JIU JITSU PURGATORY : Life after the blue belt

you got your belt…now what?

This is an article wrote by Garcia

So you finally did it , after all the months of having to go second in drilling , standing at the very end of the line , competing dead last at tournaments – you did it. You climbed Mount Everest , opened pandora’s box , found the last digit of Pi and got yourself that coveted blue belt. But not long after the starch wears off of your belt you come face to face with the same question that so many blue belts before you have faced…now what? You’ve become like a kid at Christmas time with a new toy, by the time New Years rolls around he’s already lost interest or broken it. That’s right, you’ve entered Jiu Jitsu purgatory. The blue belt blues is in full swing. The pain staking journey you’ve endured on your way to getting your blue belt has resulted in one big adrenaline dump. And it’s not a journey you’re excited to embark on in order to get your purple. Statistics show that almost half of all Brazilian jiu-Jitsu practitioners are just like you , they’re blue belts. Because they finally achieve some rank and feel accomplished and then quit. They quit competing ,they quit coming to class ,and they become content with just not being a white belt. So how can you make it out of jiu Jitsu purgatory? Below is the detailed list of how to beat the blue belt blues-


1. Take a step up in competition

So by now we all know that you’re more than capable of winning gold at the local high school 3-person-division-20$ registration fee- backwoods tournament. But now that you’re a blue belt; you can try your hand at a national level tournament like the Pan ams or the IBJJF worlds or even the closest IBJJF tournament to you. You never know if your getting your money’s worth for Jiu Jitsu lessons unless you test yourself against equally skilled opponents. Not to mention placing or even winning at a tournament like this is going to draw positive attention to your coach and your academy ,which is going to result in exponential growth for everyone involved. Now that you’ve acquired some rank you have nothing to prove to anyone , it’s time to prove to yourself just how good you can be. Go in with the mindset that you can beat anyone in the world at your weight and skill level, and the worst thing that’s going to happen is you will lose and come back having learned something about yourself. Nobody makes fun of the guy who tries his hand atworld class competition and comes up short. Regardless of if you win or lose you will learn something about yourself and about your jiu Jitsu game by competing at the national level. Competing at a large scale tournament is an experience like no other. The huge mats , the lights, getting to see world class black belts go at it, you will not regret giving it a shot.


2. Become a referee

Now that you’re a blue belt, you also have the opportunity to take an IBJJF rules course (usually held the day before IBJJF tournaments) and become a certified referee. If you officiate at enough competitions and become good enough at it ; some tournaments will even pay your air fair and let you compete for free all over the world in exchange for reffing matches. Becoming a ref also helps you gain a deeper understanding of the points system and jiu Jitsu strategy. It’s like a free front row seat to watch the best grapplers in the world lock horns. Good referee’s are highly sought after and highly respected in the jiu Jitsu community , as they are few and far between. Good referees mean that the tournament runs smoothly , on time, and most important we don’t have any coaches or parents foaming at the mouth screaming about a bad call.


 Felipe Costa Victory during IBJJF tournament


3. Help teach

At academies in smaller cities , once you reach the two or three stripe stage you start to become sort of an extension of your professor, helping new people learn the basics and walking around assisting people drilling technique. If you are one of the higher ranking students in your school; offer to teach a class once or twice a week or even start a beginners class. Remember that your coach promoted you because he has faith in you! and anything that alleviates some pressure and responsibility from him will surely be a welcomed gesture. Believe it or not your coach actually wants nothing more than for everyone in the academy to eventually become a black belt and have their own school. Do not be afraid to exercise the leadership skills your coach has handed down to you. Offer to start a class specifically for drilling or even offer to host open mats on weekends if your professor will give you a key. It’s not just about the color of the belt, gaining rank also means gaining leadership skills.

 teaching class


4. Cross train

By now you’ve been at your academy close to two years or more, why not go to an open training session at another academy, or take up judo or wrestling to compliment your BJJ? Maybe you will learn some new techniques and strategies that you can bring home to share with your professor and team mates, remember the name of the game is “growth”. By not trying new things and not rolling with new people you will become stagnant , step out of your comfort zone. See if your coach wants to get a few people together and go to another academy for an open mat day. Exchange ideas and techniques with other athletes. Attend a seminar hosted by another association. Jiu Jitsu academies aren’t like high school football teams where they cringe at the sight of the others uniform, a lot of schools have an open door policy when it comes to cross training and welcome people from other schools to come train.

judo takedown drill


5. Have the mind of a white belt.

This is the big one. When you’re a white belt, all wide eyed and new to grappling, you ask 100 questions a day and want to know everything about everything that entails jiu Jitsu. So why then; once people get their blue belts do they stop asking questions? You probably have the mind set of ” I’m a blue belt now , I’m supposed to know everything , I’d look stupid if I asked tons of questions” right? Wrong. Jiu Jitsu is a lot like music. It’s an art. And by the time you’ve reached the blue belt you’ve probably adopted a small arsenal of favorite techniques or “songs”. But listening to the same song over and over and over you will eventually grow bored and tired of it. Problem with jiu Jitsu as an art form as opposed to music, people get tired of what was once their favorite technique , grow bored, and QUIT. But you wouldn’t just stop listening to music just because you got tired of a couple songs would you? Of course not! So keep learning , keep trying new things. If you’ve got a great de la riva guard , and you think you’ve learned just about all there is to know , try out spider guard! Develop your top game ! Get good at takedowns! Never ever stop learning. Always ask questions like a white belt and be eager to learn and I promise you will not find yourself in jiu Jitsu purgatory !

comprido teaching bjj

This is an article wrote by Garcia


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Jun 30, 2014 Categories: BJJ Jiu Jitsu Motivational