HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN JIU JITSU
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most popular forms of combat in the world today. Students from all over the globe are studying the Brazilian art, in order to bolster their weaponry, with submission ferocity. BJJ is a unique form of ground fighting that dates back to the early 1900's, after its forefather Helio Gracie created the combative system. As the art has evolved over the last century, many students have begun wondering is jiu jitsu hard to learn. The complexity of BJJ is world renowned, as the art incorporates a series of intricate movements and highly advanced submission maneuvers.
What This Article Covers:
- The Beginner Phase
- Moving Through the Coloured Belt Ranks
- How Long Does It Take to Become a Black Belt
- Is There Higher Ranks than The Black Belt
- Fast Tracking Through the Belt Ranking System
- Why Everyone Needs to Train Jiu Jitsu
THE BEGINNER PHASE
Walking into a BJJ academy for the first time can be nerve racking, as new students won't know what to expect. Students will wonder what does jiu jitsu teach you, and as they begin the hectic training regime, the picture soon becomes clear. During the beginner phase students will learn a series of fundamental movements which include basic positioning, shrimping and bridging, passing the guard, escaping from positions, and how to utilise grips. These are all important aspects of learning BJJ, and as a student begins to grasp the understanding of all the mechanics involved, more fundamentals will be thrown at them. The white belt phase would have to be the hardest period for any student in BJJ, as this is the time that they know the least, and have to overcome many obstacles.
Usually white belts will use too much strength, or be too erratic, which will cause them to gas out quickly, or force them to make terrible decisions. It is quite common to see a white belt put their hands in the wrong position, whilst under an immense amount of pressure. Simple failings like doing this can put the beginner in jeopardy of being submitted by their opponent. Students will need to take their time and ingrain many of the fundamental principles into their muscle memory. One of the hardest aspects about BJJ from the start, is trying to make the right decisions while under pressure. This is an art form that only improves overtime, if the student shows patience and has the right guidance. Most students will spend a minimum of two years as a white belt before they can gain a promotion into the blue belt level.
MOVING THROUGH THE COLOURED BELT RANKS
Navigating your way through the coloured belt ranks is not an easy task, as there is usually a large amount of blue belts that leave the sport. The blue belt curse is real, as many of these students will opt not to come to training for many different reasons. Once the student becomes a blue belt they will realise a few things, like every other higher belt in the club has just been taking it easy on them, as this will open their eyes to the level they will need to achieve, to become successful in BJJ. Becoming a blue belt and beyond is exciting, as most practitioners at this stage will look to find the best bjj instructionals they can to learn from. At this level, a student of BJJ will realise how much harder the level becomes, as they will also discover the extra expectations that are required of them. It is important for coloured belts to be role models at their academy, and not just for the white belts but the kids too, as many of them look up to the coloured belts. Blue belts are usually extremely hungry to rise up the ranks, as they know once they reach the purple belt level, this is when they will become more serious at competing, and teaching Jiu Jitsu.
Becoming a higher belt at a BJJ academy comes with a series of expectations, as these students are extremely adapted to how an academy works. Even though blue belts are still relatively young in the grand scheme of things, and they are still considered jiu jitsu beginners, they still need to show levels of maturity, and humility if they are to move up the ranks to the next level. Once a blue belt has shown their technical proficiency, and their desire to become better at the art, they may move up to higher belt colours. Becoming a purple belt, or a brown belt is a prestigious honour that doesn't get achieved by everybody. By the time a student reaches the purple belt level they can be content with their achievement, and plateau out staying at this level forever. Moving up from purple to brown is a big jump, as this is not achieved by many people at all. Becoming a brown belt means the student will most definitely reach the pinnacle level of becoming a black belt. Students should recognise that moving through the coloured belt ranks can take a long time, a lot of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the academy, and the community of BJJ.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A BLACK BELT
Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu takes a long time to master all of the concepts, and techniques involved. Compared to other Martial Arts which can take up to two or three years to reach a black belt level, BJJ is a whole different kettle of fish. In BJJ it takes a minimum of two years per belt to move through the ranks, and this is only if the student is extremely consistent at training, and is showing exceptional skills on the mat. Some students will spend two to five years at different belt ranks, as each individual learns at a different pace. Becoming a black belt in BJJ will take students a minimum of ten years, and can even take up to twenty years to reach this level. The truth of the matter is even if a student spent twenty years training in BJJ, that does not guarantee them a black belt in the art. To reach the black belt level students must become exceptional at BJJ, as well as build a fountain of knowledge, and understand how to teach the art to students.
Most BJJ students will not receive a black belt unless they become exceptional at teaching the art. When you consider that white belts will begin Jiu Jitsu and look up to a black belt instructor, and the black belt will teach them all of the intricacies involved, then it is easy to understand why students must become good teachers of the art. Spending over a decade learning BJJ is more than just becoming a fighter, it is basically a teaching degree, as students will learn the ins and outs of how to develop students in the Martial Art. Becoming a good teacher is more than just teaching a technique, it is being able to identify how each individual student learns, and then applying different techniques in order to help each student. Reaching the level of black belt is an incredible achievement, and is par on par with a doctorate of medical science.
IS THERE HIGHER RANKS THAN THE BLACK BELT
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dates back to the early 1900's, as the Gracie clan stamped their name all over Brazil with their exceptional Martial Arts credentials. As Helio began handing out different coloured belts to his students, he realised after a certain amount of time that there needed to be extra belts beyond the black belt level. When a student receives a black belt it is after a long time training in BJJ, and it is a massive honour, but this is only the beginning of the journey. Black belts must be an active member, and teacher of Jiu Jitsu, to receive degrees on their belts. The first three degrees are handed out after three years each, meaning it will take them nine years to become a third degree black belt.
It will take a further fifteen years, which is five years per degree, to reach their sixth degree on their black belt, as this is as far as most serious BJJ practitioners will reach. After twenty four years as a black belt students will need to spend a further seven years to reach their seventh degree, which will be rewarded with a red and black Coral belt. The next step is a red and white Coral belt, which can only be achieved after a further seven years, making the journey thirty eight years to become an eighth degree Coral belt. Beyond these ranks are the unattainable levels of ninth and tenth degree, as not many people in the history of BJJ have ever reached a ninth degree red belt, as it takes ten years after receiving a second Coral belt to achieve this feat. Forty Eight years as a black belt is a long time, and this level is usually only given out to pioneers of the sport. The tenth degree red belt is purely reserved for the Gracie family, as they wanted a belt that nobody else could ever achieve. The only tenth degree red belts in the history of BJJ have been Carlos Gracie, Helio Gracie, Oswaldo Gracie, Gastao Gracie Jr, and George Gracie.
FAST TRACKING THROUGH THE BELT RANKING SYSTEM
BJJ can take a long time to become proficient, and even longer to earn higher belt ranks. There are ways to fast track a student's progression through the belt ranking system, but it takes some serious dedication to the Martial Art. Some athletes have reached the black belt level in eight years or less, including some students only a few years. For an athlete to reach the higher levels of BJJ in a quick fashion, they must be extremely consistent on the mats, and study the art obsessively. An important factor that can help athletes move quickly through the ranks, is by competition success. If a student can compete quite often then their instructors will be inclined to offer promotions faster than students who don't. If a student is extremely successful at competition, and is winning all their divisions constantly, then their instructor will have no choice but to promote them through the ranks. Even if a student has only been a purple belt for one year, and they are winning world championships, then their instructors will be forced to upgrade them to the next level.
Even though Mixed Martial Arts has nothing to do with BJJ belt promotions, athletes that take the jump and become Mixed Martial artists will give their BJJ coaches something to think about. If a student can secure submission victories, or utilise exceptional BJJ technique throughout their MMA fights, then they will push forward a strong argument to be promoted through the BJJ ranks. Some people might think this is unfair, but to put it in simple terms learning BJJ in an academy is not the same thing as utilising these techniques in a real fight. This means that if a student can show good Jiu Jitsu inside of an MMA fight where their competitor is trying to knock them out, then it's fair to say that their level of Jiu Jitsu is incredible. This is a good way for athletes to gain promotion, but more importantly they will know that their BJJ does work in a real life scenario.
WHY EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRAIN JIU JITSU
Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most exciting and important Martial Arts that people should ascertain. BJJ is one of the premier forms of hand to hand combat in the world, as it uses a series of dynamic movements, and controlling tactics to help neutralise opponents. This is great for a street self defense aspect, as someone who learns the art can neutralise an attacker without using excessive force. This is extremely important in this day and age, due to the rising percentage of violence across the world. Learning BJJ will give confidence to athletes, and ordinary civilians, including women and children. It is important for people in the community to feel safe, be able to defend themselves and the lives of the people they love.
BJJ is more than just learning how to fight, it is world renowned for helping people become better versions of themselves. The art of BJJ is all about respect, honour, integrity, and humility, as practitioners of the art will only use their BJJ for self defense. Training at a BJJ Academy will also help students fit into a family like atmosphere, where they will make amazing friendships. There have been many mental health benefits of brazilian jiu jitsu for students that train in the art, as this formidable grappling combat helps people that are suffering from all sorts of conditions including abuse, autism, and any kinds of self worth issues. Many people have come to Jiu Jitsu broken, or overweight, and within a few months of training these people have had their lives completely turned around. Sad people are becoming happier, overweight people are becoming healthier, uncoordinated people are becoming better athletes, and people that are fearful are growing in confidence, and stature. BJJ is a Martial Art that is for everybody, and if you have not stepped into a BJJ academy in your life, now is the best time to start.
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