The BJJ Bachelor’s Degree – The Purple Belt
Alright, so let me explain the title of this article a bit. My boyfriend/coach and I have an inside joke and theory that jiu-jitsu degrees are very much like academic degrees, in both knowledge level and years to acquire. With the few exceptions of those incredibly academically or physically gifted people in both areas. Let me break it down...
White belt = Freshman
Blue Belt = Associate’s Degree = Approx. 2 years
Purple Belt = Bachelor’s Degree = Approx. 4 years
Brown Belt = Master’s Degree = Approx. 6 years
Black Belt = Ph.D = Approx. 8-10 years
Today we talk about the halfway point, the intermediate level, the purple belt.
If you make it past the blue belt blues, the comparing yourself to lions, sharks, and other wild creatures to show your mental fortitude, the disappearing blue belt phase, or even if you never vanished at all... congratulations! A small percentage of people who start jiu-jitsu make it to blue belt, of those, less than 10% make it to purple, and so on and so forth.
Your skills are more refined, you are starting to develop your game and understand your jiu-jitsu and the route you want to take with it (and you also understand what all the jokes about the warmups meant now). At white and blue, the jiu-jitsu applied is overall a mix and match of the different techniques taught to you from all the different people you have learned from. At purple, they are filtered into your own jiu-jitsu personality, and modified to best suit your body type and athletic ability. Your timing is more precise, and your arsenal has broadened. The competition aspect has significantly reduced in quantity but increased in quality.
Training at this stage does get a little trickier and requires a more tactical and methodical approach. Less working harder and a whole lot more of working smarter, to put it in simpler terms. Blue belts are coming for your head, and brown and blacks are still around to show you how the other half lives.
I was honored to receive my purple belt a couple of weeks ago from a dear friend and black belt who holds jiu-jitsu practitioners to the same standards that I do. It still seems unreal, and to be honest it hasn’t quite clicked yet. At white belt, I remember thinking a purple belt was a rarity, a female purple belt was a unicorn, and it always seemed to mean so much more than just two ranks up. Their flow, their chain of attacks, and the way they seemed to have an answer for everything was somewhat beautiful and deemed so unattainable at the moment. It’s common to feel unprepared and underqualified at the start of a new belt, but as the standards raise, remember that so does your potential along with it.