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


2.Many lower belts know all the techniques black belts know . . . and maybe more

To quote my former instructor, Mark Mullen, “a purple belt knows all of the techniques that a black belt knows, the difference lays in the details and precision of execution of those same techniques.” 

A jiu-jitsu brown belt knows even more.  According to the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood:

Although not yet a master of the art there will be very, very few positions or situations a brown belt is unfamiliar with. By now you will have your own style and will probably be recognized as a top-player, bottom-player, all-rounder etc.

Instructors of both ranks can therefore teach you much of what a black belt knows, but with the added benefits of smaller classes and more attention.     

A lower belt may even be able to teach you more than a black belt.       

The purple belt in your town may have ten years of judo under his belt, or he may be an NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion.  Instructors with a solid base in grappling arts outside of jiu-jitsu can help you add moves to your arsenal that few in the jiu-jitsu community know proficiently.       

A well-rounded grappling game consisting of jiu-jitsu, judo, and wrestling is important for anyone who wants to be lethal on the mats.  If a lower belt can help you attain that game better than a black belt, go with the lower belt.        

3.Black belts are not necessarily better teachers

Despite all of their knowledge, some black belts are horrible teachers.    

You might have a BJJ black belt in your city who can execute moves that would leave a Jedi awestruck.  But ask him to teach a group of white belts how to do an armbar, and he turns into a babbling mess.        

You might also know a coral belt who is an excellent orator, but is so lacking in basic people skills that even the most tolerant students can’t stand him. 

On the other hand, the local purple belt running BJJ classes out of her mom’s basement might not only be a grade-A human being, but a teacher who can help even the slowest student pull off an armbar with Ronda-Rousey-like effectiveness. 

If you are given those choices, go for the purple belt.        


  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?


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