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White Belt BJJ: What Should I Focus On?

white belt bjj

Table of Contents

Jiu-Jitsu cultivates mental and physical toughness and welcomes anyone willing to work. Being a white belt in BJJ is the first step to a long journey. You took a big step by deciding to take responsibility for your improvement and you should be proud but the work is just starting. This article discusses what you should focus on while being a white belt in BJJ.


The white belt in BJJ symbolizes the beginning of a long but very fruitful journey within the martial art of jiu-jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that will humble you, build you up, and teach you hundreds of lifelong lessons as you progress and spend more time on the mats.

You are a beginner and it is time to put your student hat on. This martial art is chalked full of things to learn so if you enjoy learning new things you made the right choice for exercises.

new challenges

What Should You Focus On As A White Belt?

When starting out in jiu-jitsu there are several things that you should be laser-focused on, especially in your first year of training. But before we jump into those things that you should focus on, let’s quickly mention something you should not be focused on: belts and ranking up fast

The quickest way to discourage yourself along the way is to get so wrapped up in the external validation that you receive from winning competitions or ranking up fast. Those things are cool but they come with time, focus on these things first.


You need to get honest with yourself about how much time you are willing to put into the sport. Iron out your goals early so it is easier to come up with an answer. How often you train has an impact on how good you can and will get. If you are training about three times a week we believe you are getting the best bang for your buck and will progress relatively quickly. Whatever you decide, stay consistent!

belt rank - blue belts are consistent


In your first year of training, you should try to learn everything under the sun. Now, you probably won’t remember everything you absorb but getting at least introduced to it should be enough. We post daily content on our Instagram showing moves that will make you better so be sure to check that out!

You can find techniques all over the internet. Youtube and Instagram are great sources for you to find new things or solidify things that you are currently learning.

Building Good Relationships

One of the best things about jiu-jitsu is the brotherhood that you find yourself a part of. The stronger the bonds you build within the gym the harder it will be for you to “let them down”. Remember people’s names, make new friends, and build good relationships. After all, these are the people you will be promoted with along your journey to becoming a black belt!

Less Memorization

Touching back on the technique topic – try not to memorize everything. It won’t help you will probably forget about 95% of whatever you try to cram in your head. This is not a school exam, you will not be tested on telling me exactly how a kimura works.

progression in the belt ranking system

Progress Over External Validation

After just a short six months of training the progress, you will make in your game will be jaw-dropping. Always be sure to focus on this. Getting better just by 1% a day is a huge difference over time.

Becoming The Greatest Version of Yourself

You are actively taking responsibility for becoming a better version of yourself when you decide to sign that contract and join a jiu-jitsu gym. You committed to yourself and we want to help you along the way. This journey is a long one and we want you to get everything out of it that you possibly want. If you continue to show up, over time your game will form and you will rank up. You’ll have to overcome many obstacles along the way but we want to empower you to just keep grinding!

white belt level to blue belt level

White Belt Expectations

The only expectation that anyone should have on you as a white belt is that you put your best foot forward to progress at the speed you are willing to move at. What this means is that if you are wanting to move onto the next stage just show up and be the student that goes above and beyond to understand the techniques you are trying to learn.

The facts say that only 10% of white belts will stick around long enough to make it to their blue belt. The numbers only get smaller as you move farther up the later to the colored belts (purple belt, brown belt, black belt).

Build good habits at this stage in your training. You may want to start taking health and wellness a bit more seriously as you start to get into your grove of training. More experienced training partners will tell you that if you just show up, learn, and apply your knowledge on the mats your blue belt is well on its way.

brazilain jiu jitsu white belt

White Belt: New Beginnings

We are so excited for you to start this journey of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It will be a life-changing experience for a lot of you reading this, we know it was for us. We saw a pretty awesome video today on Instagram saying the biggest leap someone can take is this one. This journey is going to be one that you will cherish for the rest of your life. White belts are all here for the same thing, to learn a new skill and have fun while doing so.

bjj journey - the white belt

Introduction to Belt Rank System – White to Blue

The first big test that you will have is going from a complete beginner as a white belt to going to an intermediate athlete as a blue belt. This typically takes most people 12 – 24 months to accomplish depending on how often you are finding yourself training. Obviously the more you train the faster you will progress.

Colored belts are not easy to obtain in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This martial art is notorious for the slow progression of its practitioners but it’s done for a reason. Slow progression over long periods of time teaches us the values and principles that will carry over in almost all aspects of our lives. The patience and determination needed to make it through the ranks in this martial art is a skill in of its own.

skill level increases


Setting early, obtainable, and controllable goals in Brazilian jiu jitsu is a must if you want to keep yourself motivated and moving up. The best way to to stay motivated is to truly focus on those controllable items and not things like stripes and belts because at the end of the day, someone else is going to decide if you move up or not.

What can you control in 99% of situations?

  • Your attitude
  • You showing up and working hard
  • The time you spend understanding moves
  • Nutrition and what goes into your body

Set those early goals and focus on the controllable items. It is extremely important not only on the mats but in everyday life.

belt system


In BJJ, you will have mini promotions in-between the larger ones known as striping.

Four stripes on one belt mean you have effectively maxed out that belt and are close to that next move up.

Typically coaches at gyms have a 6-month promotional window. If you show up often and work hard stripes come naturally. There is not something you can do in particular that will get you stripes faster, remember this is something that we do not have complete control over so it is not worth your energy or time to focus on this.

blue belt - white belt bjj

BJJ Belt System: Blue Belt

What you are aiming for as you progress in the white belt stage is the coveted Blue Belt.

Students at the Blue Belt level will have a strong idea of how they should attack. A student with the coveted blue belt can use good defensive tactics and can escape major positions with ease in most cases.

At this stage, you would still be considered a beginner in some respect but chances are you’re still making fundamental errors, but you’re keeping enough knowledge to take the right steps. As the blue belt, you realize skills are missing or crucial techniques that need cleaning up. When a blue belt is achieved, the ability to increase independence and confidence will grow.

The blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the belt that you will spend the majority of your time at. At a minimum expect 2 years as a blue belt but in some cases, the grind up to a purple belt can take an added 4 more years. Getting to the Purple belt is a serious accomplishment because by this time majority of people have given up on getting to this point.

Athletes over the age of 16 years old can receive this belt. If an athlete is under 16 they will just progress within the realm of the kids ranking system.


1 thought on “White Belt BJJ: What Should I Focus On?”

  1. Pingback: BJJ Belt System: Kids & Adults Belts - Grapplers Graveyard

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