PURPLE TO BROWN BELT BJJ
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a long and complicated journey, there are many roadblocks that a practitioner will face on their way through the belt rankings. Moving through the ranks takes extreme dedication, consistency, technical proficiency and a willingness to learn. Most practitioners will never make it as far as the brown belt level, as reaching the purple belt bjj level is where a lot of practitioners will stay.
What This Article Covers:
- How The Journey Begins
- The Blue Belt Phase
- Purple Belt Stage
- Earning The Brown Belt
- What Are The Reasons For Purple Belts Stagnating
- What Are The Expectations of a BJJ Brown Belt
- What Is The Timeframe of a Brown Belt Promotion
Striving for the higher levels of Brown belt Jiu Jitsu and Black belt bjj is where many practitioners should be focusing their energy. The rewards of pushing towards those higher levels far outweighs the acceptance of staying at those middle belt levels. BJJ practitioners at the higher levels are exceptionally talented with athletic abilities, even though they are ferocious on the mats they also have a sense of calmness. A brown belt has a wealth of knowledge and skill that is in a lot of ways just as dangerous as a black belt's skill.
HOW THE JOURNEY BEGINS
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu begins with a student starting from the white belt level, and for the majority of beginners it is an extremely tough Martial Art to wrap their head around. All beginners start off not knowing how to improve their skills, but with the right guidance they will achieve many of the bjj White belt goals they set.
White belts are often bewildered by the complexity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the smart play is to follow the details set out by the higher belts. There is a reason why someone is wearing a coloured belt, so it is wise to follow their guidance. During a white belt's rise through the ranks they should be learning the art of humility and knowing when to set their ego aside and allow someone to teach them. In a lot of cases students are their own worst enemies by being stubborn and thinking they know everything, allowing a higher belt to teach them even if they are younger, is a lesson some beginners will need to learn if they want to succeed.
White belts should stay away from the more complex movements and stick to the fundamentals of BJJ. Learning the foundations is the building block to a strong Jiu Jitsu game. It is tremendously important for white belts to stick to the Jiu Jitsu White belt moves and steer clear of the more tempting higher belt moves they find on YouTube. Students will need to show a hard work ethic and become patient, as progression can take a long time. As long as a student keeps showing up and giving their all they are destined for promotion.
THE BLUE BELT PHASE
Earning a blue belt promotion is an exciting time for a student, as they will be happy to jump out of level one. A student must trust in their instructor's ability as a coach and let the belt change empower them. It can be scary moving up to the next level but it truly is a feeling like no other. As a student goes up in rank they are also expected to follow a new set of guidelines.
After a student has had their belt upgraded to the blue belt bjj level, they will start to feel like they are getting somewhere. From the shaky start as a white belt to the more purposeful reality of being a blue belt, the maturity from belt to belt is easy to see. It is common to see blue belts start to impose themselves on the mats, as they will feel like they have something to prove and of course they don't want to get beaten by a beginner.
Blue belts will start to gravitate towards helping the beginners at their academy, they were once a beginner so to pass on their experience is a massive help for the white belts. Blue belts will usually set the competition scene alight, as they use the tournament process as a way to fast track their progression. Students will spend at least two years in their new rank as they begin their skill shift from Blue To Purple belt bjj.
PURPLE BELT STAGE
Earning a purple belt is an amazing honour, as a student will realise they are at the halfway point in the journey. Purple belt bjj is one of the most exciting times for a practitioner as they are fast becoming one of the leaders at their academy. Purple belts should be displaying a considerable amount of knowledge and showcasing a formidable warrior on the training mats. This phase is a time for students to develop their strategy for baiting and trapping their opponents.
At this level is where purple belts will begin developing how to be a better coach, as they usually take younger belts under their tutelage. A good purple belt will not be phased if younger belts submit them, as they will be more focused on exploring through all aspects of their game style. As they become a leader they will often assist their coaches with kids and adult classes, they may even take control of certain classes so their instructors can easily assess their teaching ability.
Some students become highly motivated by their new role and start to develop their skills exponentially. Purple belts may enter the competition arena, as some have a new lease on BJJ. Not all purple belts are intent on competing, instead they will focus more on refining and developing certain concepts they discover. Trying to build the skills to gain promotion to a brown belt can prove extremely tricky, as a low percentage of purple belts make it to the next level.
Let's have a look at some of the aspects involved with trying to gain a brown belt promotion.
- Purple belts will need to enhance their ability to coach, by sharing their knowledge and helping to develop younger members of their academy.
- Developing their game styles to incorporate a flow of submission chain attacks.
- Looking at new concepts and learning how to integrate them into their repouture.
- If possible try and compete so they can battle test their skill set in a more volatile situation.
EARNING THE BROWN BELT
It is statistics that not a lot of purple belts reach the brown belt level, only thirty five percent of those students will reach the last step before the black belt bjj level. It is quite common to see students either stop reaching higher than purple or stagnate in that belt rank. There are many reasons for this like injuries and other life commitments, some students are just happy to reach a belt they never thought they would achieve.
There is a special breed of practitioner that will take confidence from becoming a purple belt and use it as a springboard to go further into the belt rankings. When a student becomes a brown belt it is because they have supreme technical knowledge and ability on the mats. Many brown belts will attempt to impress their coaches by showing their calm and ferocious nature on the competition mats, although competing is not mandatory it is however a great way to fast track towards becoming a black belt
At this stage of their evolution brown belts will be exceptionally confident within their attitude towards training. They will know their own game style inside and out, as they will have a multitude of attacks, counter attacks and a knack for baiting and setting traps. They will be formidable even against black belts as their refined skills are basically on the same level. Brown belts will also have a significant coaching ability and will usually run some of the classes at their academy, some of these students may even have built their own academy as they make a push towards the Black belt.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR PURPLE BELTS STAGNATING
There are many factors involved as to why a purple belt may struggle to reach the next level. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an amazing Martial Art, but it can be a long and hard road to walk. It can take a student up to ten years to achieve a purple belt, and after spending that long in the sport students can decide they have achieved enough as they look at opening new chapters in their lives. Injuries can also play a big role as many students do suffer from certain injuries, and in some cases it might just be enough to slow them down or make them retire from the sport. In BJJ students are put in compromising positions and if a student is middle aged or beyond this can be the contributing factor to why an injury occurs.
Other reasons why students seem to stagnate at the middle level is they might not have an appetite to coach, and without becoming a coach it becomes very hard to progress beyond the purple belt level. Some students will have life changing commitments like a new job or they will become a parent, issues like these almost always result in a student showing less continuity with their Jiu Jitsu. Instead of training three to five times a week they will drop down considerably to once a week or even disappear for weeks at a time, making it next to impossible for a coach to consider them for a promotion.
Sometimes students that reach the middle belt are just happy that they made it this far and will be content to stay at the purple belt level. Moving past the purple phase means more expectations and responsibilities, so some students are just happy to stay under the radar. Sometimes other reasons can be because the student just does not have the skills or the athleticism to evolve past the middle belt level, although this is a sad factor it still remains to be true. These kinds of students may never understand how to get a Black belt in bjj, and that is okay because becoming a black or a brown belt is just not for everyone.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF A BJJ BROWN BELT
Becoming a brown belt is a huge honour but it comes with huge responsibility and expectations. When a student wears such a high level around their waist it means they must be a representative of the academy, this means they must be a leader and an example for others to follow. They will need to be on their game always because their Jiu Jitsu skill is a product of their instructors lineage, so there is a need for constant evolution. Brown belts are role models to the kids and the lower belts, so their presence of mind is constantly being replicated by many of their academy members.
Students of this calibre will also need to be proficient with their technical abilities, as they will be called upon to teach many of the students. They will also need to be able to answer any questions that other members of their club have, so brown belts will need to be able to think on the fly. Jiu Jitsu is problem solving so brown belts will have to develop a strong sense of critical thinking. Brown belts are not required to compete, but if they do then that can only inspire the lower belts. It is always a good idea for a brown belt to test their skills in tournaments as it will only increase their ability and their standing within the academy. They will also need to be ferocious on the training mats as the higher belts will need solid training partners, but they will also have to adapt their BJJ so when they roll the lower belts they are showing good nurturing skills.
WHAT IS THE TIMEFRAME OF A BROWN BELT PROMOTION
Earning a promotion to a high level like the brown belt can take quite a long time. Different instructors will have different criteria for a student to reach that level, it really is up to the student when they receive their promotion. This means that a student needs to work extremely hard and force the hand of their coaches. Some students will achieve this honour in quick fashion, but that is largely due to a student training between five and ten sessions per week, which is only possible for certain students.
There are some key factors involved for a student to earn fast promotions. These include having a natural ability, as some students are born extremely gifted with learning capabilities or have a natural athleticism. If a student trains really consistently and shows ferocity on the competition mats throughout their journey, they will be in line for fast promotions and may even earn this in only a few years. Not everyone has the capacity to train as much as others, so for these students they will just need to keep showing up and show dedication to their academy. When a student works really hard and practices techniques time and time again, and shows continuity within their training then they will eventually be promoted to their desired belt level. Most students will take at least six to eight years to earn a brown, and some over ten years, so it can be a really long journey.
If a student is lucky enough to gain a promotion to the brown belt level, they will most certainly reach the coveted black belt. Not everyone who trains in BJJ will reach this exceptional goal, so for the ones that do they are in a small percentage of high level Martial Artists. Unlike other Martial Arts it takes a long time to become a black belt and even longer to reach the coral belt bjj and red belt bjj levels. Although it is an extremely long journey, it is filled with fun and rewarding moments, so don't waste another minute and join your local academy today.
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