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What to Expect from a Blue Belt

Kids Jiu Jitsu in Plano - Gracie Gym

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A BLUE BELT practicioner

In this article we will discuss what a Jiu-Jitsu blue belt should know, what positions must be learned, as well as give you some tips.  We will also cover common errors made by a Blue belt.

Check out some of the items that all Blue Belts (or wannabe Blue Belts) should know:

Control your cardio

We are not saying you need to finish a sparring session completely rested, but you should not have to take a break because you are too tired, after the first bout.  Know how to use your cardio sparingly, and get into ‘resting’ positions when necessary.

Learn Defense

Roger Gracie has always said “I built my game on top of a solid defense“.  As a blue belt, you should have a solid defensive game, know not only how to defend an armlock, but also a triangle, a rear naked choke, defend your back, defend the mount, and know how to maintain your balance to defend the sweep effectively.  The blue belt should know how to defend, because for this belt, he will need to defend themselves a lot more than they will be able to attack.

Sequential Movements

When we start the learning, it is common to learn several sweeps, submissions, and guard passes.  In most cases, we learn them as isolated moves, until we get to the desired position, and THEN we think of our next move.  That is completely expected and acceptable as part of the learning process.  But our movements at this level look like a piece of patchwork blanket in the beginning stage, with unmatched pieces and no pattern to follow. 

When talking about sequential movements, the student should be able to have a move ready, after delivery of the first move.  Example: A student is passing the guard, and their concentration should be in that particular movement as he executes it, however they also need to plan what they will do once there.  Execute a submission from side control? Mount? Work to get the back? Because the way in which the guard is passed, will influence the very next move. 

The belt test varies from gym to gym.  Some administer a formal test, with all students around the mat, while the Professor evaluates as student executes his positions during the test.  Other instructors evaluate students all year long, making the call when the student is ready for their belt, or even a third way, is 2 dates are set during the year for the instructor to give belts to those he believes are ready.  The list below is not specific to any particular academy, but a list of what blue belts are expected to know at a minimum.  Each instructor however could have a small variation to these requirements.

Take Downs – 3 Take downs (Ex: Double Leg, Ippon Seio Nage, Osoto Gari) 1 take down  defense (Ex: opponent with Single Leg, counter with Sumi Gaeshi)

FROM Closed Guard - ArmLock, Triangle, Omoplata, 3 Chokes, 2 sweeps (Ex: Scissor sweep

FROM Half Guard - 2 Sweeps, 2 guard passes, 2 Submissions from mount, 1 from bottom position

Side Control TO - Knee on Belly, Mount, 3 types of arm locks from Side Mount (Ex: Armlock, Americana, Kimura), 3 Chokes

Spider Guard- 2 Guard Passes, 2 Submissions

From the Back – 4 Chokes, 1 Defense(Ex Turtle position)

From Mount - 4 Chokes, 2 Arm locks

Rules knowledge – Basic points knowledge of each position

Knowing the above items, you will be close to ready to become a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

Pointers for a Blue Belt

The best pointer we can give to an aspiring Blue Belt is the following: Theories are more important than actual moves.  What we mean is that everyone’s body is NOT made the same.  Our strengths and understanding are different from student to student. 

Example: In learning a position that requires the left hand grip be used on the collar of their opponent to sweep when they are caught off balance.  The essence of the lesson for the sweep is that you must catch your opponent off balance in order to sweep.  Of course you cannot catch them off balance any which way you want, without correct technique, opening yourself up to attack.  In the above example, maybe instead of the collar, for your game, its best to grip the sleeve. You must think for yourself, and experiment.  You should not  execute moves like a robot!

Common Errors of a Blue Belt

To Err is human, we all know that. Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that uses the mistakes of your opponent to progress your game.  I’m not a ‘know it all’, pointing fingers.  I am listing the most common mistakes I made as a blue belt.

Didn’t stabilize the position

The most common mistakes made by white and blue belts, either training or in tournaments, is of now stabilizing a position.  The impulse of wanting to mount right after passing the guard, makes us miss the mount, and side control.  We want to take the back, and go directly to the choke, without first putting in the hooks. This causes you to not get the 4 points, and go from an extremely advantageous position, to having to put someone in closed guard.  Friend, pass the guard and STABILIZE! Hug the head of your friend, put your knee from leading hip onto their side, and hold you side control! Then make your next move!

Use too much Strength

Jiu-Jitsu is a contact sport, and you will invariably use force.  Saying Jiu Jitsu will not use strength, is not exactly like that! What we condemn, is when someone uses ONLY strength, meaning they use brute strength in lieu of a good technique using strength.  Use strength when necessary, but if you are using strength for ALL your moves, than there is something wrong the needs to be corrected!

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