You’ve gone to your first BJJ class. You loved it. Or maybe you hated it, but saw the value in sticking around and trying to get good.
Either way, you’ve decided that BJJ is for you. Now you start to look at the guys and girls who have being training a while, in their cool-looking blue belts. You think, “how can I get one of those awesome blue belts?”
It takes some time, and some hard work, but not an unimaginable length of time. It’s an achievable goal for anyone, even if you’ve just started BJJ and have zero clue what you’re doing.
Keep reading, and we’ll let you know how long it takes to get your blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Is There a Standard Length of Time to Stay at White Belt?
There’s no set length of time you have to stay a white belt. Generally, if you’re good enough, you can go up to blue belt at any time.
There is a minimum period you’re supposed to spend at certain levels, laid out by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). But, as you can see in the following image, there’s no official minimum time you have to be a white belt for.
Of course, though the IBJJF is technically the world’s governing body for BJJ, there’s no reason your coach and you have to follow these rules – unless you want to compete in official IBJJF events some time in the future.
What Are the Requirements to Get a Blue Belt in BJJ?
There are no official requirements you need to meet to get a BJJ blue belt. It’s generally just up to your coach to decide if you’re ready.
The requirements for all BJJ belt levels are pretty loose. Some schools might have a curriculum they use for grading, but this will be different for each academy.
How Many Stripes Do You Get Before Going to Blue Belt?
Many gyms do “stripes” as a form of promotion in between belts. As you see in the image above, these are strips of white BJJ tape that go on the black bar at the end of your belt.
You accumulate four stripes on your belt before going up to the next color belt.
Not all gyms do stripes, however. And stripes aren’t official, either. They’re just a sign of how you’re progressing, and how close you’re getting to the next belt level. It’s not like you’ll have a competition with 2 stripe, 3 stripe, and 4 stripe divisions.
Someone can also get promoted before getting all four stripes as well. My purple belt promotion was like this – I went straight from a 3 stripe blue belt, to purple belt, skipping over the last stripe.
How Long Do Most People Take to Get a Blue Belt?
The length of time people take to get a blue belt varies A LOT. That’s because everyone comes into BJJ at a vastly different level.
Some have hardly any fitness, sports or martial arts experience whatsoever, so the learning curve – both physically and mentally – is enormous at first.
Others might come in with experience in some other athletic field, or great physical shape from the get-go, and have a bit of an easier time getting started.
On average, it’s usually between 1-2 years to go from white to blue belt. But don’t try to measure yourself against this too much. Everyone has different circumstances, and some can train more or less than others.
Some have long injuries, some are able to stay healthy and train more consistently.
For me, it took 2 and a half years to get my blue belt – a little long, maybe, but I progressed faster as a blue belt as a result.
Don’t measure yourself against other people – just measure yourself against the you from yesterday, and focus on getting a little better each day.
Can You Go Straight to Blue Belt?
Some people do go straight to blue belt, skipping most of white belt, or at times skipping white belt completely.
This is generally because they come in with a level of experience in another field of grappling that means they’re ahead of the white belt level from the start. Most often this will be a high-level wrestler or MMA fighter, who has a lot of the core concepts of grappling down already.
It’s a little less common for someone to come from a martial art like Judo, Jujitsu (the traditional Japanese form of Jiu Jitsu) or Aikido – but it can happen as well.
The other case when you skip white belt altogether is when someone who has been training as a youth turns 16. The age of 16 is the minimum age to be a blue belt, so many experienced teenagers who are already at that level – particularly those who hold a green belt, the highest kids’ belt level – go immediately to blue when they hit the minimum age.
How Often Should You Train to Get to Blue Belt?
We wrote a post on how often you should aim to train Jiu Jitsu each week. In this post, we mentioned that the optimal training frequency depends largely on your own circumstances, such as how serious you are, what other commitments you have outside of BJJ, and even how many Gis you have.
That rings true here. You shouldn’t think you have to hit a minimum training threshold, and measure yourself against what others are doing. Train and progress at your own pace.
It is best to train consistently. Meaning every week, if you can, as this will help the concepts and movements you learn to stick. If you can do 2-3 times per week, consistently, this is great.
Just be wary about thinking you have to grind hard and train every day for a year to get your blue belt. People who go all-in like this progress fast, sure, but they also tend to burn out earlier.
That’s why there’s an in-joke in the BJJ community about blue belts disappearing. It’s true – not in all cases, obviously, but a lot of people earn their blue belt and then stop coming. Sometimes for a while, sometimes altogether. It’s usually because they pushed too hard, and when they finally get to blue belt, they lose all motivation.
It’s better off to be slow and steady when you’re first learning. When you get to blue, purple, and above, and you’ve cemented that the BJJ life is part of you forever, you can start getting serious. But beware about pushing too fast too soon.
What Should I Learn as a White Belt?
Again, there’s no fixed curriculum for white belt. You don’t get your blue belt by showing off X number of submissions and X number of sweeps.
What you should be able to do is show some level of competency in all basic techniques. Basic submissions like armbars, triangles, shoulder locks, rear naked chokes and guillotines. You should also learn the core concept of control, as well as basic sweeps and escapes.
It’s better to focus on the fundamentals. Get these down first, and when you get to blue belt, you’ll be excited to start learning more advanced techniques.
You don’t necessarily need to be able to submit every other white belt, or win a tournament, or submit a blue belt to get your promotion. It depends on the coach, but for many, you just need to show you have a basic understanding in BJJ, and you’re comfortable with core, fundamental techniques.