The Blue Belt Move Collector

Certain habits in training BJJ tend to occur at specific stages of a student’s study.

I have observed many blue belts enter a stage of learning often called “The Move Collector”.

Most of the Jiu-jitsu Times readers will know someone who is a Move Collector (MC). Some of you might even be an MC!

I see blue belt as the BJJ belt of experimentation. It is a period of development where the student has enough mat experience and command of the fundamentals (base and posture) to productively use more advanced positions. Blue belts should be trying all positions to see what works for them and will part of their A game.

An MC however, falls in love with the latest techniques that the top guys winning the Pans and Mundials are using. Forget drilling the tried and true basic techniques! The answer to their jiu-jitsu development is to be found in the newest Keenan Cornelius lapel guard that none of their training partners are familiar with. The MC is constantly chasing the next new move they can surprise their opponents with.

It is enormously satisfying to the MC to hit a move that they watched on YouTube the night before on a training partner who had zero idea how to defend it. But that surprise factor is short-lived and difficult to repeat. So now you need another new move!

I have observed a blue belt MC see the technique taught in that day’s BJJ class and shrug their shoulders in disappointment. “Oh, I’ve see that before,” he said before he completely lose interest. “Let me show you what the Miyao brothers did in the last superfight!”

The truth is that most advanced students will likely pass through this phase of learning and return to refining the basics. There is a difference in the details and precision in how a black belt executes a straight arm lock from the mount to how a white or blue belt executes the same technique. This is where the true knowledge and skill in jiu-jitsu lies.

By all means, unleash your creativity and explore the different positions in jiu-jitsu, but don’t think that getting good at BJJ is merely a matter of accumulating the greatest number of moves. It is more how you perform the moves, not how many moves you know.


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