When you’re early into your BJJ journey and still rolling around as a white belt, it’s easy to get stars in your eyes and imagine the day you’ll be wearing a blue belt with pride, submitting all the white belt newbies as they walk through the door.
But getting your blue belt in BJJ can be very different for each person. In short, how long does it take to get a blue belt in BJJ?
Getting your blue belt in BJJ can take anywhere between 6 months up to 2 years. The speed at which you can go from white belt to blue belt depends on various things like natural athleticism and coordination, learning ability, and commitment to training.
I even asked my coach to give me some guidelines about timeframes for reaching the blue belt, so keep reading the rest of this article to find out what he said!
How long to get blue belt in BJJ
The road to earning your blue belt follows particular goals you need to hit to obtain it, sometimes even a formal requirements test before you are given your blue belt.
Average time to get blue belt in BJJ
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student can expect to get their blue belt within 1-1.5 years on average. Some can earn it much sooner with six months of training if they have a combat sports background, but for most, it will take around a year.
Before I started writing this article, I decided to ask my BJJ coach, Justin Sidelle of RitualsJJ, directly what he thinks about how long it takes to get your blue belt, and this was his answer:
In my experience it’s somewhere between 6 months to 2 years. It really comes down to how much time the person can commit to the training, there learning curve, athletic ability and coordination. All of these are factors that are going to effect how long it takes to earn a blue belt.
Also many instructors also care about how you act on the mats towards your teammates. So if you have a bad attitude it can also effect your promotion.
So as long as you train hard, your consistent and are making an effort to apply techniques in class you will be a blue belt before you know it.Justin Sidelle, BJJ Black Belt And Instructor
It’s pretty clear from his answer and the research I’ve conducted so far that the speed at which you can achieve your blue belt comes down to a commitment to the training, your unique ability to learn, and any natural gifts you may have, but also a great attitude towards your fellow BJJ teammates.
Justin has some great tips here on how to get your blue belt as fast as possible:
The first thing Justin talks about is how he has his eye for promotions for those students who show up consistently. The time you take off from BJJ can hinder your process, as the learning compounds over being consistent most of all.
Let’s look at the typical timeline of earning your blue belt. While some people could achieve it as fast as six months, it would take most people over a year.
I’ll explain these briefly in the order they are likely to happen, though the order you earn them could change.
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Before you reach your blue belt, you’ll need to earn four stripes on your white belt. These four stripes signify a certain degree of learning compared to others at your level.
Let’s start from the beginning and the lead-up to earning your first stripe on your belt. This usually happens around the third month:
Month 3: First Stripe
To earn your first stripe on your white belt, you’ll need to display good technique and application of guard retention.
Guard retention is using and applying your guard effectively, especially when considering distance management.
There are different distances where your opponent could be further away from you, medium distance, or right on top of you, and you need to be able to display a guard in each of them by presenting layers of the guard for your opponent to break.
Those layers usually look like the spider guard, then the lasso guard, De La Riva guard, reverse De La Riva guard, knee shield guard, quarter guard, and finally deep half guard.
Month 6: Second Stripe
To earn the second stripe on your white belt, you’ll need to be able to display the ability to pass the guard.
Passing the guard has many variations for different scenarios, though the fundamentals are the same.
Being able to pass the guard often requires isolating one leg to remove its grip, then punishing that same leg with applying your weight or locking it from the use of your opponent before gradually climbing up their guard and putting them into the defensive position.
Month 9: Third Stripe
To earn the third stripe on your white belt, you should show that you can perform sweeping the guard.
This is when you have your opponent in a closed guard (wrapped between your legs) from your back, and you can perform a technical sweep that brings you physically on top of your opponent in a full mount.
Month 12: Fourth Stripe
The final stripe to earn is by showing that you can take your opponent’s back and control from that position.
Being on your opponent’s back is a strong position because it makes it very difficult and forces your opponent to exert a lot of energy to escape.
It also puts you in a prime position for different chokes or even switching into other submissions like an armbar.
Month 15: BJJ Blue Belt Requirements Test
After you’ve earned four stripes on your white belt, you could be a few months away from achieving your full promotion to a blue belt.
Some coaches and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gyms may require you to pass a requirements test or display proficiency in specific key techniques.
Let’s take a look at Alliance BJJ‘s blue belt test requirements, which are often considered the authority BJJ association in the world and the best BJJ team in the world.
To pass the blue belt requirements test of Alliance BJJ, you’ll need to show that you can do the following:
Throws And Takedowns
- One leg throw
- Two hip throws
- Two double leg throws
- One single leg throw
- One way of defending the guillotine while standing
- One way of defending the headlock while standing
- One way of defending the headlock on the ground
Passing The Guard
- Three different ways to pass the guard and win side control
- One sweep from the half-guard
- One half-guard pass
Sweeps From The Guard
- Three different ways to sweep your opponent
- Two ways to escape the mount
- One way to escape the side-mount
- One way to escape the rear-mount
- One way to escape the knee-on-belly
- Three submissions from the mount
- One double attack submission
- Three submissions from the side-mount
- Two submissions from the back
- Two submissions from knee-on-belly
- Three submissions from the guard
In Alliance BJJ’s blue belt test requirements, they also state:
On average, 10 to 14 months of training with a minimum of 100 to 120 classes plus passing the following test. Belt promotions are always at the discretion of the head instructor. Factors such as above-average class attendance, natural ability, or competing could possibly shortened the time to blue belt, while a poor attitude, bad temper, or a lack of common morality outside the school could lengthen it.Alliance BJJ Belt Requirements
Earning your blue belt is a mixture of commitment, time investment, attitude towards the training, and your fellow practitioners all contribute to reaching the blue belt sooner or later.
How hard is it to get a blue belt in BJJ?
It isn’t necessarily hard to get to a blue belt in BJJ as long as you are committed and persistent with training and constantly learn from your coach. Earning your blue belt is more than just being good in BJJ but also your attitude on the mats.
A common issue with many white belts is that they may have a high level of enthusiasm or natural athleticism that when they come to sparring, they go with full force.
Going full force too early is a one-way ticket to either injury or embarrassment. The injury might not be your own, but it could be that of your sparring partner.
No one comes into BJJ to injure themselves, and if you’re trying to smash all your training partners, you’re not facilitating a learning environment, which could hold you back.
Many coaches want to foster a strong bond in their BJJ community and those that come to train. After all, they are running a business that relies on new people coming in to practice.
If you’re trying to throw people around and do risky techniques that you don’t know how to perform safely, you’re not just going to injure your fellow practitioners but catch the eye of your coach – and in all the wrong ways.
Can you get a blue belt in BJJ in 6 months?
It is possible for the most naturally gifted and committed person to get a blue belt in BJJ in 6 months. If you are pulling over skills from a similar sport such as MMA or Wrestling, your physical ability and coordination will help you reach it faster.
The time it takes to earn your blue belt comes down to:
- Time commitment to training sessions
- Your learning curve and ability to absorb knowledge
- Natural athletic ability
- Prior athletic experiences that benefit you (Wrestling, MMA, Football, perhaps others)
If you have all of these elements, you could earn your first stripes and then blue belt within a 6-month timeframe. Practicing your BJJ alone could help you to improve particular techniques through repetition and help you progress faster.
If you’re not naturally gifted, you should expect it to take longer and practice patience.
Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.