The Ultimate Guide to Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: White To Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: White To Blue

1. Introduction to Belt Rank System - White to Blue

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt level signifies an increasing level of practical skills and knowledge. It has five main belt ranks. Each rank is given to learners according to their proficiency and a certain level of expertise.

  1. White
  2. Blue
  3. Purple
  4. Brown
  5. Black

1.1. White Belt

The white belt is the first level of a jiu-jitsu class for both children and adults, where the basic fundamentals like submissions and escapes are learned.  The students practice what is going to be taught under teachers of a  higher belt.

White Belt Expectations

The white belt's primary focus should be on survival.

  • Defending against your opponent's attacks
  • How to do escapes
  • Protecting yourself from unfavorable positions
  • Learn the best forms of defense
  • Tapping does not mean failure or loss, learning how and when to tap is key.
  • A lesson learned is the next step in making  progress in your training.

White Belt Basic Essential Training Techniques


Gripping is key when training as a white belt. Felipe Sousa, a head BJJ coach says “if you can’t grip, you can’t fight.”

Gripping has three components:

  • Strength of your Hands: The strength of your hands and fingers will naturally get stronger with constant practice. In case you want to speed it up, there are plenty of gadgets available in the market.
  • Efficient Grasp: If you grasp too tightly using too much strength, your forearms will soon fatigue and weaken your grip.
  • When to Clench: Even with the most efficient grip, holding onto the wrong things will make you struggle to apply the necessary amount of pressure to achieve your objective.

Bridge and Shrimp

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, if grappling is a language, shrimping and bridging can be considered vowels. These two are the most important fundamental drill movements.

3. Basic Guard Pass

Guard pass is by far the most difficult fundamental of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The technique involves the practitioner driving his/her knee over the opponent’s side.

Open Guard Pass

Half Guard Pass

Closed Guard Pass

Mount Escape

White belts often fight in this position where one practitioner sits on the chest of his opponent with his knees pinched tightly against his sides. Being stuck under a strong mount can be very hard to escape. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to escape from different mount positions.

Scissor Sweep

While performing a good jiu-jitsu scissor sweep, you should be able to establish solid grips on your opponent and use your legs correctly, as well as efficiently cope with the weight of your opponent.

2. A Stripe on Each Belt Level

Each strip indicates the level of the progression for the rank of your belt.

From white belt to brown belt, students receive four stripes before the promotion to the next colored belt.

2.1. Average Time Spent At Each Rank

Number of Stripes Belt Color Duration Per Stripe Time at Colored Belt
4 Stripes White Belt 4-6 Months 1-2 Years
4 Stripes Blue Belt 6-9 Months 2-3 Years
  • On average, you are expected to earn a stripe on your white belt every four to six months depending on how quickly you advance.
  • At the blue belt level, it usually takes longer to earn a stripe because to progress at this level is much harder.  
  • To earn the stripes rapidly, it is important to put more time and effort, both on and off the mat, into training.

White Belt to Blue Belt Techniques Requirements - Per Stripe

Reaching a blue belt will require you to practice effective defense. A journey from white belt to blue belt can be tough.

Here is a list of techniques you will have to learn as a white belt to promote to the next stripe ( techniques may vary from school to school).

First Stripe
Americana Lock  A basic submission that can be applied from either the mount or side control.
Hip Bump Sweep To sweep their opponents from guard using a hip movement technique, students learn how to perform the hip bump sweep.
Basic Guard Break Understanding the fundamentals of guard breaking can be difficult so using the cat stretch to a knee staple is extremely important.
Umpa Escape The student must be able to pull off a bridging escape which happens when your opponent has a full mount and you are ultimately trapped
Elbow Escape  It is another basic escape from a full mount that makes use of guard retention techniques.
Basic Positions Students learn the fundamental positions such as full mount, back and side control including the guard.

Second Stripe
Guillotine Submission and Defense Students will learn the fundamentals of the front headlock style of choke and how to defend against the Guillotine choke.
Back Control The fundamentals of setting up back control and how to use seat belt control and collar grips to execute a rear-naked choke
Technical Standup When students have their opponent in the yard, they will learn how to use technical standup. This technique is utilized whenever an opponent has a strong base and is extremely difficult to sweep.
Basic Guard Passing Students will begin to learn how to pass the guard using knee staple and knee cut passes as they progress
Body Positioning Students will learn additional positions such as knee on belly, north-south, turtle, and, kesa gatame (scarf hold). They will also begin to employ more effective pressure in mount and side control.
Scissor Sweep A basic scissor sweep will be taught to students as well as the use of a knee slide and how to apply it.

Third Stripe
Tight Control Students should be able to demonstrate that they can use effective controls for mount, side, and back control.
Closed Guard/Open Guard Students must be able to distinguish between both close and open guards.
Toreando Pass It is essential to know how to navigate through an opponents open guard to defeat the opponent.
Cross Collar Choke Students will learn how to use collar grips to apply a basic cross collar choke from the guard and mount positions.
Armbar  Securing arm locks from both the guard and the mount position during training.
Armbar Defense Knowing how to defend against arm locks is very important and should be taken seriously

Fourth Stripe
Stand Up Techniques Students should be familiar with how to stand in base and use dominant grips and practice single and leg takedowns at this time.
Bull Pass As students learn how to bull pass their opponents, they should be beginning to gain a better understanding of the passing game as a whole
Bow and Arrow Choke Using collar and pants grips to apply the choke, the students must maintain a high level of back control.
Kimura and Kimura Sweep A double-edged technique, the kimura grip, and the kimura sweep will be taught where students will learn how to use the kimura grip to sweep from the guard and how to submit with kimura submission.
Transitioning Students will gain an understanding of the complexities and significance of transitioning between all the positions.
Triangle Submission This submission is a high-percentage submission that is first learned from a guard in which a student uses his legs to choke his opponent.

Timeline to Promotion

For a white belt in the IBJJF, there is no requirement for how much  experience in the sport you have because there is no time constraint in the grading  system. A white belt can be promoted at the discretion of the professor at any time.

2.2. Blue Belt

Blue belt is the second belt rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. To earn the next blue belt, you must be at least 16 years old and should be able to pass the guard. On this level, the student should be up to the mark to be able to escape from all positions and predominant at defense.

Blue Belt Essential Training Expectations Techniques

To know more about the blue belt, open the linked article:

The Ultimate Guide To Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: Blue to Purple

Timeline to Promotion

It takes 3-4 years to promote from blue belt to purple belt.

3. Tips to Rank Up from White to Blue Belt

The harder you train as a white belt, the tougher you will be as a blue belt.

  • Learn the basics positions, movements, submissions and escapes: Invest your time learning these fundamentals and practice well. 
  • Use online instructional videos: There are unlimited instructional videos available on youtube for free and BJJFanatics for a very affordable price where you can learn specific techniques, different positioning styles, escapes etc.
  • Learn step by step: Take it slow and master one technique at a time. As you learn, the result gets better and it feels less hectic everytime.
  • Drill until perfection: White belts learn the most out of drilling because they don’t yet know a lot of techniques.
  • Join different competitions: Do not hesitate to join competitions. Competitions are not about winning rather getting a better experience and pushing yourself to be more skillful.
  • Learn wide, not deep: White belts need to learn a lot of different techniques in their first couple of years in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is important to learn and experiment with a variety of mounts, shrimp, basic guard positions and escape.
  • Train well - more is better: Train 2 to 3 times a week, speed up your progression and focus on the right techniques.
  • Don't worry if you lose: Losing is a part of the process, don't take it personally. Even the best BJJ heroes lost plenty to be where they are today. Believe in yourself.
  • Relax: You may not feel like it but as a white belt, you learn a lot. You work purely on your foundations, keep going and don’t give up.

4. Takeaways

The Blue belt rank is a re-eminent achievement, a rank that represents that a student has passed a couple of years on the mat while overcoming several opponents and challenges.

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