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BJJ Purple Belt Requirements and Tips With Roy Dean
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BJJ Purple Belt Requirements and Tips With Roy Dean

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The transition from blue belt to purple belt is arguably the one that you will see the biggest change in a person’s approach to Jiu Jitsu. No matter how long the change in color takes, technique generally morphs from segmented and defensive to a smooth, flowing sequence mixed with attacking and defending moves. When you are first handed your blue belt it might seem nearly impossible that you will ever gain the finesse to earn your purple, but that’s what we’re here for! Roy Dean has outlined an instructional program to help people understand what is expected of them in order to achieve their purple belt, as well as how to get to that level.  

Check out "What Makes A Purple Belt?" from Roy Dean!

 

Picture yourself a brand new blue belt- maybe that is present day or perhaps that was two years ago. You are snug in your little blue cocoon waiting to emerge a purple butterfly; but what happens during that transformation?!

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We covered the road from white to blue in a previous post, which is mostly physical and linear. On this leg of our journey we are delving into the first layer of mental jiu jitsu and learning how to branch off of the straight path. Here we go! 

Develop preferences and a style: 

By the time you are promoted to purple belt you should be aware of your strengths and weaknesses in Jiu Jitsu, as well as how to adjust your grappling strategy to produce the best outcome. If you have short legs, then as a blue belt your job is to play with and attempt different types of submissions and defenses to see if they are feasible to use in a live rolling situation or if you have an easier time with something else. 

For example, triangles from guard might be hard for you to effectively close on a regular basis, especially against bigger people. That doesn’t mean you should completely abandon triangles or not work them into your regular submission rotation, but be aware of the limitations you have and adjust according to each individual partner as you deem necessary. Another common drawback would be size in general, though this can be taken as both a pro and a con in certain situations.

Smaller people obviously have less strength, but they also often have more flexibility and move more quickly than their larger counterparts. If you are on the small side compared to your opponents then go into the roll anticipating them using the size differential to their benefit by playing heavy and relying more on strength moves. This means you should be running submissions through your head that are based more on leverage, speed and joint mobility. Learning how your body moves will come somewhat naturally, your real job is to remember how to apply it and assess different situations as they arise. 

Work on fluidity: 

One of the biggest differences in a purple belt roll when compared to a blue belt is the fluidity of the motions. Up until now you have been focused on straight lines, going direct from point A to point B, now you should incorporate a few side roads and truck stops along the way.

Your partners will start to defend correctly against your techniques, so you need to be able to smoothly transition into another motion in order to either completely switch gears or circle around to a different approach to your original path. For example, if you are going for an arm lock and your opponent correctly defends so you aren’t able to submit them, rather than repeatedly waste your energy on getting that move to be successful, move on and set up a different arm bar. Another option is usually open and available to you, so don’t allow yourself to get stuck in jiu jitsu tunnel vision, a failed submission is not a failed roll! 

Pad your arsenal: 

In order to have alternative submission to use in the case of a defending partner, you will need to get familiar with more techniques! From each common position (mount, guard, side control) you should have at least three options to pull from. For example, if you are in side control, you are able to slide directly into mount, knee on belly or half guard. Once you get into your chosen position you should have three other transitions or submissions to go for and so forth. Breaking down options from major positions will be helpful in rolling, so be sure to experiment and not rely strictly on drilling.

This might sound insurmountable, but when you really think about it- who doesn’t want to learn more submissions!? On that same note, don’t forget to work on your defense as well, I really doubt you will always be the one flowing through different passes, chokes, joint locks etc. Work a similar flowchart of blocking submissions from major positions too, even though that’s less fun. 

Teach! 

Yes, when you reach purple status you should be able to teach to lower belts. That’s right, you! Take time every now and then to partner with a new white belt and run through the fundamentals with them, it will help both of you. They will obviously learn a brand new technique, and you will refamiliarize yourself with a foundational jiu jitsu move. Experiencing basic techniques and skills after you have added more knowledge to your grappling can open your eyes to additional options that you missed the first time. Similar to if you rewatch a movie and you actually pick up on the clues that are hidden in the background, you know?

You can also learn A LOT from working with kids classes. If your school has beginner classes try to make it to a few, to either assist the coach or just to watch before the adult class a few times a month. Observe the skills they are learning and the way it’s described to them, the verbiage is bound to be different and could make something click that you’ve been struggling with! Kids also ask a lot of questions, especially ones that adults are too embarassed to bring up- if you have one that you have convinced yourself not to ask because you think it’s “dumb” then chances are you’ll get the answer just by listening to a class. 

Enjoy your time as a blue belt, and have fun growing your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills! Though we all tend to be focused on the next big step (a stripe, a belt promotion), sometimes it’s better to just take it day by day and break it down a little more.

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Consider to check other related blogs

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White Belt with Black Stripe

BJJ Purple Belt

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