I Just Got My Blue Belt In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, What Should I Be Working On?

After the new blue belt was tied around his waist and he endured a good natured belt whipping gauntlet (I’m not the biggest fan, but the students were excited to do it) we had a chance to chat.

First I said congrats on the blue belt. I added importantly “You deserve your new belt.” It is amazing how many new belts (even experienced purple and brown belts) secretly feel that they are undeserving of their new belts. I think psychologists call it imposter syndrome. It is more common than you think. It can settle that self doubt to have a training partner say simply that you are worthy of that new belt.

The new blue belt asked “What should a blue belt be working on?”

A simple and true answer would be “Just keep training.” But that is hardly a satisfying answer. Nor does it really help anyone focus their own learning. I am a big proponent of students starting to direct their own training and form their own game once they have a couple of years experience.

I have two main pieces of advice.

1) Fill your game out under the positional hierarchy.

The Positional Hierarchy:

Rear mount
Knee on belly
Side control
Half mount
Guard top / Guard Bottom
Turtle top / Turtle Bottom
Half guard bottom
Side control Bottom
Knee on belly bottom
Mount bottom
Rear mount bottom

Q: Do you have two or three solid techniques that you can recall and perform while rolling? Do you have any obvious holes in the positional game? Focus on having a balanced and complete game in every position in the positional hierarchy.

2) Experiment!

I call the blue belt the belt of experimentation. A blue belt should posess adequate fundamentals of base, posture, mat fitness, balance, knowledge, and flexibility to try the more advanced positions such as the various open guards.

A blue belt also can control the roll against less experienced white belts and get to the positions that they wish to add to their game. It’s an ideal situation for someone who is trying to work on a position to add to their game.

For a new blue belt in an academy where there are not many advanced students, there is increased pressure that accompanies the blue belt. Sometimes they can feel that blue belt is a target for the hungry up-and-coming white belts.

Try not to let that contribute to the dreaded “blue belt blues”. Enjoy the accomplishment and keep training!


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