The Blue Belt – Are you Ready for Yours?

One of the very common questions when a noob joins a bjj academy is “How long does it take to get a blue belt?”

Am honest question as goal oriented people want something tangible to strive for!
The short answer is “anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the instructor.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is far from standardized in its belt criteria for belt promotions.

As a black belt instructor there are 3 main things that I look for when determining that a white belt student is ready for their blue belt.

1) Can you defend yourself against a larger, heavier UNSKILLED opponent?
I love to see a 140lb blue belt who is able to use techniques to overcome a 180lbs + opponent.
Sweep them and come to the top; take their back and choke them, or recognize and get a straight arm bar when the inexperienced opponent pushes with straight arms.
This demonstrates something Grandmaster Helio Gracie said about a blue belt (and I am paraphrasing):
“A blue belt should have the skills to control and submit a larger, stronger untrained opponent. ”

It is difficult to fault this definition.
If you have learned to effectively apply the basic techniques of bjj in all of the major positions – against a fully resisting opponent – the result should be that you can successfully defend yourself against a heavier, stronger unskilled opponent.

2) Do you have an understanding of what are considered the basic techniques for each major ground position?
I want to see if you have any major holes in your jiu-jitsu.
Do you have techniques that you know how to use in half guard top / half guard bottom…etc?
You need to understand what you are trying to do technically in every major ground position.
Know how to work the spider guard like the second coming of Romulo Barral…but can’t pass the guard or keep your balance and base on top?
You have some work to do before blue!

3) Stop making noob mistakes!
When new students start bjj they are:
– straightening their arms to push opponents off of mount
– giving their backs to the opponent to escape bottom
– leaving an arm inside to be triangled while passing guard
– trying to use super human bench presses to escape side control
– attempting to choke an opponent who is mounted on them and so on…

If your white belt is getting heavy with stripes, analyze your game to see if your jiu-jitsu shows any of these points. Maybe that blue is coming at next promotions day!


  1. Interesting stance, you are effectively running your own business as an instructor yet disrespect your paying customers first instincts to ask questions and then call them a noob? Don’t understand how you got your black belt with that attitude. Respect runs both ways and expecting newbies to have the reserved thoughtful approach to intelligent questioning early shows you are still to gain the emotional resilience to “noob” questions that a real black belt has. Black belt is only the beginning…


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