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How Good Is a BJJ Blue Belt (Is a Blue Belt Dangerous?)

how good is a bjj blue belt

   Today I am attempting to answer how good is a bjj blue belt. A bjj blue belt is the second belt that comes after white when considering every jiu jitsu belt in order

In this post, I’ve also attempted to answer is a blue belt dangerous? We’ve broken down this question when it comes to a blue belt versing other belt levels as well as a blue belt versing someone untrained.

A bjj blue belt represents a student’s general understanding of the martial art, knowledge of all basic positions, submissions, and escapes.

So how good is a bjj blue belt? Someone with a bjj blue belt has a strong, general knowledge of all common takedowns, positions, defenses, and submissions in jiu jitsu. They should be able to effectively perform these jiu jitsu techniques on any untrained person around their size.

However, their skill can vary widely since a bjj blue is sometimes the longest belt someone will have.

Individuals can also range from someone at a hobbyist level who still struggles to perform an armbar from closed guard to someone with a strong grappling or wrestling background that is able to give black belts a run for their money. 

One of the biggest advantages is, honestly, a mental one. Just gaining the mat time and experience of what it is like to grapple and control someone in a live scenario is a huge benefit of jiu jitsu.

How Good Is a BJJ Blue Belt – Key Points

  • Most people can expect to get their blue belt at ~6 months – 2 years
  • In a street fight, a blue belt should have the advantage over anyone who is untrained who is of simliar size.
  • A blue belt skill level can vary widely based on the practitioner’s consistency, martial arts background, and any prior grappling experience (ie. wrestling, judo, sambo)
  • A blue belt should understand a set of fundamental techniques and positions
    • They should also develop a learning based attitude (instead of any ego driven one based on the need to win)
  • It’s, unfortunately, still pretty common for white belts to still submit blue belts
  • However, a really competitive blue belt can, on rare occasions, beat a black belt.

  • A blue belt may understand the positions, main goals, an techniques of bjj but they likely would still have some difficulty performing them consistently on untrained individuals
  • While I would still bet on a blue belt in bjj vs anyone untrained, I wouldn’t consider them dangerous to all, especially if they are versing someone who is much larger or has any training experience

Since you are able to frequently spar at a very high intensity level in bjj without being exposed to many detrimental injuries, a bjj blue belt will be accustomed to these scenarios and sensations.

They will be able to control their breathing, tempo, and thought process in a grappling scenario much more effectively than what a normal, untrained person might be able to.

In my opinion, this is one of the largest benefits of jiu jitsu and something that a blue belt will have on their side. 

In addition to the mental edge, a completely untrained individual doesn’t have any knowledge of the basic techniques and positions of grappling. A bjj blue belt should be able to enforce their will and dominate someone who lacks this knowledge.

How dangerous is a bjj blue belt ?

Versus an untrained individual roughly around the same size, how dangerous is a bjj blue belt?

A blue belt can be considered actually quite dangerous.

They should be able to takedown, control and submit any person without grappling experience.

They will have much more knowledge and grappling ability due to their experience on the mat along with a better understanding of how to control their breathing and cardio.

These two factors are the ones that will likely determine any bout in favor of the blue belt.

Link: Curious about the next belt up? – check out “How dangerous is a purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu”

“The ground is my ocean, I am the shark, and most people don’t even know how to swim.”

Jean Jacques Machado

Can Blue Belts Beat Most People in a Street Fight?

While blue belt skill can vary widely among individuals and can vary heavily for those at the start of their blue belt vs blue belts closer to purple, blue belts can likely beat most people in a street fight if they are untraining and of a similar size.

A blue belt knows the basics and has begin to have success in their own jiu jitsu. If the person they are fighting doesn’t have any martial arts experience or athletic background, a blue belt can probably beat them in a street fight.

Is a Blue Belt Considered Good at BJJ?

In the realm of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), a blue belt is generally regarded as a practitioner with a solid foundation of skills and techniques.

They have advanced beyond being a complete novice and have earned their stripes through consistent training and dedication. When one considers the vastness of the BJJ knowledge base, a blue belt has only scratched the surface, yet their proficiency and understanding of the art are commendable.

A typical blue belt demonstrates proficiency in various positions, such as mount, side control, and guard (both top and bottom).

They can execute transitions smoothly and efficiently, acquiring an increasingly well-rounded game. Blue belts are often capable of executing a range of submissions, ranging from fundamental lapel chokes to more advanced techniques like the triangle and armbar. Furthermore, they possess essential self-defense skills that they can deploy in real-life situations.

While their knowledge and prowess in BJJ are still growing, blue belts often exhibit crucial attributes such as humility, adaptability, and resilience. These characteristics are critical determinants of success at higher belt levels. For instance, a blue belt might regularly face defeat in rolling sessions, but their willingness to learn and improve from these experiences accelerates their progress.

Statistically, only about 10% of students make it from blue to purple belt, signifying the significance of persistence and growth mindset in reaching higher ranks.

How Good Is a Competitive Blue Belt?

A competitive blue belt is actually considered quite good at jiu jitsu when compared to hobbyist blue belts.

A competitive blue belt can even give black belts a struggle. When I was a blue belt (while extremely rare), I did submit a handful of black belts in training who were older and more hobbyists.

Again, blue belt skill can vary widely among individuals. If the bjj practitioner, is a very active competitor, trains frequently, and is passionate about jiu jitsu they can definitely be really good and can give higher belts a real challenge.

What Percentage of People Make it to Blue Belt?

Approximately 25% of all BJJ practitioners make it to the blue belt level, with dropout rates reducing as individuals progress to higher belts.

The path to a blue belt requires persistence and commitment, as students need to invest significant time and effort into mastering techniques and concepts. On average, it takes between 12 to 24 months of consistent training to be promoted from a white belt to a blue belt, with the journey further uphill to achieve higher belt ranks.

It is essential to keep in mind that reaching the blue belt level represents a notable milestone in the BJJ journey, and it is just the beginning. With continued dedication to growth, development, and learning, those who persevere can aspire to achieve even greater accomplishments in BJJ.

With these figures in mind, many may be wondering the best way to get your bjj blue belt faster

How Do You Get a Blue Belt Faster in BJJ?

From my research among my coaches and training partners below are some quick points focus on:

  1.  Compete
  2.  Train with intention 
  3.  Train as often as possible 
  4.  Avoid over training and burning out
  5.  Put in time when off the mat to review and learn further

Related: check out our UPDATED full post with these tips further explained and how to implement them immediately

1. Competing – will give you a strong edge over your classmates who do not frequently compete.

You will have experienced the threat of an opponent using 100% of their effort against you and will have learned how to deal with this effectively and still perform proper techniques

2. Train with intention – showing up to the gym and live sparring and ending up in any number of random positions without a goal in mind is likely not the best way to work on specific techniques.

Through my research, many jiu jitsu practitioners have cited choosing one or two techniques or specific areas of their game that they wanted to work on and intentionally put themselves their during sparring as one of the main factors in their growth

3. Train as often as possible – this may be the biggest factor of how quickly you will progress. Nothing will top live training experiences.

While all other factors are supplementary and definitely aid your live sparring, spending time rolling will be invaluable and will flat out dictate how much you learn.

4. Avoid over training and burning out – this is the other end of the spectrum to the last point. Many students will start out just going to hard with training in the first weeks or months.

They see how much better everyone is than them and want to train as much as possible to fix this. There is a sense of diminishing returns in how much training time is beneficial.

Also, anecdotally, I’ve seen many fellow gym members train all out for the first couple months only to stop training all together. So it’s important to pace yourself and maximize your learning and training time.

5. Put in time when off the mat to review and learn further – while many don’t utilize this time enough, there are many who do.

With the boom of jiu jitsu instructionals, many students are taking advantage to learn at home and while not at their gym. With these tools you can learn to better fine tune your favorite techniques and quickly work on building up your weak points.

Link: Want to know the best way to learn from instructionals? Check out our guide Here

Does Competing Make You a Better Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu?

How to get ready for your first bjj tournament

Active participation in BJJ competitions cultivates a growth mindset and enhances various aspects of one’s skillset, making them a better blue belt practitioner.

Yes, competiting as a white and blue better will make your better and make you more dangerous to other untrained individuals.

Competitors are exposed to diverse styles, tactics, and techniques, enabling them to refine their game, address weaknesses, and adopt new strategies.

Plus, the intensity of a competition setting presents mentally and physically demanding scenarios that benefit overall development.

1. Preparation for competitions puts emphasis on sharpening skills, developing strategies, and honing weaknesses.

This focused training approach allows athletes to keenly assess their abilities, pinpoint areas that need improvement, and devise methods to compete successfully. Furthermore, regular exposure to different competitions enables competitors to test new techniques, refine existing ones, and find their unique BJJ identity.

2. The competition environment forces practitioners to push their physical limits and develop their athletic abilities.

The intensity of tournament matches pushes blue belts beyond their regular training boundaries, improving their stamina, strength, and precision. Facing opponents who are also striving for victory creates an atmosphere conducive to growth and adaptation.

3. Competing fosters mental fortitude in blue belt practitioners.

The pressure and intensity of matches, coupled with the heightened emotions often experienced during competition, challenge athletes to maintain composure, focus, and mental resilience. Developing mental strength in competition is an invaluable asset both on and off the mat.

4. Competition experience betters blue belts by exposing them to diverse opponents and unforeseen situations.

The opportunity to face various styles and techniques from practitioners affiliated with other academies broadens one’s BJJ knowledge and experiences. Grappling with unknown practitioners promotes adaptability, a core skill in BJJ progression.

At What Age Can You Get a Blue Belt?

The age at which a practitioner can achieve a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt varies with individual circumstances and academy guidelines.

However, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) stipulates that a student must be at least 16 years old to become eligible for a blue belt.

Prior to the age of 16, children follow a distinct youth belt system, which is designed to teach the fundamentals of BJJ at a pace suitable for their age and physical development.

The youth belt system is divided into various stages, with practitioners moving through white, grey, yellow, orange, and green belts before progressing to the blue belt when they turn 16.

Each of these belts has further tiers, allowing for consistent progress and tailored learning experiences. This structured approach enables young practitioners to grasp the techniques and strategies of BJJ gradually.

Starting BJJ at an earlier age has numerous advantages, including

  • improved coordination
  • agility
  • kinesthetic awareness

Young practitioners have a higher likelihood of developing a strong foundation in BJJ techniques, which can give them an edge over adults who begin at a later stage.

If You Start Younger as a Junior Are You a Better Blue Belt?

There is considerable evidence to suggest that individuals who begin practicing BJJ from a young age often make better blue belts than those who start their journey as adults.

Young practitioners follow a youth belt ranking system, which helps them build a strong technical foundation over several years. When they reach the age of 16, these students have already amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience, equipping them with an array of techniques and situational expertise.

By contrast, adult beginners may struggle with their initial steps in BJJ due to various factors, such as being overweight or out of shape, time/life limitations or experiencing a lack of flexibility and dexterity, which can hinder their progress.

Adult blue belts may make reasonable progress in a couple of years, but it is challenging for them to match the proficiency of their junior counterparts.

Young practitioners who become blue belts at 16 are often more agile, have better physical conditioning, and possess greater overall body awareness, which collectively make them more dangerous on the mat. The early exposure to the art of BJJ allows these young practitioners to transition seamlessly to more advanced techniques, giving them a competitive edge over their adult counterparts.

Do Most Blue Belts Get Their Black Belt

First, the journey from blue belt to black belt is lengthy and requires immense dedication.

It is estimated that only about 3% of individuals who start BJJ will achieve the black belt, taking roughly 10-15 years of consistent practice.

One must consider the numerous life events that might interfere with training and commitment, such as injuries, job changes, family responsibilities, or shifting interests.

Another factor that impacts the ratio of blue belts earning their black belt is the natural attrition rate in any sport or activity. It’s common for individuals to experience fluctuating motivation, periods of burnout, or plateauing. Many blue belts may be content with their achieved skills and not feel compelled to push towards higher belt levels.

However, for blue belts who persist, the training intensity and persistent refinement of techniques will bring them closer to the coveted black belt. As an example, grappling with advanced practitioners of various styles will develop their adaptability and expand their knowledge regarding the intricacies of BJJ, which is crucial for progress.

What if You’re a Blue Belt and You Feel Like You’re Not Progressing?

If you’re a blue belt and you feel like you’re not progressing, you’re not alone. This is actually very common at blue belt (see the next section).

The common reason why you may feel this way is like due to two things:

  1. You now know the basics of jiu jitsu and have realized how far you have to go
  2. You will now have the ability to do very well against some less experienced training partners but will still be beaten by more experienced ones.

Believe me if you are consistent and training hard – you are progressing even if you don’t realize it

The mixed feedback in your sparring (rolls) will make you feel like you are not progressing, but if you focus on working on your weak areas (by purposefully putting yourself in those situtations) you will get better!

What Is Blue Belt Blues?

The term “Blue Belt Blues” refers to the phenomenon of BJJ practitioners experiencing demotivation, doubt, or disinterest in training after being promoted to the blue belt level. The concept captures the emotional plateau that many blue belts face once the initial excitement of the sport fades and they start to grapple with the realities of their long-term goals.

Blue Belt Blues: Key Points and How to Avoid it

  • Understanding the Phenomenon: The term “Blue Belt Blues” refers to the feelings of demotivation, doubt, or disinterest in training that BJJ practitioners often experience after being promoted to the blue belt level. This emotional plateau often occurs as the initial excitement of the sport fades, and practitioners begin to grapple with the realities of their long-term BJJ journey.
  • Increased Expectations: The transition from a white belt to a blue belt increases perceived skill proficiency, which can lead to feelings of pressure and inadequacy. Practitioners and their peers may have higher expectations, causing stress and self-doubt.
  • Long-Term Journey Perception: As blue belts, practitioners start to realize the extensive time and dedication required to progress further in BJJ. This realization can cause doubts about their commitment and ability to continue improving, leading to feelings of being “stuck” or overwhelmed by the advanced techniques and strategies that lie ahead.
  • Social Dynamics: Blue belts often feel like “fresh meat” to upper belts, becoming regular targets for more experienced practitioners. Simultaneously, they may feel an increased responsibility to help lower belts, adding to the pressure and expectations.

Strategies to Avoid Blue Belt Blues:

  • Goal Setting: One of the effective ways to combat Blue Belt Blues is to set attainable short-term and long-term goals. Instead of focusing solely on belt promotions, practitioners should strive to improve individual skills and deepen their understanding of the martial art.
  • Strong Support Network: Developing a strong support network within the gym can help practitioners overcome feelings of demotivation or doubt. This network can provide guidance, encouragement, and a sense of community, which can be immensely beneficial during challenging times.
  • Maintain a Growth Mindset: Blue belts should try to maintain a growth mindset, viewing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. By focusing on the journey rather than the destination, they can find joy and satisfaction in their progress, irrespective of their belt color.
  • Mentorship: Serving as mentors to lower belts can be a fulfilling experience, fostering a sense of purpose and responsibility that can help counteract the blues. Helping others can often provide a new perspective on one’s own skills and progress.
  • Regular Reflection: Regularly reflecting on one’s journey, achievements, and areas of improvement can help maintain motivation and focus. Practitioners should celebrate their progress, however small, as this can help keep the blues at bay.

There are multiple facets underlying the Blue Belt Blues phenomenon. One significant aspect is the increased expectation placed on blue belts by themselves and others in the gym. The transition from a white belt to a blue belt elevates their perceived skill proficiency, potentially leading to feelings of pressure and inadequacy.

Additionally, blue belts may begin to view their long-term BJJ journey differently, recognizing the extensive time and dedication required to progress to the next level. This mental shift can cause doubts about their commitment and ability to continue improving in the sport. They may feel overwhelmed with the advanced techniques and strategies that lie ahead, inducing a sense of being “stuck” in their current skill level.

Moreover, the social dynamics as a blue belt could contribute to the Blue Belt Blues. Blue belts may feel they represent “fresh meat” to upper belts, becoming regular targets for more experienced practitioners. Simultaneously, they may feel an increased responsibility to help lower belts in the gym, adding to the pressure and expectations.

To tackle Blue Belt Blues, it’s important for practitioners to set attainable short- and long-term goals, develop a strong support network within the gym, and maintain a growth mindset, focusing not just on belt promotions but also on honing individual skills and gaining deeper understanding of BJJ as a martial art.

What Are the Main Differences Between Blue and Purple Belts in BJJ?

Some of the main differences I noticed when rolling with a blue belt vs a purple belt can be summed up in the below points describing each belt. I’ve also surveyed some of my training partners to help expand on some of my experiences:

Blue Belt in BJJ:

  1. Basic Proficiency: At the blue belt level, practitioners demonstrate proficiency in a number of techniques and possess a foundational understanding of BJJ’s conceptual underpinnings.
  2. Vs Other Belts: Practitioners at this level are often capable of dominating white belts and are competitive with other blue belts. They may tap out some purple belts, but are mostly dominated by them.
  3. Knowledge: A blue belt knows the game of BJJ but has yet to fully master it. Comparable to knowing the major roads in a city, they are able to navigate familiar routes but may struggle with more complex scenarios.
  4. Knowledge Limits: Despite their knowledge and proficiency in techniques, blue belts have yet to fully develop their intuitive sense of BJJ – their ability to adapt and react in real time based on pattern recognition and tactile memory.

Purple Belt in BJJ:

  1. Broader Knowledge: Purple belts are expected to have a broader array of techniques and greater depth in their understanding, showing a significantly expanded technical knowledge.
    • They are capable of instinctively recognizing patterns and chaining together techniques.
  2. Situational Awareness: Purple belt practitioners exhibit an improvement in situational awareness and reaction time, capitalizing on opportunities and predicting their opponent’s moves.
  3. The transition from blue to purple involves increased consistency and instinctive reactions.
  4. Mental Fortitude: Purple belts demonstrate a higher level of mental fortitude and composure. They are engaged in deeper strategic gameplay and showcase a clearer understanding of BJJ concepts.
  5. Vs Others: Purple belts can pose a threat to anyone if they can funnel the match into their preferred game.
  6. The ability to control pressure – how much, where, and when – is superior in purple belts. They can apply pressure more subtly and precisely than blue belts.
  7. A-game: A decent purple belt is expected to have a solid “A” game – a set of techniques that they can effectively employ against higher-ranked belts. If not respected, a good purple belt will make opponents pay.

Can a blue belt beat a black belt?

   The odds of a blue beat being able to beat a black belt are very low. However, competitive blue belts who excel at bjj can, on rare occasions, beat black belts.

It may happen in some gyms at very rare occasions, but a black belt should have a much larger and deeper understanding of jiu jitsu techniques.

They will often have years more experience (generally 8-10 years more) over a blue belt opponent.

A black belt will also have intricate knowledge of common reactions to their preferred techniques. They will have seen almost every possible reaction to their favored submissions and how to deal with them effectively.

Here’s a breakdown of a blue belt versus the higher jiu jitsu belts:

arrow, button, navigation-30330.jpg  Vs Purple Belt:

When considering how a blue belt will fare against other higher belts, it is somewhat common for a blue belt to catch a purple belt in a submission.

A purple belt will have a much better grasp of techniques however they are still prone to making mistakes which a blue belt can definitely take advantage

arrow, button, navigation-30330.jpg Vs Brown Belt:

A blue belt being able to submit a brown belt is fair less likely, even the most athletic blue belt should have a tough time being able  to control and beat a brown belt.

A brown belt will have much more mat time and will have a much higher threshold for survivability in tough spots and submissions.

In order to submit a brown belt, a submission likely has to be perfectly executed.

While a purple belt may still submit to a poorly performed technique with enough strength behind it from a blue belt, a brown belt will have years built up purely gritting out and surviving those same submissions.

arrow, button, navigation-30330.jpg Vs Black Belt:

Finally,  a black belt will move with effortless precision and will seem not to exert much effort at all when versing a blue belt.

While a blue belt will often be scrambling to get to their one or two favored positions, a black belt should have way more knowledge of such positions even if it is one that they don’t frequently utilize. 

With this in mind, a student’s prior grappling experience is always the biggest variable to consider.

Among blue belts, I’ve seen solid high school wrestlers give black belts tough rolls and judo black belts frequently take down black belts in jiu jitsu. 

If you have competed at blue belt, you can definitely almost painfully understand this sentiment.

Someone with previous grappling experience can be considered a threat to all across almost all jiu jitsu belts.

There is nothing quite as scary as stepping onto your first competition as a blue belt and feeling a judo practitioner’s unbreakable grip on your collar.

I’ve put a lot of time and thought into our guide for how to prepare for your first competition.

This is written from my personal experience accrued from over 20 competitions in the past couple years.

If you’re thinking about competing check it out here

Final Thoughts – How good is a bjj blue belt summed up:

   While a blue belt is only the second belt in brazilian jiu jitsu, it is still a respectable achievement and a student of this belt should feel quite competent against an untrained opponent of similar size.

One final time –  so, how good is a bjj blue belt? Someone with a bjj blue belt has a strong, general knowledge of all common takedowns, positions, defenses, and submissions in jiu jitsu. They should be able to effectively perform these jiu jitsu techniques on any untrained person around their size.

It is cited by members of my gym that BJJ practitioners who are deep in their blue belt and well on their way to purple belt have expressed confidence in almost any altercation versus someone untrained in grappling.

They have dealt with many other opponents on the mat with no or little experience in grappling and have likely been able to successfully control and submit them.

While this may be entirely different than an altercation when off they mat, they should be confident in knowing that many of their skills, knowledge, and conditioning will be very useful and provide a strong advantage.

Thanks for reading and see you on the mats!