How to Reach Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - The Challenge is Real!
Posted on May 23 2023
Insider advice on how to reach Blue Belt in Jiu-Jitsu
Reaching blue belt is a huge step for any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athlete. From day one of white belt, it takes an average of two to three years to reach this level; there are many areas to master before you'll be deemed ready.
The path can be challenging and feel downright difficult at times. But we got you! Below are some key tips to help you on your way.
What is the blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu?
First up, let's cover our basics. The blue belt is the second belt in the adult ranking system of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is often seen as a significant milestone in someone’s BJJ journey, as it can indicate a solid understanding of the fundamental techniques, positions, and principles of Jiu Jitsu. These skills are developed, practiced, and honed until they are second nature and can be applied during live sparring sessions against resisting opponents.
Despite the rank of blue belt still being considered a beginner rank in BJJ, a blue belt may have developed a game plan that works for them in training, and even tried their hand at competition.
Bear in mind, the time it takes to reach blue belt can vary widely. High level college wrestlers, football players, or generally athletic people, may pick up the art of jiu jitsu a lot faster than others. Compare your progress only to your goals, you are on this journey for a long time.
Setting Goals and Tracking Progress
When asking any seasoned black belt their advice on how best to improve at Jiu Jitsu, almost without fail the first thing they would say is “just keep turning up”. That is simple yet valuable advice. No matter where you are now, you can be better tomorrow. Growth is only achieved through consistency. Your goals need to feed that consistency.
A big part of that consistency is undoubtably a large amount of laundry! You’ll be a black belt in laundry long before you are a black belt in Jiu Jitsu - as we recommend you cool-wash and hang-dry our Venum Jiu Jitsu Gis, rashguards and fightshorts, make sure you’re well stocked so you can head to training tomorrow!
To achieve the blue belt, it is crucial to set achievable goals and track your progress throughout the journey. Start by defining specific and measurable goals. For example, you can aim to dive into a particular technique or position, or partake in a certain number of competitions. Breaking these goals down into smaller, manageable steps makes tracking progress more effective and helps maintain motivation.
Create a comprehensive training plan tailored to your goals, including regular training sessions, drilling sessions, and competition preparation. Keep a record of your training sessions, and competition results to identify areas of improvement and focus your attention accordingly.
Seek feedback from your coach and training partners to refine your training plan and stay accountable.
"Each sparring session becomes a laboratory of experimentation, where success and failure intertwine to shape a practitioner's skillset."
Sparring and Rolling
Sparring, also known as rolling, serves as a crucial aspect of training. It is during these live grappling sessions that practitioners have the opportunity to test their techniques against resisting opponents, honing their skills in the process. Beyond the physical aspects, sparring teaches invaluable lessons of resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning.
Sparring provides a fertile ground for growth and improvement in BJJ. Unlike drilling techniques in a controlled environment, rolling exposes practitioners to the unpredictable nature of real combat. It is in this chaos that true learning takes place. Each sparring session becomes a laboratory of experimentation, where success and failure intertwine to shape a practitioner's skillset.
One of the fundamental aspects of sparring is the ability to embrace failure. In BJJ, each failure becomes an opportunity for growth. Every submission that eludes your grasp, every position you struggle to escape from, and every sweep that catches you off guard serves as a lesson to be learned. By recognizing these failures as valuable stepping stones on your journey, you can refine your techniques and develop a deeper understanding of the art.
The old adage, ‘Fall down 9 times, get up 10’ applies to the blue belt journey, and you’re going to fall down a lot more than 9 times so be sure to protect your teeth, ears, and knees with some of our protective equipment.
To maximize the benefits of sparring, it is important to train with partners of varying sizes and ranks. By exposing yourself to different body types and skill levels, you gain a broader understanding of the art. Rolling with larger opponents teaches you the importance of technique and leverage, while testing your skills against higher-ranked practitioners challenges your abilities and reveals areas for improvement. Embrace these diverse experiences as opportunities to expand your horizons and elevate your game.
Sparring exposes your weaknesses and limitations. Keep a mental note of the positions you struggle to escape from and discuss them with your instructor and peers. Seeking guidance on overcoming these challenges will help you develop effective strategies and improve your overall game. Remember, BJJ is a journey of constant growth, and recognizing your weaknesses is a vital step towards progress.
While it's natural to be eager for submissions, it is important to set your priorities during sparring. Instead of solely focusing on securing submissions, shift your attention towards not getting submitted yourself. By prioritizing defense and survival, you develop a strong foundation of resilience and patience. Additionally, strive to gain top positions and maintain control, as this improves your overall dominance on the mats.
"Through competition, you can identify gaps in your skills and areas that require further improvement, helping you refine your training efforts and develop a more well-rounded game."
Attending Seminars and Competitions
Participating in BJJ seminars presents an incredible opportunity to learn from world-class instructors. These seminars gather seasoned practitioners and enthusiasts, offering an environment conducive to growth and exploration. The instructors, often renowned black belts or high-ranking competitors, share their expertise, refined techniques, and valuable insights into the art of BJJ.
For example, Jiu-Jitsu Con is a well-known seminar held by the IBJJF every year. The biggest teams will usually have their high level competitors teach something unique!
During these seminars, it is essential to be an active participant. Take notes diligently, capturing key concepts, techniques, and details that resonate with you. By recording these insights, you create a personal archive of knowledge that can serve as a valuable reference point for your training and development. Small details, such as hand placement, hip movement, or weight distribution, can significantly impact the outcome of a technique.
Note-taking helps reinforce your understanding of the material and facilitates better retention of the techniques demonstrated.
While competition is not a prerequisite for promotion in BJJ, it offers unique benefits that can enrich your journey as a practitioner. Competing allows you to test your skills against opponents from different backgrounds, providing invaluable insights into the effectiveness of your techniques and overall game.
Through competition, you can identify gaps in your skills and areas that require further improvement, helping you refine your training efforts and develop a more well-rounded game.
In addition to individual techniques, competitions also emphasize the underlying principles and concepts that drive success in BJJ. The pressure and intensity of a match force you to execute techniques efficiently, think strategically, and adapt to dynamic situations. By focusing on the bigger picture, rather than just isolated techniques, you develop a deeper understanding of the art and its application in real-world scenarios.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
As you embark on your journey towards earning a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, it's worth exploring the benefits of embracing a healthy lifestyle. While it's not a strict requirement, integrating certain practices into your routine can greatly enhance your training and overall well-being. Here are some suggestions to consider:
One aspect to focus on is maintaining a balanced diet. By making mindful choices about the foods you consume, you can provide your body with the necessary fuel for optimal performance on the mats. Incorporating nutritious foods will not only support your training but also contribute to your overall health and well-being.
Hydration is another key element to prioritize. By staying properly hydrated before, during, and after training sessions, you can prevent fatigue and support your body's natural recovery processes. This simple yet vital practice can have a significant impact on your energy levels and overall performance.
Getting sufficient sleep is crucial for your body's recovery and mental clarity. Prioritizing rest allows your muscles to recover and repair, while also ensuring your mind is fresh and focused during training. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule that allows you to wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the challenges ahead.
Incorporating stretching, warm-up, and cool-down routines into your training regimen can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and improve your overall flexibility. By dedicating time to these practices, you'll not only enhance your physical performance but also promote longevity in your jiu-jitsu journey.
Having the right workout equipment can help you with any off-the-mat training you might do to supplement Jiu Jitsu! Strength and conditioning is valuable to help protect your joints, and Yoga has proven very popular as it can help recovering the nagging injuries picked up in training. Find some of our best sellers here:
Working on your health and overall wellness can amplify your training experience and positively impact other areas of your life. After all, this is all about finding a balance that works for you and supports your goals on and off the mats.
Being a Good Training Partner
Advancing to blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu requires more than just personal growth; it entails becoming a valuable training partner as well. Demonstrating respect and attentiveness towards your fellow trainees and instructors is crucial. Embrace constructive criticism wholeheartedly and seize opportunities to provide valuable insights when appropriate, thus cultivating a training environment that is both positive and conducive to progress.
Remember, as a practitioner, your role does not extend to coaching others, even if they are fellow white belts. Acknowledge the vast expanse of knowledge yet to be acquired and humbly recognize the limits of your understanding.
Adopt the mindset of a sponge, eager to absorb every bit of knowledge and wisdom presented to you.
The journey from white belt to blue belt and beyond in BJJ demands dedication, hard work, patience and consistency.
Remember, the blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu is just the beginning of your BJJ journey, so enjoy the process, keep learning, and strive for continuous improvement. The concepts and ideas outlined in this article are exactly that, ideas. It is up to you to be a self-directed, independent and dedicated student to the game.