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среда, 29 апреля 2015 г.

How Long Does it Take to Gain Black Belt in BJJ (basic grading guide)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is famed for being one of the martial arts where you truly have to earn your black belt on the mat with thousands of hours of drilling and sparring, showing the people around you that your skill in rolling is up to the level of black belt.

According to the IBJJF guide you have to be at least 19 years old to gain a black belt and should have spent a minimum of 4.5 years training at least 2 times a week. While this is clearly a minimum, there is no doubt that at the top-level competition academies, students train very often 2 times a day if not more combining all aspects of the sport from self defense and standing techniques such as judo throws, to gi and no-gi groundwork.

For example guys like Keenan Cornelius who clearly trained professionally at academies like Atos and Team Lloyd Irvin have dedicated themselves full-time to the sport and still only managed to reach the black belt after 8 years. 

Others such as BJ Penn and Caio Terra have been promoted much more rapidly and without a doubt remain one of the top brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners having won the world championships (IBJJF) at black belt level.

I think you would typically see a lot of practitioners reach black belt in around 10-15 years of consistent training. I think this should refer more to black belt level rather than the black belt itself as unfortunately today with the rise of the popularity of the sport, some instructors have started to bend the rules and gradually bring down the quality of the sport.

For example there is no denying that the level of intensity and general quality of the sparring partners varies significantly between academies. I personally have found that "family" style academies such as Gracie Barra have a much lower quality of practitioners with many blue belts corresponding more to white belt level and purple belts to blue belt level. Even though the instructors may be the top world class competitors, sometimes you will find that the academy as a whole and the head instructor will choose to promote some of his senior purple belts faster than he really should in order to show that his academy has a big group of senior grades and not just blue and white belts.

There is just no real escape from mat time and dedication required and I think to a great extent the quality of the teaching is very important. The student teacher bond whereby the instructor is really investing time into the student is necessary in order to achieve great results.

Overall I think the time required to achieve the technical ability to reach belt differs but I would say that one needs to be training for at least 2-3 years in each belt to attain a certain level of understanding of the techniques and develop the game. This fact is also supported by the polls I have held on this blog for a while now. I think 2 years per belt is something that is achievable with a minimum of 4-5 training sessions a week schedule and 3 years per belt at 3-4 sessions. 

That makes for around 4 trainings*50 weeks*3 years * 4 belts = 2400 training sessions overall to achieve the grade and 12 years of training required. 

2400/ (50 weeks) / 2 years / 4 belts = 6 trainings per week to achieve the black belt in 8 years

Based on the above you should spend 12 years * 12 months / 4 belts / 5 (since you can also have no stripes) = 7.2 months per stripe! (with 4 training per week)

Of course my calculation is probably a little more strict than reality. I think in reality most people will reach purple belt in 500 sessions and black in 1000 sessions.

It is of course a question of motivation.

Training 6 times a week you should spend 8 years * 12 months / 4 belts / 5 = 4.8 months per stripe

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