Lex Fridman Claims His Brown Belt Was Toughest Jiu-Jitsu Rank to Earn

In Huberman Lab podcast episode “Dr Lex. Fridman: Navigating Conflict, Finding Purpose & Maintaining Drive,” podcaster, computer science researcher, and jiu-jitsu enthusiast Lex Fridman opens up on his own jiu-jitsu journey. When asked which BJJ belt rank was most difficult to achieve, he offers the following response. (Spoilers: it wasn’t the black belt.)

“Everybody has a different journey through jiu-jitsu, as people know. For me, the black belt was the ceremonial belt, which is not usually the case. Because I fought the wars; I trained twice a day for, I don’t know how many years, seven or eight years, I competed nonstop, I competed against people much better than me, I’ve competed against and beaten many black belts and brown belts.

“I think for me personally, the hardest belt was the brown belt. Because for people who know jiu-jitsu, the size of tournament divisions for blue belts and purple belts is just humongous […] so I just had to put in a lot of work during that time. And especially for competitors, instructors usually really make you earn a belt. So to earn the purple belt was extremely difficult. And to earn the brown belt means I had to compete nonstop against other purple belts which are young […] The people that usually compete are like 23, 24, 25-year-olds, who are like, shredded with incredible cardio. […] They can dedicate everything to the pursuit of their training two, three, four times a day, diet is on point.”

“And for me, because they’re usually bigger and taller than me, and just more aggressive actual good athletes, yeah, I had to go through a lot of wars to earn that brown belt.”


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