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What Percentage of People Actually Make It to Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

On average, only ~13% of bjj students will make it to purple belt. In terms of jiu jitsu statistics this means that over 85% of people quit before they get their purple.

Shown below are a dozen pictures taken during the beginner’s classes at my gym, 10th Planet San Diego, in 2019. I have marked all the students who have made it to purple belt then added them up to come to an average of only ~13% of all total students achieving their purple belt.

For reference, the belt order in BJJ is: White > Blue > Purple > Brown > Black.

Here is a breakdown of the average cumulative time it takes to get each belt in jiu jitsu:

What Does It Take to Get a Purple Belt?

Aside from the obvious like consistent training, to get your purple belt you should take your training into your own hands.

This means being acutely aware of your own weaknesses, create daily, weekly, monthly goals, and even learning on your own from bjj instructionals or other resources.

How Hard Is It to Get a Purple Belt?

A purple belt is actually quite hard to get in jiu jitsu. Whereas receiving your blue belt is mainly a measure of time, being awarded your purple belt by your coach is a measure of your skill.

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

A blue belt thinks he knows jiu jitsu, a purple knows he doesn’t.

  1. Skill Proficiency and Understanding: A purple belt has a deeper understanding of BJJ concepts and does not require basic explanations of techniques.
  2. Autonomy in Learning: Purple belts are expected to take a more active role in their learning process, connecting the dots between different techniques and strategies on their own.
  3. Strategic Application: At the purple belt level, instruction focuses more on strategy and applying jiu-jitsu against different styles or physical traits of opponents. Blue belts may still be learning the broader application of techniques and may not yet be focused on strategic nuances.
  4. Advanced Belt Expectations: As the first advanced belt, purple belts are considered proficient enough to be challenging for many practitioners, including those at higher belt levels.
  5. Specialization: Purple belts often have certain positions or techniques in which they excel, sometimes giving higher belts trouble in those areas.
  6. Competency and Effectiveness: Purple belts are generally more effective and efficient in their execution of techniques across a wider range of positions and situations. Blue belts may know many of the same techniques but typically lack the same level of execution and effectiveness.
  7. Experience: The experience level of a purple belt is significantly higher, with some comparing the amount of training a purple belt has to that of a black belt in judo.

How Long to Earn a Black Belt in BJJ?

On average, it takes 8-12 years of consistent training to get a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

What Percentage of People Who Start BJJ Get a Black Belt?

In the world of BJJ, the percentage of practitioners who eventually earn a black belt is relatively low. Data suggests that only about 1-3% of those who start BJJ make it to black belt status.

This includes not only those who diligently train but also factors in the high attrition rates at lower belt levels.

For example, it was reported that approximately 88% of white belts never reach blue belt, which is just the first step in the long progression to black belt.