Three Reasons You May Want To Opt For A Lower Belt Instructor

Some people believe that if they have the choice between training under a black belt or a purple belt, the choice should be obvious: choose the black belt. 

But is that always correct? 

As far as I am concerned, no, no, and triple no. 

I have had the honor of training under some excellent black belts who ran some of the top gyms in their states.  I have also trained under purple belts in South Korea who taught groups of clumsy white belts in dank basements.

And do you know what? Both the black belts and the purple belts helped me improve my game significantly. 

In fact, sometimes the instruction I received from lower belts – that is, instructors who do not have a black belt –  turned out to be better than anything I had ever gotten from a black belt. 

Before I continue, I want to make a caveat.  No matter how good she is, your lower belt instructor should have a black belt professor whom she sees at least a few times a year.    

You are going to want your black belt some day,  but you cannot get it under your instructor unless she gets her black belt before you.  Someone, therefore, needs to give her a black belt. 

With that said, training solely under a lower belt can be equal to, or even better than, training under a black belt or even a red belt.      

Here are three reasons why.      

1.They generally have smaller schools

A purple belt or brown belt instructor will probably not attract as many students as a black belt . . . and there is nothing wrong with that, at least from a student perspective.    

Smaller classes mean more attention from the instructor and a better chance to befriend him.  Forming a friendship with your instructor means more chances to pick his brain for information, something that will help your technique improve exponentially. 

Naturally, smaller schools have fewer students to test your skills against than larger ones, but so long as there are enough students to challenge you, that should not be a problem. 

In general, small schools are good schools. 



  1. …Says the blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. With all of these ridiculous articles like this, someday you folks are gonna get exactly what you deserve. All the nice, well run ACADEMIES run by black belts are going to go out of business and all you will have left are the basement blue belts. Someday the chickens are gonna come home to roost.

  2. What a ridiculous article. My poor thumb would fall off if I even tried to explain how many ways this article explores the typical beginner mindset. But I am a 5th degree black belt, what could I have to offer? The author would probably bly rather hear some comments from a blue belt, so they could emotionally connect better. Hey, here’s an idea! Just watch you tube, why put up with any coaching at all?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here