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Why is a BJJ Black Belt So Hard to Earn?

Why is a BJJ Black Belt So Hard to Earn?

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), getting a black belt is not a simple task. For many, the path to a BJJ black belt is a long, ongoing journey with no clear end in sight.

What does it take to attain a black belt? What makes black belts different from other belt ranks? Many factors help black belts stand above the rest, the most significant being their attitude. A black belt will have a different perspective on training and competition compared to a white belt.

This article will examine the characteristics of black belts and explain why achieving this rank is so difficult.

1. Are Black Belts Unique?

Since black belts are part of the demographic who commit to BJJ, does this make them unique? Well, no. They are just as human as everybody else. It's not a good mentality to perceive black belts as exceptional or superhuman. After all, they can still make mistakes and suffer a defeat like anyone else.

Earning a black belt in BJJ is an achievement because it is a testament to how much an individual enjoys the sport. Of course, they had to find the motivation and gain discipline while working towards earning their BJJ black belts.

Not all BJJ black belts started out with natural talent on the mats. Don’t forget, every BJJ black belt was once an inexperienced student, too.  So long as you have determination, are open to learning, and practice frequently, you'll eventually become a black belt.

2. What Factors Determine the Time it Takes to Obtain a BJJ Black Belt?

According to the IBJJF and CBJJ, earning a black belt takes five and a half years. However, other factors may affect how long it takes to progress such as:

  • Rate of Improvement
  • Adaptability
  • Knowledge of Techniques
  • Performance in Competitions
  • Class Attendance

There are individuals who are able to understand and master techniques more quickly, allowing them to attain a black belt in less than five and a half years. However, in reality, the average time to earn a black belt is about ten years, sometimes even longer.

3. What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Specific Belt?

There aren't any official requirements for obtaining each BJJ belt as it differs between academies. But typically, the belt tests get progressively harder the higher you climb up the ranks. For instance, the brown belt might require you to master the berimbolo, while the white belt might require you to master the knee bump sweep.  To be able to progress to the next belt, you must have mastered a specific technique(s) that suit the belt rank’s level of difficulty.

BJJ Belts Average Number of Years
to Obtain
Average Number of Years
to Obtain (IBJJF)
White belt 0 0
Blue belt 2-4 0
Purple belt 2 2
Brown belt 1-2 1.5
Black belt 1-2 1

4. There Are Too Many Techniques to Master

Compared to other martial arts, BJJ has a long list of complex techniques to master.

While it's nearly impossible to master all of these techniques, BJJ black belts can come up with skill sets and strategies based on the techniques they study.

5. FAQs

5.1. How Rare are Black Belts in BJJ?

According to Rener Gracie, only 10% of new BJJ students will earn a blue belt. Of that 10 percent, only 1% will earn a black belt.

6. Last Words

Although earning a BJJ black belt can be a challenge, it's possible to attain one by putting in the right amount of effort. Individuals who achieved such proficiency in BJJ worked out for hours on the mats and overcame any obstacles they faced. Anyone working towards a black belt must overcome a long and arduous process. However, putting all that time and effort into mastering BJJ will be worthwhile in the end.

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