One of the first questions that a white belt asks themselves when they start their Jiu-Jitsu journey is how long till you get your blue belt? And this is a good question. Because it’s one that gives you that motivation to keep going due to the huge reward at the end of it. Getting your blue belt is generally that first big reward that everyone achieves when they’re training in Jiu-Jitsu.
Receiving a Blue Belt in BJJ is no joke.
You hear a lot of traditional martial arts grading a child to a black belt level in under a few years. This couldn’t be further from the truth in BJJ. The short answer is that it can take two to three years on average to get you a blue belt. This will depend on how your Jiu-Jitsu school does their grading, which generally happens in two ways.
How BJJ Schools Grade for a Blue Belt
The first is that they’ll have a set grading schedule, usually two to four times per year, in which they will test everyone to see their level of competency and where they’re at for their Jiu-Jitsu skills progression.
White belts and any other belt will generally receive a stripe at these gradings and people who are due to move up a belt will be graded for the next belt level if they are successful in those gradings.
There are four stripes in between each part of a belt. So White Belt has four stripes to obtain before they get that blue belt, a blue belt has four stripes to obtain before they get their purple belt and so on.
So using this timeline to get your four stripes, with most schools will doing a grading every six months, it would take approximately 2.5 years to receive your blue belt by following this progression. This of course, is in a perfect world.
I myself missed a bunch of gradings and spent longer than 2.5 years at white belt before I ended up getting my blue belt. This was due to work, injury and family commitments etc.
Alternatively, some schools don’t follow a specific grading syllabus and will hand out belts when the instructor deems the person competent. Again, this will generally take two years before the person will receive their blue belt and to demonstrate competency. However, for prodigy’s, you will probably see your belt a lot quicker than two and a half years.
What does a blue belt look like competency wise?
A blue belt will have the following competencies that have been tested through the grading syllabus. They’ll have a decent understanding of the standing game so they’ll be able to defend single and double leg takedowns. They’ll be able to have an offensive stand up game through being able to complete a double-leg takedown, single-leg takedown and a throw.
A Blue Belt will have a strong understanding of all the relevant positions in Jiu Jitsu from Mount, Guard Side control, Knee Ride, Back Control. Within these positions they are able to be both defensive and offensive in those roles.
There may be other techniques that your school wants to review, but that is up to them individually.
Does it really matter how long till you get your Blue Belt in BJJ?
The best advice I can give though is not to focus how long till getting your blue belt. Don’t think that by knowing the techniques on a syllabus you automatically qualify for the next rank. Jiu jitsu is about applied knowledge and live training not the accumulation of static, singular techniques. Focus on your timing, transitions, escapes, positional control during live rolling to develop real world competency-based skills. This is where the real value of BJJ lies in comparison to other martial arts. It’s not how much you know but what you can apply on a resisting opponent that’s key.
Enjoy the learning, rolling and growth that comes with doing such an awesome sport and just keep showing up.