BJJ Purple Belt Requirements
BJJ purple belt requirements will of course vary from gym to gym but from my own personal experience and that of my training partners and coaches, we’ve complied a detailed list of requirements with tips as well as key things to focus on.
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 this writing, I’m acutally a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu so hopefully I can offer some insight into bjj purple requirements set forth by my coaches and things to keep in mind for this belt.
BJJ Purple Belt Requirements – 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 aweare 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. escape mount and go right into a leg attack)
- actively work on any weaknesses (most often these are wrestling, leg attacks, escapes, and pins)
Related: How Dangerous Is a BJJ Purple Belt
Related: All Jiu Jitsu Belt Levels Explained
- 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 movemnt 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 immedilyate 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 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 recommend to make it a point to purposely put yourself in those positions during live sparring and spend extra time drilling those techniques.
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
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 position in which your legs are not actively connected to your opponent.
This position leaves a variety of options to transitions in several guard types from the bottom such as:
- closed guard
- half guard
- butterfly guard
- butterly half guard
- de la riva guard
- reverse de la rive guard
- Single leg x-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
- single leg x-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 on 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 can control them
Full Guard (Closed Guard)
One of the strongest positions in BJJ for both Gi and No Gi is the full guard. It is also knonw 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:
- Triangle choke
Common submissions from this position are:
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
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 ends up 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 your 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 opponet 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 opponet since them moment they get settled they will work to pass your guard
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 guillotin or front headlock variation
- back contrl (by getting their hooks in and either flattening you out or rolling you over
As you progress in the ranks, you will fin that turtle is a much more dynamic position that 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.
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 understand 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 at the bottom has one of your legs trapped in between theirs. This does not necessary mean disadvantage on your part.
Passing from half guard is one of the most dominant forms of passing your opponents legs.
Since this is a mirrored positions 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.
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 attampt)
- work toward upper body control usually with a far side underhook and cross face
- once your 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.
One of the hardest positions to escape if you are at 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)
Also known as back mount is the back control.
This is probably the most effective and controlling position next to mount.
Definitely, harder to defend for the bottom person, because they are at an 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 controll 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 guillotins
Passing guard is one of the fundamentals of BJJ. This is something that should be learned already as a beginner. Therefore, purple belts are expected to be good at this already because of experience and drills.
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
Half guard pass is also known as the knee cut pass. Why? Well, this involves driving your knee in half guard to the mat. From here, your goal is to get to a side control.
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.
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 as you try to pass guard. From here, your go to position can be a side control or mount.
Aside from speed, pressure is vital in this case also. So put pressure as you hold on those legs.
Body Lock Passing
If you need to get past a body lock then that is totally plausible.
But what is a body lock position anyway? This means that the person on top was able to overpass the opponent’s hook. Thus allowing them to hug their opponent’s waist with both arms. Moreover, the head is placed on the chest and armpit pinning the thighs.
The question now is, if you are the one stuck in a body lock, how can you pass?
Well, here is what you have to do:
- Step over their thigh
- Sweep over the leg you stepped over by walking to the other side
- Then start sweeping their leg
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. Why? Well, your opponent is most likely aiming to get that.
- 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 are part of the most effective and highly successful attacks in BJJ. Well, these are actually controlled movements that involves you:
- Creating contact
- Tackling your opponent’s legs
- Bring their hands to the mat
- Off balancing them
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, walk towards a dominant position by pinning them and then attacking.
Known as the most popular and go-to take down for beginners in BJJ is the single leg pass. Although simple, it has proven its effectiveness and versatility.
Note, that there are different ways to execute this take down but the most common is the mid level single leg takedown.
This involves you, shooting yourself to your chosen leg and making sure that your forehead is at the chest of your opponent. From here, you will grab the back of the knee to off balance them.
A harder to enter, and easy to finish take down is the double leg attack. This leg takedown involves grabbing the opponent’s leg and wrapping both arms on their legs.
The key point to remember is that the chest is close enough to them to be able to apply force. Thus bringing them down to the ground.
Snap Down / Front Headlock
From the term itself, snap down, your goal is to snap your opponent’s head down. Therefore this involves you grabbing the nape and pushing it down. From here your goal is to do a headlock, this means securing the head.
Lastly, you can now bring them down to the mat and find a highly dominant position.
As a purple belt, it is essential that one has their arsenal of submission. This means, from basic to complex, they are able to find variations and different openings in order to set them up.
These submissions will be some of the things that they will fine tune and develop more as they go along the way. Moreover, as a purple belt there will definitely be a go to position of attack. This one will be the individual’s variation and can even be a signature move.
Read on as we go over some of the basic submissions a purple belt should know.
Effective, efficient and goes a long way is the triangle choke.
This is one of the attacks that is being taught to beginners of BJJ. 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, keep on adjusting to secure the lock
- Arm inside or locked arm should not be a hindrance so position it accordingly
- If your triangle does not work you can always switch it up to an armbar
The arm triangle is one of the most famous and highly successful submissions in BJJ. Moreover, it is something that even beginners are capable of doing.
Do know that the arm triangle choke requires basic understanding of choking mechanics. This means, force is applied on both sides of your opponent’s neck thus limiting oxygen flow and blood to the brain. Unlike the triangle choke which uses legs, the arm triangle choke is when the arm compresses the head and neck.
What is highly important about the arm triangle choke is finding a good grip in order to position properly. Do know that despite having the correct position, your opponent can still escape by:
- Grabbing their leg
- Giving their back
- Escaping the trapped arm
Termed as 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 submission that attacks the shoulder joint of your opponent by driving their wrist and arm beyond their back.
What is great about this is that there are little vital details to remember and applicable in different positions like:
- Close guard
- Side control
- Rolling kimura
- Kimura trap
Highly effective and one of the most used submissions in BJJ is the armbar. This attack has proven itself not just in BJJ but also in different forms of martial arts.
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.
What is great about this attack is that there is a high chance of finding openings for it. This submission has a lot of different positions where you can get it from.
Moreover, you must know that even though highly effective, it is still something that one’s opponent can escape. How? Well, by breaking the grip or control over the arm.
The guillotine choke is actually one of the simplest and most effective submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 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 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. Unlike other submissions, this attack does not require any grabbing or pulling of Gi or objects. You just have to simply position yourself correctly and finish the attack.
This rear naked choke is actually a blood choke. Therefore, limiting oxygen and blood flow to the brain by compressing the jugular vein.
By the time the BJJ practitioner reaches purple belt, he should be able to escape his opponent confidently.
This skill is rooted from being a white belt to present. As we all know, as a white belt, foundations are being taught and this means survival. Therefore, in order to survive, one must be able to get away from bad positions.
Hence, as a purple belt, one should be confident in difficult positions and able to escape by using technical skills.
From Side Control
No attack in BJJ means doom. Therefore, if a purple belt finds themselves trapped in a side control they can still escape this.
But how does one escape this dominant position anyway? Well, there is this thing called the bicep push. Despite not being able to utilize your legs, you still have your arms. Therefore, by finding your opponent’s bicep and pushing it out, you use your other arm to push the mat. Thus, allowing you to sit up.
Although there are different ways to escape, this thought is the most common one.
If you are a purple belt in BJJ then it means you are already comfortable in a difficult position. Therefore, if your opponent was able to get you on mount, you have the skill and knowledge about how you can escape this position.
The most common way of escaping this position is by applying fundamentals of BJJ. This means, you can bridge and break their mount or you can shrimp out.
Now, do know that bridging and shrimping are basic movements learned as a white belt. Hence, by the time one is a purple belt they know how to use them accordingly and effectively.
From Back Control
No, you are not doomed if you find yourself stuck in a back control position. These BJJ purple belts are well aware of different techniques on how they will be able to escape this.
The most common way of escaping this position is by breaking the control. Now, you know that their arms are preoccupied, but you still can reach their hook, therefore, you can still work on breaking that first.
Do know that there are different variations you can do to escape this position.
No, you are not doomed for a submission if you find yourself stuck in turtle position. You have the option to sit up, stand up or even do a granby roll.
If you are a purple belt in BJJ, you will be able to find other variations in order to escape this attack and end up in a dominant position.
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, there are different variations of attacks on your sleeve already.
Now, as a purple belt, your goal is to work on your weakness. This means, you must prepare yourself as you slowly become a brown belt. Therefore, you must work on the positions you get caught in, or attacks that you want to improve and find more variations for application.
In addition to that, you want 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.
Another thing to focus on is to understand your preference and your game. This will allow you to master your favorite positions and submissions.
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, 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 in their arsenal.
- Confidence in chaining different attacks – if the 1st one did not work out, they can easily switch to another.
- Position before submission – Before they even set up their attack, these purple belts are able to find the best position to submit their opponent.
- Assist their coaches and professors during class in teaching the beginner belts – This is the preparation to becoming a coach in the future.
Definitely dangerous on and off the mats.
If a purple belt finds themselves in a street fight against someone with no martial arts background and weapons, then they will dominate. With vast knowledge and skills, they will be able to efficiently control their opponent until help arrives or they surrender.
Moreover, if you are a lower rank faced with a purple belt, know that they are capable of chaining different attacks. They can transition from one to another so swiftly that you may not even notice it.
But do know that these people will never use their BJJ skills and knowledge if not for the right reason. Moreover, if they roll or flow with lower ranks, they will be gentle and provide opportunities for these people to improve.
How long does it take to get a purple belt in BJJ? Well, the average year is around 4 to 5 years of training. Some people can get this faster than others due to previous background in other grappling sports or athleticism.
In addition to that, these people who get their purple belts faster than others are those who are consistent. This means they are training regularly and showing improvement every time they step in the mats.
Moreover, to get your purple faster you must sign up for that competition. Test your skills and knowledge once in a while as you challenge yourself. Your coach and professors will definitely be able to see and acknowledge your efforts.
In addition to that, make sure that fundamentals and basic principles are instilled and is already a natural body reaction to different positions.
What Percentage of People Make It to Purple Belt in BJJ?
Based on numbers from askwonder, it is estmated that onlye 5% of blue belts make it to purple belt in bjj.
At What Belt Do Most People Quite BJJ?
In terms of what belt do most poeple quit bjj, it is the general consensus that the highest number of people who leave Brazilian jiu jitsu are at:
White Belt: white belt level is the most difficult part of the journey, and where many people tend to quit. Not only is there an extremely tough learning cureve, but the early stages of learning BJJ can be overwhelming and intimidating, and progress can be slow.
Blue Belt: blue belts also see the highest number of people to leave Brazilian jiu jitsu. This can be due to
- Training becoming boring
- they may feel like that have learned everything already
- Feeling like that are not making any progress
- Occassionally losing to less experience opponnets (and losing motivation)
- Lacking goals (they may have felt their main goal was to just achive a blue belt)
What Is the Hardest Belt to Get in BJJ?
In BJJ, many have said that the hardest belt o get is a purple belt.
Many coaches, include Firas Zahibi, believe that a purple belt already has all the necesary skills and motiviation to reach black belt, but just need more time.
So a coach may not promote a student to purple belt unless they fully trust that they are commited to Brazilian jiu jitsu and can one day reach black belt/
How Tough Is a BJJ Purple Belt?
A purple belt in bjj is quite tough. Since they have likely trained for atleast three years several times a week, they are have a lot more experience than the average, untrained person in terms of positions, techniques, and submissions.
A purple belt also has a vast amount of experience in live sparring situations in which they are trying nearly at 100% effort to control and submit their opponent while their opponent is trying to the same to them.
The average person just cannot compare with the training experience of a brazilian jiu jitsu purple belt.
What Should the Mindest Be of a BJJ Purple Belt?
Mindset is a crucial aspect of the BJJ purple belt requirements.
As you progress in your journey, it is important to remain open and humble in order to learn as much as possible. It can be easy to get caught up in ego-driven pursuits, but this should be avoided.
Winning at all costs should never become a priority over learning and growing.
The most successful practitioners are those who stay focused on improving their technique instead of getting caught up in trying to look good or win every match.
As a purple belt, you should strive to remain level-headed, humble and always willing to learn new things.
Self Defense as a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Self-defense is an important part of the BJJ purple belt requirements.
When it comes to defending yourself against a physical attack, having knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu techniques can be invaluable.
As a purple belt, you should make sure to practice self-defense drills and scenarios in order to become more familiar with how to react in dangerous situations.
Having a deep knowledge of what is effective or what is ineffective in a self defense scenario should be at the forefront of learning as a purple belt especially if you are concerned with the self defense aspects of bjj.
How Should a BJJ Purple Belt Behave?
Behavior is one of the most important BJJ purple belt requirements.
As a purple belt, you should be setting an example for others by being respectful, courteous and kind to everyone on the mat.
This means that you should never belittle or mock people who are lower belts than you, or those who are new to the sport. Instead, use your experience and knowledge to help them learn and grow in their practice.
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 emitions, 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 give you an extra 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; be able to move faster and for longer periods of time and have better control over your exertion.
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:
Can a BJJ Purple Belt Win a Street Fight?
Yes, a bjj purple belt can win a street and would likely win a streeth fight against any untrained person quite easily.
Even if their opponent is much larger than them, if their opponent doesn’t have any grappling experience. the purple belt should be able to easily take them down, control, and submit them.
How Long Do You Stay Purple Belt in BJJ?
The average years spent in purple belt can be between 2 or 4 years. This is different for everyone. Some can get it earlier than others but this does not define you as a BJJ practitioner.
There are just things being looked at like the consistency in training, skills, competition participation and leadership.
Can a Purple belt promote in bjj?
Depending on the Brazilian jiu jitsu gym, it is not uncommon for a purple belt to promote in bjj.
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.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Purple Belt in BJJ
This requires years of training and knowledge about the sport. Despite being young, these young purple belts are highly capable of doing everything listed above.
Moreover, know that there is no age limit in BJJ. If you are a purple belt at 50 that is totally fine. Some people are even praciticing BJJ still even in their 60s.
This is a sport for everyone to enjoy 🙂
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