Making it out of the blue belt stage and going into the era of a purple belt is a massive accomplishment. You have dedicated some serious time to the mats and have showcased to others that you are truly committed to the sport. In this article, we discuss what a purple belt is, how long it takes to accomplish, requirements, and things that you should be focusing on at this stage.
Purple Belt BJJ
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt demonstrates an aptitude and commitment to BJJ far beyond the earlier ranks and understands that they are halfway to the ultimate goal of making it to a black belt. This is the stage where someone is showing the first signs of expertise in the sport of jiu-jitsu.
Getting to this rank is very difficult, you have to showcase that you have definitive skills. Whether those skills are BJJ strategy, a wide knowledge base, or extremely refined technique, it is present when you are at this stage in your BJJ career.
Many purple belts will admit that this is the first time that they start to feel pressure on the mats because they are now viewed as an advanced practitioner. It is common for purple belts to start taking people under their wings and start helping lower belts get sharper in their technique so they too can one day reach this stage. Some days you will still feel like a blue belt and others will feel like you should already get your promotion to black, the key is to stay level and put forth the effort to see the job all the way through.
The Time it Takes to Accomplish
Getting to the purple belt is no easy accomplishment and does take some serious time to get to. On average we see people get their purple belt at years 5-6 of training consistently. Everything is relative though and everyone’s circumstances are going to be different. Some people may receive the belt faster just due to their god-given ability to pick things up quickly or maybe they have a coach that promoted them fast, who knows.
We always tell people that belts, stripes, and trophies should never be their focus, it should always be getting just 1% better each time. Everything else will play out the way it will play out. At the end of the day, those things like medals, belts, and stripes are very pleasing to receive but they only come when someone is so head down focused on getting better at what they do.
Purple Belt BJJ Requirements
Most instructors will tell you that the purple belt is the first sign of expertise. This is where your “game” is forged. The people that move quickly to the black belt from this stage are the ones that harness and perfected a style of play that suits them. When you get to this level you will be a great strategic BJJ thinker and truly be developing the ground floor of getting to the highest levels of jiu-jitsu.
Things that you did from earlier stages will start to click and make sense once you hit the purple belt. You will be able to piece together things quickly and people in your gym will be able to lean on you for advice on specific things.
Here are some Purple Belt Requirements:
- At least 5 years of training in most cases. 400 – 700 hours of mat time.
- First sign of expertise – acquired enough knowledge and skill of jiu-jitsu that you could coach someone else *if you wanted to)
- Firm application of a large number of technical skills
- Start to learn and develop a style that suits your body and personality. Essentially at this stage, you should start specializing.
Reminder: This is just our interpretation of this belt. Be sure to ask your coach what they look for because they will be the ones promoting you.
What Should I Focus On?
- Do not skip warm-ups, it sets a bad example to those around you. The culture in your school is one of the most important things to maintain and as a higher belt, it is part of your responsibility to foster that.
- Make a system for your game. Learn to chain your attacks and hone in on those. Have a pathway to victory in almost all positions or a pathway out of most bad positions.
- Expand your learning outside of jiu-jitsu. Look into striking.
- Help out lower ranks and the new people in the school. You do not have to step into a teaching position but you should be someone to lean on.
The Path is Clear
Once you make it to this stage in the game your path is starting to get very clear. A purple belt in jiu-jitsu is officially the halfway point to making it a black belt, something that we all strive to do when we first started this journey. Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that takes a lot of time to perfect and reach the highest level and as a purple belt, you have all the ingredients to make it here.
Effectively if you make it to this stage your path to black is pretty much guaranteed IF you continue to put in the time, effort, and same level of consistency that you put in when you were a white or blue belt. Continue to stay in the mindset of being a student to the game and making it through this point will be smooth sailing. The things this belt requires and expects out of you are more strict than what you will experience at any other belt you have been given before.
Our view on what each belt means is not the only interpretation that you should take in. Everything around the definitions of belts is subjective, be sure to ask your coach about their philosophy around the belt so you can get a better idea about the expectations that are being put on you. You have reached a stage that many people before you could never imagine reaching, you should be exceptionally proud of the accomplishment. You are halfway to making it to the top! No looking back at this point!