Why write about Blue belt?
Why is a blue belt such a benchmark in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Why is it so important to individuals to not be a white belt? Maybe it’s because it gets rid of the “beginner” status. So there we have it, the blue belt is the first step up the ladder. But what does receiving your blue belt acknowledge?
What does it mean?
The blue belt is a huge achievement for a grappler in BJJ. It denotes an individual is serious about the art, they have dedication and perseverance. I might even suggest it is the hardest belt to get, after all look how many people never even try BJJ, or try and give up very quickly. Let’s face it as a white belt you get mauled, you hurt from an exercise that your body would not normally do, whilst those more advanced than you twist you, choke you and squash you. It’s tough down there. The blue belt is the first acknowledgement that you have a certain level of experience.
A blue belt, now what?
You have achieved your promotion, the belt is proudly around your waist. Where does your attention go now? Simply put the answer is techniques. The white belt was an introduction to them, now at blue you have to get to know them. By now you should be familiar with the fundamentals, comfortable even with them. As a blue belt you understand the mount, side control, back control and guard, from both attacking and defending positions. You know the armbars and chokes. The difference is that you have to learn to look beyond that one move.
The technical challenge
Seeing past that one move at a time is the indicator of a solid blue belt. Here lies the aim of all new BJJ blue belts and the way to do that it is through experimentation. Now is the time the open guards get developed, you look to string together submissions in chains and think about countering. In essence your game of solid fundamentals becomes technical by bolting them together in a logical way.
The stay at blue belt is often a long one, 2-5 years, is common. The reason is simple, for a blue belt to progress they have to demonstrate a good and varied technical knowledge. Let’s assume that a purple belt knows all the techniques that a black belt does, but isn’t as good at applying them, which is fair. So a purple belt must learn the techniques on their journey through blue. Now we can see why, given the volume of techniques available, BJJ blue belts are “slow cooked” and not “microwaved”.
Blue belt beyond technique
It doesn’t end with the technical aspect. A blue belt also has to live up to certain standards. White belts look to them for guidance about mat behaviour, and as such blue belts represent the academy both on the mats and with their lifestyle choices. The higher belts will appear very distant to white belts and the blue belts are the bridge between them.
Common among blue belts is a feeling of increased pressure. We know ego has no place in BJJ, but it takes time to learn how to suppress it. Getting tapped by a white belt is hard for a blue belt, especially in their early days. Overcoming this self placed pressure is important, those who don’t quit altogether.
There we have it then. The journey through blue belt is hard. It is one of dogged determination and perseverance. Just like the joys of a slow cooker, the rewards make it all worth it.
Regards – Martin.
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