Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a relatively disorganised and highly variable sport. This is most evident when you start looking at belt promotion requirements. The belts in BJJ go white, blue, purple, brown and black, with the first four belts typically having 4 stripes each and the black belt having 10 degrees.
However the number of degrees in a black belt is getting way ahead of ourselves, because one of the things almost every BJJ beginner wants to know is…
What do you need to know to get your blue belt?
The truth is that it depends on the school…
- Some schools give the blue belt when the student can finally beat all the white belts and hang with the other bluebelts…
- Some schools have a detailed list of techniques each student needs to know and have formal tests…
- Some schools want you to have a certain number of reliable techniques from every position (2 mount escapes, 2 mount attacks, 2 closed guard submissions, 2 closed guard sweeps, and so on)…
- Some schools place a huge importance on number of classes attended since your last promotion…
- And some schools supposedly have a list of blue belt technical requirements, but in reality promotion is totally based on your ability to kick ass on the mats.
In the video below Rob Biernacki and I tackle the topic of BJJ beginner progressions and how to get ranked in BJJ (starting with getting your stripes and your blue belt).
Rob has a very interesting approach to the topic…
The four stripes that come before blue belt are based on being able to execute in four different areas (1 area per stripe, with no requirement as to which you learn first):
- Guard retention movements
- Guard passing movements
- Guard sweeping movements
- Taking the back and controlling from there
After your 4 stripes, to get your blue belt at his school you need several things…
You need to have a good knowledge of the various positions (mount, kneemount, back, etc.), the transitions to get in and out of each position, and the escapes.
You also need to need to be able to apply the fundamental concepts of base, posture and structure.
And you need to be able to show 2 connected options for the major positions. For example you need an A and a B option for passing the guard, an A and a B option for sweeping from the guard, an A and a B option for finishing from the mount, an A and a B option for escaping from the mount, etc.
This type of progression takes the emphasis off of learning specific, instructor ordained techniques, and focusses more on developing the student’s ability to learn and apply jiu-jitsu skills in every position suited for his body type and his interests.
If you’re interested in this topic I suggest that you watch the video below, and/or check out some of the resources we refer to in the bottom part of this post.
Resources Referred To In This Video…
Roadmap for BJJ Book – Stephan’s free digital book breaking down the 6 main positions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the basic strategies for winning a fight on the ground.
Roadmap for BJJ App – The free app for your phone or tablet that gives you a video-based breakdown of the 6 basic BJJ positions and the connections between them.
The 3 Most Important Concepts in BJJ – a detailed breakdown of base, posture and structure, the 3 concepts which can cause any jiu-jitsu technique to succeed or fail.
The Grapplearts BJJ Master App – In this video-based app Rob Biernacki shows you how to learn BJJ as fast as possible by focusing on the core concepts and principles of the art.
The BJJ Formula with Rob Biernacki and Stephan Kesting – the four volume instructional set breaking down the core concepts of BJJ, the top game, the bottom game, and the back.