. There are always a host of factors that go into a student reaching their next belt promotion. Generally in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there is a multitude of complexities that a student must master before they can be promoted.
Before we can determine how long it takes, let's have a look at what the belts mean!
What This Article Covers:
- BJJ Belt Meanings
- BJJ White Belt Goals
- How Long Does It Take to Get a Blue Belt In BJJ?
- Blue to Purple Belt BJJ
- Purple Belt BJJ
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi is a traditional uniform that uses a belt to tie the jacket. The belt has significant meaning for the Jiu Jitsu community, as it signifies the level of skill within its bearer. Each coloured belt represents the rank of the student, while each stripe on the belt measures the progression between promotions.
THE MEANING BEHIND THE WHITE BELT
The White belt is the first step in the journey of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it's where a prospective student must take one of the hardest steps towards approaching an academy. Some people are lucky and have friends that train, so the transition can be rather easy. While other people struggle from the beginning to make the choice to join an academy and learn one of the most comprehensive Martial Arts in the world.
Starting out as a White belt means the student is a beginner, as they are unable to comprehend the flow of Jiu Jitsu. Most White belts will tense with all their strength and forget to breathe, while having little understanding of keeping their balance. This is a necessary process for beginners, so they can begin to measure how to start using the correct processes. White belts must be nurtured and molded by the coaches, so they can start to build good habits within their learning.
THE MEANING BEHIND THE BLUE BELT
The Blue belt is the first ceremony of promotion, as the student should be understanding the general flow of Jiu Jitsu. The student will start to feel recognition for their connection between techniques, with the Blue belt comes a confidence and a hunger to continue the growth. A Blue belt becomes like an older brother to the White belt, as they will start to showcase their knowledge and also battle test their techniques.
A Blue belt has an ability to execute basic transitions, sweeps, guard passes and submissions, they will also have an ability to hold their own against higher belts during rolling. Becoming a Blue belt also means a significant shift in how they should behave, it's the first step towards becoming a leader. At most BJJ schools, Blue belts will often help higher ranked coaches facilitate children's classes, as they are being trusted to start showing basic instruction.
THE MEANING BEHIND THE PURPLE BELT
Earning the Purple belt is one of the hardest promotions in BJJ, often students can find themselves stuck on their Blue belt unable to achieve the upgrade. The Purple belt, often referred to as the middle child, is the time when the student really starts to build their game plan. They will have an understanding of more technical aspects of Jiu Jitsu like positioning, switching grips, baiting opponents and a higher success rate of submission attacks.
The Purple belt also signifies the time that the student will become more of a teacher, as they will often take White belts under their wing. Purple belts are now beginning to form their own sequence of movements and know what techniques will suit their style of Jiu Jitsu. They will become hungry to lead and often be trusted to run adults and children's classes without supervision. Purple belt is a time to explore Jiu Jitsu and sharpen the aspects a student is not so good at.
After taking the biggest step out of your comfort zone, and joining up with a BJJ school, a White belt student must set goals. Most White belts first goal is purely to survive in a roll, which usually stems from some insecurities. Starting out as a White belt has its dangers, as it is the most common time injuries can happen. White belts can be either aggressive and uncontrolled, or tentative and unsure of when to tap, both sides of the coin can result in injury. Here are some common goals for White belts to set when they first start out.
MASTER THE WARM UPS
Look to master the warm ups, as they have a direct link to specific movements within Jiu Jitsu's parameters. Warming up for Jiu Jitsu does wonders for a student's Jiu Jitsu, as many of the drills will help the student while they are in real live rolling situations. The warm ups are also extremely important for strengthening the body, as the higher a student goes in level the more strength and mobility is needed.
The only way White belts will begin to truly understand concepts or techniques is to seek explanations. Always ask questions if you are unsure about details within a technique. It is also wise to ask questions about anything you think could happen during a technique, at the end of the day there are no really stupid questions, there is value in ninety nine percent of questions asked.
DRILL AND REPETITION
One of the most important goals for White belts is to drill techniques, when a student learns a technique be sure to master it. A student must continue to practice the movements until it becomes second nature. Nothing becomes more frustrating to a coach when two White belts practice the move once each and then question why it doesn't work in live rolling.
The concept of tapping regularly might seem strange, but the more you tap the more you learn. If a student refuses to tap, in most cases his training partner will let go and the student misses a valuable lesson. If a student taps to a submission then they can see the mistake which led to them submitting, so be sure to tap when you're in trouble. It is also logical for a student to tap so they can prevent themselves from being injured.
These are some of the goals a White belt can set in order to strive towards their next level.
The progression from White belt to Blue belt is one of the most important ones, because the foundations set early in someone's learning will have lasting effects on the students long term game. To ensure that a White belt has the proper upbringing, they will need to stick to the basics and stay away from the more technically advanced movements.
Some BJJ schools will promote their students to Blue belt based on time served, or how well they compete, while others will award the rank through technical ability. Most White belts will move up after two years, but in a lot of cases when competing is involved they can move to Blue after twelve months.
In order for a White belt to be promoted to Blue, they must be able to have a good idea about how to attack. They should be able to execute an attack from each position and be able to escape from every major position. A Blue belt should have a good idea of how to defend attacks and be capable of executing a go to sweep. They should also have an understanding of basic guard passing and body positions.
When a student is promoted to Blue belt there are often two things that can happen, they will feel like they have achieved enough and start to slow down, while others will get hungry and step up their learning. Quite often a Blue belt will begin to compete and will seek knowledge from other higher belts in the gym.
A Blue belt will begin to hunt the Purple belts in rolling, but they often don't realize the Purple belts are exploring their game. Blue belts will often try to submit higher level students in hope their coach is watching, but the progression from Blue to Purple has a more technical aspect.
A Blue belt must begin to refine their techniques and start to create muscle memory for many of their moves. They will also need to start the strategy process in order to execute techniques at a higher level. A Blue belt must be committed to the academy if they want to join the ranks of the coaches.
Generally an academy will promote a Blue belt to Purple in two years, if the student has shown an aptitude for the criteria involved. Some students will get stuck at Blue belt for considerably longer which is mainly due to their attitude, a Purple belt must be humble and have no signs of arrogance.
Once a student is promoted to Purple belt they will often feel a sense of relief, it is the halfway mark towards the illustrious Black belt. Some students will never move past the Purple belt, as they have already achieved a status that allows them to coach lower ranked students. The Purple belt is a sense of responsibility but not to the point where the world is on their shoulders.
Some students will see the Purple belt as a huge mountain climbed, and since they made it this far then achieving the Black belt is totally in the realms of possibility. These students will adapt to their new role as a father figure to the White and Blue belts. They will begin to explore their game style and start to improve their coaching abilities.
A Purple belt should have an outstanding resolve and a new sense of calmness, they should also be understanding and willing to sacrifice. They should have a rather large range of knowledge and an extremely developed grappling strategy. They would also have extensively refined techniques and will be starting to develop their own micro adjustments to suit their games.
In conclusion there are many different factors that go into how long it takes to achieve a Purple belt. For the average practitioner it will take four to five years, while for some it can take up to eight years. In a complex Martial Art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are a multitude of principles and techniques to learn. Once a student has learnt what they need to be successful, it becomes a matter of how to piece the puzzle together.
Here are some tips for achieving success as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student.
A student must stay focused at all times, as the complexity of this Martial Art can be overwhelming. A focused practitioner will often start to see the bigger picture, which will allow for an easier learning process.
It is important to be humble, as no one likes an arrogant Martial Artist. A humble student will be respected and valued much more highly, which will open the door for a more enjoyable journey. A humbled practitioner will also suffer less from injuries, as a stubborn grappler will often refuse to tap causing injuries.
It is extremely important for a student to seek guidance, sometimes a student will be too embarrassed to ask questions which can result in poor technique. The coaches at a Jiu Jitsu club are there for a student's development, so it is imperative that they seek their help.
Over the course of a student's journey they will only get out what they put in, so put in a lot of effort. Train hard and train consistently, because learning Jiu Jitsu is like learning any other skill, you must have continuity to show improvement. The harder a student trains will also have a huge bearing on how they are graded by their coaches.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a long term Martial Art that takes years to achieve its many accolades, so be sure to enjoy the journey and don't give up!
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