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How dangerous is a purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu


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


A bjj purple belt signifies a solid understanding of jiu jitsu fundamentals and techniques and the ability to perform them successfully and efficiently on resisting opponents regardless of their size and strength.

See more on all bjj belts: A purple belt in bjj comes after a blue belt in the jiu jitsu belt ranks.

I recently received my brown belt in belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Richie Martinez of 10th Planet San Diego (see pic below of me receiving my brown belt). So hopefully, I can provide some insight!


Is a BJJ Purple Belt Dangerous – Key Takeaways

  • Again, a purple belt in bjj should be able to defend, control, and submit nearly any untrained opponent regardless of their size.
  • In a street fight, a purple belt will have a very strong advantage over their attacker and should be able to takedown, control, and submit them.
  • A purple belt in BJJ is the 3rd of 5 total belts.
  • A purple belt may have parts of their game that are at the black belt level but just need to work on their weaknesses
  • On average, it takes 3-5 years to get a purple belt in jiu jitsu
  • Additionally, only ~13% of bjj students will eventually get their purple belt.
  • The reason why BJJ is so effective for self defense is that in nearly every class there is live sparring where you are practicing techniques on fully resisting partners.
  • For purple belt requirements, they should be actively working to improve on weaknesses (for most purple belts this likely means wrestling/takedowns, leg attacks, pinning techiques).

Jump to: Our detailed post on purple belt requirements here


How hard is it to get a bjj purple belt?

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It is quite hard to get a bjj purple belt. It is considered by many to be the hardest belt to obtain.

A purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu generally doesn’t come as easy as a blue belt.

The majority of people who sign up for Brazilian jiu jitsu will, unfortunately, not be likely to obtain a purple belt.

The drop off statistics at white belt and blue belt are quite high. These numbers were taken from estimates provided by my coaches at my gym:

Belt LevelDrop Out Percentage
White75%
Blue55%
Purple10%
Brown5%
Blackn/a

Luckily, once a student reaches purple belt, the odds of them quitting bjj drops significantly.

A purple belt is an very exciting time for jiu jitsu practitioners – they will get a glimpse of how great they can be and should be aware of how far they’ve come.

It is the sentiment from most instructors that they do not wish to give out a purple belt unless they are certain that the student will make it to black belt.

While obtaining a blue belt in bjj sometimes comes down to time spent training, a purple belt in jiu jitsu signifies a true measure of skill.

They must not only have time and experience on the mat, but they must show that they have gained skill across a wide variety of techniques and positions.

For this reason it can be frustrating for some students since they may have trained for several years, but perhaps their instructor doesn’t quite yet see them as having a deeper understanding of fundamentals.


Want to learn how to improve faster and get your purple belt quicker check out our updated tips

What is a purple belt?

   A purple belt is the third belt in brazilian jiu jitsu and it is halfway to the fifth belt, a black belt.

They are usually aware of almost all common and some not so common positions.

They have likely fine tuned several submissions and are able to effectively deal with common reactions to these submissions in order to perform them successfully.

They will likely still make mistakes and be submitted by lower belts, but they should be aware of their weak points and actively work on improving upon them.

At purple belt, its time for students to really focus on bringing up their weaknesses since after purple belt comes brown belt and by this time you should be a well rounded bjj practitioner.

Overall, they must know how they learn and what they can do to maximize their learning.

How long does it take to get a bjj purple belt?

  

On average, it takes 4-5 years to get a purple belt in jiu jitsu

This of course assumes that there is consistent training and a deeper understanding of the art form.

Unfortunately, during those 4-5 years, many bjj students will run into life circumstances that take them away from training, take time off from training, or ultimately decide to quit training training all together.

By purple belt, your instructor trusts that you will keep showing up and keep making bjj a priority.

It has been said that a coach “..will not promote a student to a bjj purple belt unless they have confidence that they will make it to black belt.”

Bjj Purple Belt vs Untrained Individual in a Self Defense Situation

A purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu vs any untrained opponent in any self defense setting would likely be an easy victory for the bjj purple belt. 

Just to make it clear, we strongly recommend always avoiding any self defense altercation regardless of jiu jitsu belt level.

While in any real life self defense situation, there will be many variables that cannot be controlled for such as:

  • if they have a weapon
  • if they are with friends
  • other environmental interferences

In a one on one street fight, a bjj purple should be able to take down, control, submit and otherwise dominate any untrained individual.

How Dangerous Is a BJJ Purple Belt in a BJJ Gym?

A BJJ purple belt has likely spent hours on the mat dealing with many resisting opponents across the jiu jitsu belts, and there is likely nothing that there sparring partner will do that they haven’t encounter before.

In a bjj gym setting, the purple belt is likely a danger to everyon across the jiu jitsu belts. It is not entirely uncommon for a puple belt to catch a brown or black belt in a submission or atleast reach a dominant position.



Someone of the lower jiu jitsu belts such as white or blue belt will likely not be able to do much against a purple belt. While a white or blue belt is still learning the basics and may have a solid grasp of their one or two favorite positions, a purple belt will have an answer for almost every common position.

They will undoubtedly have more in depth knowledge over the favorite positions of a blue or white belt.

A bjj purple belt is also very difficult to submit.

When someone starts training in brazilian jiu jitsu they will likely tap to any submission immediately even before there is a real threat since they will be extremely uncomfortable.

A purple belt in jiu jitsu has been submitted hundreds if not thousands of times.

By this belt level they should be comfortable in these tight submissions and will fight to defend them until the very last moment.

They have pushed their limits and likely have learned to deal with being uncomfortable.

To reiterate, for the question, how dangerous is a purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu vs untrained individual, they should be able to defend, control, and submit nearly any untrained opponent. They should have technically efficient movements and vast experience of performing jiu jitsu techniques in live sparring situations.

How Dangerous is a Purple Belt in MMA?

When it comes to considering a purple belt in an MMA fight, they will obviously have a very strong advantage when it comes to grappling, takedowns, and submissions.

If their opponent doesn’t have much grappling experience or say less grappling experience than a purple belt in bjj, the odds of them winning the bout is quite slim.

The opponent would likely have to focus on striking and strong takedown defense if they wish to survive against a purple belt.

It comes down to if the purple belt can take their opponent down then the likeliness that they would win the fight is very high regardless of the lack of striking experience the purple belt may have.

We’ve seen it time and time again – grappling beats striking

Blue belt to purple belt

The passage from blue belt to purple belt is very important. 

It is a huge accomplishment in jiu jitsu since this means that you have pushed through all of the tough training nights, 

Whereas a blue belt is someone who just keeps showing up for a year or two, a purple belt is a student who shows respectable skill and a driving passion to continue even when they get submitted by lower belts (which isn’t that uncommon).

They have likely learned to deal with setbacks, losses, and injuries and have proven to their instructor that they are not going to quit.

With this refusal to quit and this expression of skill, a purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu means that you’ve learned that you have something inside of you that is driving you further, beyond what many can obtain.

Something that no one can take away. 

It’s these same feelings that will hopefully guide you to black belt and to gain a true appreciation of both the highs and lows of jiu jitsu.

What Should Purple Belt Focus On?

Let’s talk about what should a purple belt focus on in order to make it to brown belt?

If you are a purple belt, or about to become one, know that there are different things that you should focus on at this rank.

Mainly, it’s important to put in the effort to fill in the gaps or weaknesses in how you play your game. 

Check out this list of possible things that a purple belt should be able to do toachieve at this rank: 

  • be able to control and submit any white belt or blue belt
  • be quite dangerous to any non trained individual
  • be aware of all basic positions and goals of each
  • be aware of all basic submissions and submission common 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)



Thanks for reading all and see you in the next one – Zack