What Do the Colored Bjj Belts Mean?

First BJJ Class
My original studio ~ Gracie Barra Escondido ~  December 2006

I ran across this article at Jiu-Jitsu Times, “What Do the Colored Bjj Belts Mean?” by Mark Mullen and thought it was worth passing on.  I agree with the author, but thought I’d add a few thoughts of my own for each belt color.

White Belt

  • during this stage of training you should be identifying your own physical limitations and deciding what to do about them (e.g. weight issues, flexibility issues, sleep patterns, etc.) … this goes along great with the theme of discovery and survival
  • don’t get upset when you can’t beat higher colored belts, especially black belts … they have those belts for a reason! (as a black belt it’s kind of insulting for a lower rank to throw a fit when they can’t submit me … I din’t buy this thing on eBay!)

Blue Belt

  • be sure to experiment in a well rounded manner – experiment with top games, guards, and favorite submissions from all positions (my friend Magid “Gorilla Hands” Hage IV did this with the baseball choke starting at the age of 12 and today he is world famous for it) so that you are a blue belt in all aspects of the game
  • what about those White Belt goals? (weight, flexibility, sleep, etc.) now’s the time to write down some Blue Belt health goals
  • don’t get upset when you can’t beat higher colored belts, especially black belts … they have those belts for a reason! (as a black belt it’s kind of insulting for a lower rank to throw a fit when they can’t submit me … I din’t buy this thing on eBay!)

Purple Belt

  • I think this is also the time to start thinking about your teaching methods … imagine yourself teaching the jiu-jitsu you know, could you do it? have you developed mental maps, drills, series of moves, etc.?
  • drill, drill, drill, drill and drill again … in fact, you should be creating your own drills based on techniques you have learned
  • also, learn to flow roll really well
  • what about those Blue Belt goals? now’s the time to write down some Purple Belt health goals
  • don’t get upset when you can’t beat higher colored belts, especially black belts … they have those belts for a reason! (as a black belt it’s kind of insulting for a lower rank to throw a fit when they can’t submit me … I din’t buy this thing on eBay!)

Brown Belt

  • hopefully you’re at a place where the instructor allows students the opportunity to develop their teaching game … if not, see the advice above for Purple Belt
  • I think Brown Belts should also be able to place themselves in a bad situation (give your back, roll straight into someone side control, etc.) and work their way out
  • keep drilling and flow rolling
  • what about those Purple Belt goals? now’s the time to write down some Brown Belt health goals
  • don’t get upset when you can’t beat higher colored belts, especially black belts … okay, I think you get it by now

Black Belt

  • are you having fun?
  • are you training in a way that you can train for life?
  • what about those Brown Belt goals?
  • are you living a jiu-jitsu life?
  • are you giving back to the next generation of jiu-jiteros?
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