One of the first things you’ll be presented with upon joining and committing to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school or gym is a white belt.
This belt represents the beginning of your journey, it shows others in your class and you that you are new to the sport and that you are taking your first steps.
Unlike other martial arts, BJJ practitioners often spend a long time as a white belt, and the journey from white to blue can sometimes feel like a gigantic boulder to climb.
So let’s say you’re wondering how long it will take for you to graduate. How long exactly does it take for a white belt to become a blue belt?
Well, there are lots of different answers to these questions, and these depend mostly on your coaches, how quick you are to learn, as well as how committed you are.
In this article, we’re going to take you through everything you’ll need to know about the white belt journey and how long it will take for you to get that sweet blue belt.
Let’s get into it!
How Long Will It Take For Me To Be A Blue Belt?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a new sport, and because of this, there are a lot of variations when it comes to belts depending on where it is you are learning.
There are different systems for learning BJJ, whether it be gi-only, or no-gi, and often gyms run their programs completely differently.
For example, what you would be likely to learn at a Tenth Planet Gym is quite different from what you’d learn showing up at a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Gym.
So because of this, it can be really hard to say a time period between white and blue belt. It depends entirely on the person coaching you.
How Are Belts Rewarded?
A new belt (or a stripe on your belt), is typically given to you once you’ve shown a certain level of growth.
Belt upgrades usually come at the end of a class, whereupon the coach will gather everyone around, announce the promotion, and pass over the new belt.
This is an extremely exciting time for any BJJ practitioner, and often some of the main goals that people strive for as they grow and learn new skills.
But how exactly are these promotions chosen? It’s usually down to the discretion of the coach.
Let’s say you’ve been a white belt for six months, you show up to every single class you can, you work hard, you’re respectful to others, and you’re starting to show real improvements in your game.
This is the time when you may begin to be given stripes, or even belt promotions.
An early misconception that some new BJJ practitioners have is the idea that if you can tap someone out who is a higher belt than you, then you should be promoted.
This isn’t really how BJJ works. In sparring, you have every opportunity to tap somebody else at any given moment, no matter what belt they have. Belts are not just an indication of skill, but also of dedication to martial art.
Often, a belt shows how much time you’ve put in – but of course, with that dedicated time will come skill.
One of the main reasons that belts are much tougher to get in BJJ compared to other martial arts, is that belts mean a lot more when it comes to skill. A BJJ Blackbelt is likely going to be able to tap out a white belt 100% of rolls they engage in.
This is because black belts are hard to get, and often take upwards of 10 years to achieve. The journey from white belt to black belt is a big commitment and requires a lot of rolling experience, hard work, and dedication.
Black belts often become coaches or high-level competitors.
That’s not to say the journey ends there, because there is no real end to what an individual can learn within martial arts, as BJJ is always expanding and developing as new techniques get discovered.
Main Tips For Getting A Belt Promotion
Attendance is the most important thing for growth. If you show up on time for every lesson you commit to, this will show your coach that you are serious about learning, and respect their time and guidance.
You should always show respect and kindness to your fellow BBJ practitioners. This means helping people out if they need it, being careful not to injure others when rolling, and always being an open-minded, respectful person.
These are staples in the BJJ community and one of the reasons why it’s such a fast-growing martial art.
Your coach is going to be showing you a variety of different drills, and whilst it can be an exciting idea to try and learn more difficult BJJ skills and positions, it’s always best to focus on the basics.
As a white belt, you need to make sure you’re learning the fundamental skills that will allow you to master more complex stuff later.
Be patient. Your coach will know when you’re ready for a promotion and providing you are doing all the things listed above, it will come eventually.
The worst thing you can do is ask your coach for a belt, or debate that you should have it. It is their belt to give to you, not yours to take.
Whilst rolling can seem intimidating to a beginner, BJJ is all about applied skills. That’s what makes it one of the most effective martial arts for self-defense.
You’ll want to roll with everyone you can, and whilst you’re rolling, make sure you practice those fundamental skills so that you can hone them.
So there you have it! We hope that this guide has given you some insight into the average journey of a white belt and that you now feel a lot more confident about the whole process.
Generally, we’d suggest that you enjoy your time as a white belt, it’s an exciting time where you begin to forge some of the most basic skills needed to further your BJJ journey.
We wish you the best of luck and hope that BJJ is a sport that gives you skills and life lessons that will last you forever!