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Beware of the Blue Belt Blues

jiu jitsu belt rank - blue belt

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So you made it out of the beginner stage huh? Well, congratulations, the fun is just beginning! The next stage (and longest stage) you will find yourself in is the blue belt. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a journey that is more than worth it for a number of reasons. More people each day are waking up to the fact that Brazilian jiu-jitsu can, and will, change the life of the practitioner that takes the lessons learned on the mats and applies them across their life. Let’s take a deeper look into the first belt that BJJ practitioners receive after showcasing a higher skill level.

 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the blue belt represents that you have mastered the basics and proven to yourself and your instructor you have been extremely effective in many positions and show competence with several techniques. In this stage, just like all the others, new challenges and struggles will be introduced and it is your job to not only be aware of them but make it through the other side. How deep is your resolve? Let’s go deep into the jiu-jitsu blue belt and talk briefly about the blue belt blues.

BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU BLUE BELT

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt is the first huge accomplishment that you will receive on your journey through Jiu-Jitsu. Typically this belt takes about two years for someone to achieve. By no means is this an easy thing to accomplish. Time, dedication, and consistent effort are needed to get here.

Just like in the white belt stage, blue belts will receive stripes on their way to the next belt color which is purple. As the belts get darker the expectations of what you are capable of rising with it. Blue belts should actively compete and test their skills against people outside their training grounds, this is an excellent way to progress faster and showcase to those around you that you are ready for the next level.

belt rankings in jiu jitsu - bjj blue belt

It is common to get to this stage and feel a sense of imposter syndrome. Sometimes we feel as though we are “not ready” for that next belt and this is normal. Rest assured that your coach sees something in you if they move you up the ranks, no instructor in the BJJ community gives out belts to people who they do not think are worthy of it. 

If this is the way you are feeling, keep pushing, and be sure to not fall into the blue belt blues!

What Are the Blue Belt Blues?

Due to the nature of the sport of jiu-jitsu and the fact that it is so hard to rank up, most people will make it their biggest goal to accomplish getting a blue belt. What happens when people achieve a huge goal that they set out to achieve? Well, sometimes they slip into a slump or even go a complete 180 and lose interest entirely. This is what the blue belt blues are.

In your journey through the sport, you will have many ups and downs and for a good number of people, their first real test is at the blue belt stage. The “blues” is a term that signifies feeling uninterested, down, and to a degree depressed about something. It usually occurs when something that we have been focusing on actually materializes. After we accomplish a big goal and the grind is “over”, no matter how great it was, we often are left with a feeling of emptiness.

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Due to the nature of the sport of jiu-jitsu and the fact that it is so hard to rank up, most people will make it their biggest goal to accomplish getting a blue belt. What happens when people achieve a huge goal that they set out to achieve? Well, sometimes they slip into a slump or even go a complete 180 and lose interest entirely. This is what the blue belt blues are.

In your journey through the sport, you will have many ups and downs and for a good number of people, their first real test is at the blue belt stage. The “blues” is a term that signifies feeling uninterested, down, and to a degree depressed about something. It usually occurs when something that we have been focusing on actually materializes. After we accomplish a big goal and the grind is “over”, no matter how great it was, we often are left with a feeling of emptiness.

When you apply the term “blues” to jiu-jitsu it is easy to guess what is going on. The blue belt blues is not something to be dreading and most people will experience it. The blue belt stage is the most important stage you will go through in your journey through jiu-jitsu and also happens to be the longest.

Most people will find themselves at this stage for at least a year and a half up to three years.

adult belt system - blue belt

How to Prevent Blue Belt Blues

Now that you understand what the blues are, let’s talk a little bit about how to prevent them from happening. The real answer on how to get through this stage is to honestly just muscle through it. BJJ is not going to get any easier and these moments where you do not feel like going forward are really where your character is going to be forged. 

Do not take things so seriously. Why put pressure on yourself to get to the next stage faster? What is the reason you are feeling the way you are about jiu-jitsu? A couple of years down the road you will look back at this moment and realize that it was a great blessing to have gone through something that challenged your resolve. You will make it through the other side a better player and a better person.

Continue to have fun on the mats and always lean back on your why. In those moments in life where you start to question why you are doing something, going back on your why and the original reasons you started is a great way to get over the hump and make it through any kind of rough patch.

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blue belt - blue belt

It is recorded that only about 10% of white belts will make it to the blue belt level before quitting. Those that stick it out to this stage and continue to train BJJ will showcase a well-rounded skillset and have put ample amount of mat time on their backs.

Getting to the Next Level: Blue Belt

The second adult rank and your first big promotion while training Brazilian jiu-jitsu will be the Blue Belt level. The blue belt is a representation of an intermediate adult ranking, you are clearly better than a beginner but not quite at the level of expertise as a purple belt level practitioner, brown belt, or a black belt.

A blue belt promotion is a big deal. you have showcased to those around you that you have what it takes to move up the ranks in this BJJ journey. Your dedicated training, technical knowledge, and fundamental understanding is what move you to this stage. You should be proud of yourself for accomplishing this goal.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Blue Belt In BJJ?

Typically it take about two years of consistent training to get your blue belt. It is not common for a promotion to happen under 12 months but it can happen if someone has a good amount of wrestling experience. It is common for someone to get a promotion in between that 12 – 24 month timeframe after consistent amounts of training.

blue belts - blue belt jiu jitsu

Trials and Tribulations

The learning curve from the blue belt to the purple belt is much steeper than the previous stage. At the blue belt you already know basic techniques, sweeps, how to impose your will, and much more now the learning has to be taken into your own hands and you have to go deep to take your game to the next level. Sometimes your school may not have the curriculum to get you to that point so it is on you to seek out that knowledge and gain the expertise necessary to advance.

This belt can be very frustrating because you can experience many plateaus along the way. Getting to the next stage will not be easy and along the way, you will have many days where you feel like you are not getting any better or in some cases getting worse. You will have to push through these moments. Maybe your teammates are getting much better or maybe you had an off day, either way, trails will come but you must see them through. You are chasing after a belt (purple) that shows the first signs of expertise, this is no easy feat. The skills needed to get to the next level are much deeper than you may think.

What Should I Focus On As a Blue Belt?

  • Find 1 or 2 Positions to develop a high level of offensive strength
  • Do not neglect your defense. Defend and escapes from various positions
  • Get good wrestling
  • Learn all basic submissions and build systems to chain them together
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brazilain jiu jitsu blue belt

Why Do People Quit at Blue Belt?

People quit for all types of reasons. To pinpoint one exactly would be impossible. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not an easy martial art to rank up in but if you have been reading along you knew this from the beginning. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy anyways… if you continue to go after easy things, why are you even training Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the first place? You should have picked up pickleball if you wanted easy.

Getting to a blue belt is a lot of people’s goals when they start out in jiu-jitsu. They may not have aspirations to climb all the way to being a black belt and that is totally fine. The jump from blue belt to purple belt is such a large one and many people do not want to continue that climb into the next rank.

The fact of the matter is if you are a blue belt you could probably beat up 90% of people if you found yourself in a bad situation and needed to use BJJ for self-defense.

Is Blue Belt Hard to Get In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

The blue belt is not hard to get in Brazilian jiu-jitsu if you stay consistently training and get a good amount of mat time in. Do not be that guy (or girl) that is cocky the entire way to your blue belt, it is not a cake walk and the biggest factor in the decision to promote you is typically the time you’ve spent actually working on your craft.

Moving from white belt to blue belt you have showcased that you can hang with very experienced practitioners, you have well-rounded skills, strong defensive positioning, and are generally considered qualified to instruct lower-ranked students.

level

Graduation Guidelines For the Blue Belt Level

  • Know how to get out of inferior positions
  • Strong defensive game (emphasize escapes)
  • Dedicated to your training and bettering yourself
  • Basic offensive moves are mastered
  • Training for 12 – 24 months

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BJJ Belt System: Getting to Purple Belt

Getting to the purple belt might be the most challenging aspect of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The longest stage that someone will be in most cases is going to be the blue belt level. It is common for people to be here for 2 – 4 years depending on how often someone trains.

To be a purple belt-level practitioner you must remain consistent with your training, work on refining your technical knowledge and perfect almost all fundamental techniques. On your way to the purple belt, even more, people will be weeded out. The funnel keeps getting smaller and it is said that only 10% of blue belt-level practitioners will make it to this stage.

Purple belts are considered high-level practitioners alongside their peers of brown belts and black belts. BJJ practitioners will look up to you in the gym as you start to move through the ranks, it is important to set good examples for those around you as your progress into being a more experienced practitioner.

BJJ is going to be a long and wild ride. You should feel accomplished that you made it to a stage that only 10% of white belts make it to. Being where you are and being fully present in the moments, whether they are good or bad will be a game changer. Quitting should not be an option for you, you did not come this far only to come this far. The blue belt is the most important stage of your jiu-jitsu journey and I can guarantee you that you will make it through this!

Happy Rolling!

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