Skip to Content

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 Requirements

A purple belt should be able to meet the requirements of their school and coaches. This means: 

  • Escape bad positions – Even though stuck in a bad position, they remain calm and find ways to get away from that position. Once out of the bad position they should immmediately go into an offensive movement by counterattacking or working toward a sweep
  • Escape late submissions/Counter attack – If the opponent sets up their attack, these individuals should still find a way to escape and should work toward immediately counter attacking
  • Chain attacks – If one attack does not work, they know what to do next. For example, say an armbar fails and their opponent begins to posture up, they should immediately go into a leg attack
  • Improve knowledge of favored positions and submissions – at this point in their bjj joureny they have likely gravitated to certain positions and submissions (for me, initially it was triangles and half guard). So they should work on having an answer to common defensive reactions from their opponents in these positions
  • Work on any weaknesses – at purple belt, since you’ve likely only focused on your favored positions and submissions through the previous belts, you will probably have holes in your jiu jitsu game. For many, it is usually wrestling or leg attacks or top pins. So at this point it is recommended to make it a point to purposely put yourself in those positions during live sparring and spend extra time drilling those techniques.

Bottom Position

The bottom position in BJJ means you are below your opponent or on the bottom.

This does not necessarily mean that you are in a disadvantageous position.


In Brazilian jiu jitsu, you are taught that you can be very effective from the bottom position. In fact, this is one of the major tenants of jiu jitsu.

You have many options for movements, sweeps, and attacks that you can work on from the bottom position.

Open Guard

One of the most basic terms and positions one will find in BJJ is the open guard.

Open guard can be described as a seated or lying on your back position in which your legs are not actively connected to your opponent.

This position leaves a variety of options for transitions to several guard types from the bottom such as:

  • closed guard
  • half guard
  • butterfly guard
  • butterly half guard
  • de la riva guard
  • reverse de la riva guard
  • x-guard
  • Single leg x-guard
  • k-guard
  • octopus guard
  • williams guard
  • rubber guard

If you’re not aware of these positions or if you don’t have a basic understanding of them it is a good idea to spend time training them.


Especially, the most common bottom guard positions such as:

  • closed guard
  • half guard
  • butterfly guard
  • butterly half guard
  • de la riva guard
  • reverse de la rive guard
  • x-guard
  • single leg x-guard
  • k-guard


Tips for Open Guard

  • use distance management: you must control the distance between your opponet and keep them away or attack at your own discretion
  • try to keep contact with your opponent: you should try to keep multiple points of contact with your opponent with either your feet or your hands in this position to assert better control
  • break their contact: if they try to control your limbs or throw your legs (like in a toreando style pass) immediately break their grips on your legs before then trying to get your own grips

Full Guard (Closed Guard)

One of the strongest positions in BJJ for both Gi and No Gi is the full guard. It is also known as closed guard.



This position is when you are at the bottom and you wrap your legs around the person on top.

From here, there are many different things you can transition to in order to be offensive.

Some common sweeps available from this position are:

  • Flower sweep 
  • Hip bump sweep
  • Scissor sweep

Common submissions from this position are:

  • triangles
  • armbars
  • ommaplata
  • kimuras
  • guillotine

Finally, you are also able to easily transition into other guards to become more mobile or more offense-focued such as:

  • half guard
  • butterfly guard
  • buttefrly half guard
  • x guard
  • single leg x guard
  • k guard

Some tips for closed guard:

  • focus on controlling their posture: by controlling their posture at their head you can work toward submissions and sweeps and keep them thinking defensivly instead of offensively.
  • work toward bringing their arm across your centerline: by doing this you can more easily enter into attacks like arm drags and arm bars
  • if they begin to stand up to break your guard: immediately focus on entering into their legs or working on a sweep so that you can come on top

Half Guard

Have you ever heard in training “Do not get caught in half guard?” Well, this position is when your opponent (person on top) is trying to pass you, but one of their legs is entangled in between yours. 

Half guard can be an ideal position for either the top or bottom person – all depending usually on who has more control.

(Control in half guard usually comes down to an underhook/overhook, head position, and head control*)

Half guard is a very dynamic position that can easily lead to sweeps or submissions (but for the bottom person it is more common that they work toward sweeps)

Some common sweeps from this position all rely on your ability to get the underhook on your opponent

However, if your opponent gets an underhook on you it gives them just as many options to pass your guard or work toward submissions.

Tips for (Bottom) Half Guard

  • do not let them grab your head: if your opponent grabs your head or around your head stop what you’re doing and get their hand off your head. If they control your head they are much more likely to control you and pass your guard
  • constantaly keep them off balance: if you are in bottom half guard, constantly keep tension running through your legs and push/pull your opponent since the moment they get settled they will work to pass your guard

Turtle

Another position that a purple belt should be able to identify and navigate properly is the turtle position. 

The person on top wants to work toward:

  • a submission (usually guillotine or front headlock variation
  • back control (by getting their hooks in and either flattening you out or rolling you over)

As you progress in the ranks, you will find that turtle is a much more dynamic position than you may have though initially.

For the bottom person, there are actually plenty of options:

  • to wrestle up and go for takedowns
  • to stand up
  • to go work toward submissions (like the kimura)

Tips for Turtle Position

  • if your limbs are tightly closed to your body you will be more easily tipped over
  • alternatively, if your limbs are spread out, giving you more base, your opponent can more easitly get their hooks in to work toward submissions.
  • constantly protect your neck: in turtle position your main goal should always be to protect your neck, once your neck is protected then you can work towards escapes or submissions.

Top Position

As expected from a purple belt, one should be confident in being in a top position as well as being able to do different techniques to attack or control the opponent effectively.

Being on top means, you are applying control from the top, and your opponent is the one with their back on the mat. 

At purple belt you should be working toward better ways to control your opponent from top position. This means better understanding pinning techniques from half guard, side control, mount, turtle.

At purple you may get to top position quite a bit, but you will find your opponent being able to easily escape so its important to focus on utilizing controlling pins then working toward submissions.

Top Half Guard

If you are on top, this means that your opponent on the bottom has one of your legs trapped in between theirs. This does not necessary mean a disadvantage for you.

Passing from half guard is one of the most dominant forms of passing your opponent’s legs.

Since this is a mirrored position for your you and your opponent,

you must utilize controlling options such as:

  • achieving an underhook
  • working toward chest to chest position
  • controlling their posture (with head control)
  • nullifying their underhook with your head position
  • removing their leg control (with leg pummeling)

With these tips in mind, you can then work toward passing their guard.

So while it is a great passing position for the top person, you must still be weary of sweep and escape attempts from your opponent.

Side Control

In side control, the grappler is actually perpendicular against their opponent and ideally, has control of their upper body with a cross face and unerhook (as seen in this image).

This is actually one of the easy to hold basic dominant positions that any BJJ practitioner can apply.

From here, there are many different transitions that can happen based on what the player would like to do. 

In side control you should focus on:

  • keeping their knees pointed away from your (to avoid a knee elbow escapse attempt)
  • work toward upper body control usually with a far side underhook and cross face
  • once you have control you can work toward isolating a limb to go for a kimura or armbar or transitioning to mount

While side control can be a very dominant and controlling position for the top person, it may not be the best position to work toward submissions.

A better, more high percentage option to hit submissions is usually by transitioning to mount.

Mount

One of the hardest positions to escape if you are on the bottom is mount. This is a dominant position where the person on top is sitting at the bottom person’s torso. 

If positioned properly, gravity will be playing a huge role in making this position extremely helpful. From here, there are different attacks that can be done like chokes and arm locks.

Tips from (Top) Mount:

  • keep your knees inside their elbows
  • work toward isolating one of their arms (with cross gripping)
  • have an answer for when they attempt to bump you off (usually by stepping one of your knees up to avoid being knocked over)

Back Control (Rear Mount)

This is probably the most effective and controlling position next to mount.

Definitely, harder to defend for the bottom person, because they are at a strong anotomical disadvantage to defend.

This position allows the dominant person to be able to attack their opponent with chokes while the defending person’s only high percentage option is to defend and escape.

Tips for Back Control:

  • try to maintain diagnol control (by always having an opposite hook in and control of their opposite side wrist)
  • you can utilize methods of wrist/arm trapping to more easily work toward a rear naked choke
  • can also easily transition to other submissions like armbars or guillotines

 Passing

Passing guard is one of the fundamentals of BJJ. This is something that should be learned as a beginner. Therefore, purple belts are expected to be good at this already.

Now, guard passing means the person at the bottom is the one defending. The person on top will try to get past their knees to establish a dominant position like side control.

Half Guard Passing

Again, using half guard to pass can be a very effective position to pass the guard (legs) of the bottom person. It offers options to control the upper body while using your own legs to pass the defender’s legs.

What is great about this position is that there are many variations on how to do it. But the main goal here is to prevent the opponent from turning on their side and posturing up. 

Torreando

A requirement to be able to make a successful torreando pass is speed. This is actually a speed based pass similar to a matador misdirecting a bull. 

Now, how does it work? This involves gaining control over the opponent’s legs and move them side to side as you try to step around their legs. From here, your go to position can be a side control or mount. 

Aside from speed, pressure is also vital. Having to constantly defend the torreando pass for the bottom person can be very tiring.

Body Lock Passing

Body lock passing means that you have control of the bottom person with your arms wrapped around their torso.

Similar to half guard passing since you already have control of their upper body you can then work on using your legs to pass their legs.

Here are some basics steps to follow when using the body lock to pass your opponent’s legs: 

  1. Step over their thigh 
  2. Sweep over the leg you stepped over by walking to the other side 
  3. Then start sweeping their leg

 Guard Retention

Required and expected from a purple belt is to have good guard retention. Here are some of the basic things to remember to improve your guard game: 

  • Face your opponent at all times – use your hips to switch back and find ways to be aligned your opponent 
  • Block your chest – Allow your knees to cover your chest. Thus, limiting the space between your knees and armpit.
  • 4 points of contact – If you can maintain contact with both arms and legs then that is the best. But find ways to play it around by applying the first two concepts mentioned above. 

Take downs

Takedowns invovle your brining a standing opponent to the ground in a controlled manner. BJJ commonly adopts takedowns, throws, and standing sweeps from wrestling and Judo.

For those not familiar with standing grappling, these can be quite difficult to learn.

As a purple belt, it is expected that you are already confident in taking your opponent down. This means, you know different variations of takedowns. Moreover, once completed, you have the capacity to control your opponent and being able to immediately work towards a dominant position.

Single Leg

Known as the most popular and go-to take down for beginners in BJJ is the single leg takedown. Although simple, it has proven its effectiveness and versatility. 

This involves you, shooting yourself to one of the opponen’ts leg and making sure that your forehead is at the chest of your opponent. From here, you can either raise their leg up to off balance them or apply pressure with your head to take them down (known as “running the pipe”).

Double Leg

A harder takedown to enter, but easier to finish is the double leg. This leg takedown involves grabbing both of the opponent’s legs in order to drive them to the ground.

Some key points to remember are keeping your head up and in your opponent’s chest (to avoid guillotines) and controlling their hips.

Snap Down / Front Headlock

In a snap down your goal is to snap your opponent’s head down and then grad their head in a front headlock position.

From here you can work to drag them to the ground or attemtp to get to their back.

Submissions

As a purple belt, it is essential that one has their go to arsenal of submission. With a deep understanding of common reactions and counters to those submissions.

Triangle

Effective, efficient the triangle is usually one of the first submissions you learn in jiu jitsu.

This involves both legs, forming a triangle or figure 4 position with the opponent’s neck and one arm is in between. 

Key points to remember here are the following: 

  • Adjustment is important, adust to be perpendicular to your opponent for optimal finishing
  • If your triangle does not work you can always switch it up to an armbar 

 Arm Triangle

The arm triangle is another very common submission that is effective at the highest levels.

What is highly important about the arm triangle choke is finding a good grip in order to position properly. However, even if you have the correct position, your opponent can still escape by: 

  • Grabbing their leg 
  • Giving their back 
  • Freeing the trapped arm

 Kimura

Probably one of the most versatile submissions in bjj is the kimura. The name originated from famous Judokan, Masahiro Kimura who used this attack to submit Helio Gracie in 1951. 

The kimura lock is a joint lock that attacks the shoulder joint of your opponent by driving their wrist and arm beyond their back. 

It can also be used to sweep your opponenet or transition to the back.

 Armbar

Armbards are another very popular bjj submission.

This attack involves hyper extending the elbow, most preferably across the hip bone. From here, you can create an immense breaking pressure. Resulting in the opponent tapping or breaking their elbow. 

The main concept to remember here is to make sure to have a rigid arm control. Therefore, you must make sure that the opponent’s arm is straight. 

Guillotine

Next, we have the guillotine choke. From the name itself, guillotine which is derived from the mediaeval device because the concept is the name. 

This attack involves wrapping around the opponent’s neck then locking the hands together. Thus resulting in a tap or the other person passing out if done correctly. 

Moreover, this attack is so highly versatile that it has different variations and can be set up from several different positions. 

Rear Naked Choke

Another popular and one of the most basic submissions in BJJ is the rear naked choke. It is called rear because the attack will come from behind the opponent. It is probably most used submission at the highest levels.

Escapes

By the time the BJJ practitioner reaches purple belt, he should be able to escape bad positions confidently.

From Side Control

If you know enough no attack in BJJ should mean game over. Therefore, if a purple belt finds themselves trapped in a side control they can still escape this.

To escape side control, you can connect your knee and able to frame your opponent away.

A good tip is to always avoid them getting control of your head in side control. If they don’t have control of your head, you have much more mobility and a higher percentage of escaping.

From Mount

While mount can be a claustrophobic position for beginners at purple belt you be pretty comfortable here.

The most common way of escaping this position is by applying fundamentals of BJJ. This means, avoiding the oppenent getting inside position, and working to bridge or shrimp away.

From Back Control

Another of the most dominant positions for your opponet is from back control or back mount.

The most common way of escaping this position is by protecting your neck and misaligning your body with their’s. From there, you can work toward getting your back to the mat or working to bring your near side elbow inside and coming on top.

From Turtle

Lastly, we have defending from turtle position.

Again, the main focus should be to protect your neck. Once your neck is protected, you can then work toward freeing your legs, wrestling up, or rolling through back to guard.

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