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BJJ Purple Belt Requirements and Full Guide

Purple belt requirements in Brazilian jiu jitsu can definitely vary gym to gym, however:

A purple belt should have baseline level of competency across all fundamentals of jiu jitsu, a strong awareness of their own weaknesses, and utlimately, be proactive in their own learning.

Key Takeaways

A BJJ purple belt should:

  • be able to control and submit any white belt or blue belt
  • be quite dangerous to any non trained invidual
  • be aware of all basic positions and goals of each
  • be aware of all basic submissions and submission counters
  • improve on their favored positions and submissions by learning to deal with any resistance and counters
  • work toward going from defensive to offense cycles (ie. escaping mount and go right into a leg attack)
  • actively work on any weaknesses (most often these are wrestling, leg attacks, escapes, and pins)

In this post we will also go over other common bjj purple belt questions like

  • “can a purple belt promote in bjj”
  • “how long does it take to get a purple belt in bjj.”

As of the inital writing of this post, I was a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu (but have since been promoted to brown belt) so hopefully I can offer some insight into bjj purple requirements based on my experience and insight from my coaches.

(me to the left of my coach receiving my purple belt)

Common Purple Belt Questions

What Does It Take to Get a Purple Belt in BJJ?

Purple belt requires a baseline level of competency across all basic positions, techniques, and submissions. However, this does not indicate mastery. Unlike blue belt, receiving a purple belt is not based on time spent on the mat, it is a measure of how well you are connecting the dots of jiu jitsu.

Additionally, to get a purple belt in BJJ, you need to be proactive in your learning.

What Percentage of People Actually Make It to Purple Belt?

On average, only ~13% of bjj students will make it to purple belt.

Taking from a small sample of my gym, 10th Planet San Diego, here is a picture from the start of my Brazilian jiu jitsu journey. Of these students (including myself) only 4 out of 17 made it to purple belt.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Purple Belt?

On average, most people are able to get their purple belt between 4-6 years of consistent training.

Can You Get Your Purple Belt in Two Years?

While it is possible to get your purple belt in two years, it is unlikely unless you have a strong background in other grappling based martial arts, a high level of athleticism, or an extreme level of consistency.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Purple Belt?

In the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) one must be at least 16 years old to get a purple belt in BJJ

While some gyms do not follow all of the IBJJF guideliness, generally, you won’t see purple belts who aren’t atleast 16 years old.

How Long Do You Usually Stay a Purple Belt?

On average people will stay a purple belt for 2-4 years.

For example, I received my purple belt in October 2021 and received my brown belt December 2023. So I was at purple belt for 2 years and 2 months.

Can a Purple Belt Teach Classes?

Yes, a purple belt can teach classes. It is not unlikely to see a purple belt teaching kids classes, beginner classes, and even some adult classes in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Can a Purple Belt Promote Others?

While this is usually seen in kids or youth classes, a purple belt in bjj can promote others to a higher belt as long as they are of a lower belt and with the blessing of their head coach.

How Dangerous Is a Purple Belt (Really)?

In terms of, how dangerous is a purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu vs untrained individual, they should pretty easily be able to defend, control, and submit nearly any untrained opponent regardless of their size.

A purple belt would very easily beat any white belt or anyone new to jiu jitsu.

Can a Purple Belt Win a Street Fight?

While a street fight is very unpredictable and dangerous, in a one on one situation, a purple belt should be able to win a street fight against any untrained individual.

How Would a Purple Belt Do Against a Wrestler?

Highschool Wrestler?

A purple belt vs a highschool wrestler would be pretty competitive. While the wrestler may have the advantage in terms of takedowns, once they get on the ground the purple belt has an extremely high chance of submitting the wrestler since wrestling doesn’t teach any submissions.

College Wrestler?

A college wrestler would likely very easily take the purple belt down. The college wrestler has the advantage when it comes to take downs, control, and pinning.

However, the purple belt still has a very strong advantage when it comes to submissions and would likely be able to submit the wrestler.

Would a Purple Belt Win Against a Judo Black Belt?

In terms of training time, a purple belt and judo black belt have likely been training in their respective martial art for the same amount of time, approximately 4-6 years.

The judo black belt would likely very easily take the purple belt down, however, the bjj practitioner likely has a slight advantage once on the ground.

What’s the Difference Between a Blue Belt and Purple Belt?

A blue belt can be achieved with enough time training, generally ~1.5-3 years of training. However, a purple belt is awarded not based on time but on skill.

It’s not uncommon for someone to be stuck at blue belt for a very long time until their coach sees them gain a deeper understanding of jiu jitsu.

What’s Does It Take to Go From Purple Belt to Brown Belt?

To go from a purple to brown belt, you need to focus on improving upon your weak areas. While some parts of a purple belt’s game will likely be at the black belt level, they likely still have some weaknesses or areas that they are not completely familiar with.

For many, these areas are generally, wrestling, guard retention, leg locks, and pinning.

Is It Possible for a Purple Belt to Beat a Black Belt?

While it is possible for a purple bet to beat a black belt, it is pretty rare.

A purple belt may be a challenge for a black belt when sparring, but the black belt would likely easily beat the purple belt.

BJJ Purple Belt Goals

If you are a purple belt, this means that you have a wide understanding of the different principles of the sport. Moreover, you probably have a quite a few attacks up your sleeves already and some areas that you are quite confident in.

However, the main goal of a purple belt is to work on your weaknesses.

As a purple belt, your main goal should be to work on your weakness. Therefore, you must purposefully put yourself in positions you are trying to get better at when sparring and spend extra time drilling techniques from those positions.

The goal is to be well rounded. Therefore, it is expected that you continuously focus on different aspects and technicalities of the sport to become your best version. 

What Should a Purple Belt Be Able to Do?

As a purple belt, one should be able to do the fundamentals of BJJ confidently. This means, if they find themselves in difficult situations, they are able to remain calm and find a way to escape. From there, they can find different opportunities to attack and submit their opponent. 

Aside from those, a purple should be able to: 

  • Handle top and bottom game efficiently – This means, having confidence and knowledge on how to survive and defend themselves. 
  • Able to do leg attacks and counter them as well – In most BJJ competitions, not all ranks are allowed to do different variations of leg locks. Therefore, since purple belts are slowly advancing, they should start doing leg locks and adding it into their arsenal. 
  • Confidence in chaining different attacks – if the 1st one did not work out, they can easily switch to another attack.
  • Position before submission – Before they even set up their attack, purple belts should be able to control the position.
  • Assist their coaches and professors during class in teaching the beginner belts – Coaching is an oppurtunity that first presents itself at purple belt. If you’re interested you should look into coaching beginners at your gym.

Other Optional Purple Belt Requirements

Competiions in Jiu Jitsu

Competing in Jiu-Jitsu can be a great way to challenge yourself and take your skills to the next level.

There’s no avoiding it – competing in jiu jitsu will make you better.

While competing can bring with it a roller coaster of emotions, you will get better at bjj by:

  • preparing for a competition
  • working on your submission defenses and escapes for the competition
  • better understanding your weakness by analyzing mistakes you may have made when competing

Conditioning Training as a Purple Belt

Conditioning is an integral part of Jiu-Jitsu, no matter what level you’re at.

Whether you’re a white belt just starting out or a purple belt looking to take your game to the next level, conditioning plays an important role in helping you stay competitive and giving you an edge.

As a white belt, focus on building up your cardio and overall endurance rather than strength. As you progress in rank, your conditioning should reflect that and by purple be able to move faster and for longer periods of time and have better control.

When choosing a conditioning plan, make sure it fits your needs as well as your schedule. Take into account how much time you have available for training and also consider what type of goals you want to achieve with your conditioning plan as well as keeping in mind recovery.

Some strength and conditioning supplemental training that you can add that will benefit your BJJ are:

  • weightlifting
  • powerlifting
  • sprints
  • swimming
  • yoga

Final Words on Purple Belt

Looking back, for me, purple was the funnest belt. You know quite a bit, but don’t feel too bad if you are submitted.

As you make it to higher ranks like brown and black belt, you have a real target on your back and while being submitted will happen much less it will sting much more.

Again, a purple belt should have baseline level of competency across all fundamentals of jiu jitsu, a strong awareness of their own weaknesses, and utlimately, be proactive in their own learning.

By focusing on your weaknesses, you work toward becoming a well rounded Brazilian jiu jitsu athlete. You know the basics – now its time to sharpen your best tools and bring up the areas that are lacking.

I hope this hase been a good read and see you guys in the next one! – Zack