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среда, 14 августа 2013 г.

How Long to BJJ Purple Belt?

I think most academies you will go to, people will tell you that it does not matter what belt you are and that what is more important is technique. While I cannot agree more to this statement, belts count a lot in BJJ. 

While at white belt you spend most of your time especially six months into training thinking about when will be the magic day when you get your blue belt, when you actually get to blue belt things change a lot. You are on the other side of the fence I would say. Those hungry and athletic white belts will want to hunt you down and get that sacred submission on you.

A couple of weeks ago I experienced such a moment. I was rolling with a white belt, may 6 or a year into training BJJ. I was quite tired and I think it was my fifth sparring roll and there he was going as hard as he could to try to catch me on something. He was at least 20 kg or 45 lbs heavier but having managed to attempt to take my back he latched on to try to get the choke on me. How upset was he that despite his best efforts (I mean with all his strength he tried to force everything he knew) he could not do anything and he was really upset. 

I think the blue belt is when white belts really start hunting you. I thinking many of us were that guy. Four striped white belt looking to catch a fresh blue belt on some submission hold. 

What is for sure important is belt colour whether we want to admit it or not. It is an enormous boost when you come to training and beat a guy of a higher grade and it is also an enormous set back when you come to training and you lose to a lower belt. Happens to me I think every day. Some time I go hard and try to win while at other times I like to roll light or for position, to maintain position but not use strength and of course sometimes the guy is good or you just werent focusing. The most important thing is to learn from the mistakes  as at the end of the day what is important is how you fight in competition. You can lose to everybody in training but if you come back home with a bundle of IBJJF medals and they don't, this is the real test. 

Gradually we become used to the blue belt. After a year or more you become more mature and technical. Suddenly white belts pose no real threat to you. It is no longer about you defending but it is now about attacking and holding the position you attain. As I became a mature blue belt with nearly two years at blue belt, I realized that it is nothing special for me to be able to successfully defend against other blue belts and hold my ground. Now it is time to develop my attack: actively initiating sweeps and guard passes. I don't want to recover guard from half guard. I want to transition and obtain the dominant position and then retain it at will. The more I practice the better I become at passing the guard but when I get there in side control, I want to retain this position at will. This is the next level I think and even if some submission does not work out, I want to get side control and then work to transition to mount or back or submission depending on the situation giving no room for my opponent to escape. I think this is where purple belts try to gain this additional level of expertise and whats sets them apart from the blue belts. Unlike blue belts, they already have a strategy, what passesses they like, which sweeps from the bottom work for them and they not only can defend but can also start to attack when they see the opportunity.

I have read that the IBJJF minimum number of classes for Blue Belt is somewhere around 120-130 and for Purple Belt at a minimum 360 classes. I think at Alliance it is also minimum 360 classes.

Thats a minimum of 140 classes at blue belt. Today I have had 228 classes as a blue belt so I don't think the minimum counts for much and the level at each belt can vary drastically. 

I've seen some guys here in Russia that are very good at blue belt while in the USA I have encountered some purple belts that did not appear to have that much grappling skill as I would have expected. I think really the difference is in the style of training. There are family BJJ guys that train two times per week. These guys are like 35-40 years old and it is just not fair to try to compare a 20 year old guy who trains 5-6 times a week and does conditioning. Both can be of the same belt colour.

In my fair assessment, I think I would like to hit pruple at around 350 classes at blue. I thinks thats a fair number. at three times per week thats only two years and a half which is fine in my opinion. You need to earn it and I think you want to feel purple belt and not just get it. 

Purple belt is an elite grappler in BJJ. Its a Judo black belt and a really skilled guy that should be able to easily overcome any white belt in class and also teach blue belts a thing or two about BJJ. I also think the purple belt should be well rounded, knowing at the minimum two or three good guard passing techniques, two good submissions and know one type of guard as the "go to place". Plus I think a good purple should have competed at least a couple of times. Its important to be a complete fighter that has the experience to share with the younger grades. It would be a shame for me at white belt to get advice from a purple belt about competitions if he has not entered. Of course everyone has there one situation but for purples that teach I think they should have some competition experience so they know what works and what does not in a comp.

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