Are you looking to learn more about Brazilian jiu-jitsu? Maybe you’re ready to take your first class but not sure how much time you need to invest to achieve your ultimate goal, an elite black belt.
It can take up to 10 years to become a black belt in jiu-jitsu. There are many steps involved in this lengthy process that require patience, skill, and hard work. To achieve a black belt in jiu-jitsu, you first need to earn the various colored belts that precede it.
In this article, I’ll discuss what it takes to get your jiu-jitsu black belt and share tips on how you can overcome the challenges and realize your goal.
What It Takes To Master Jiu-Jitsu
There are many things to keep in mind before committing to jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu is a long journey. Before you pick this martial art, you should know what to expect, especially if you want to become a black belt owner. Keep reading as I explore more on that.
You Must Invest In Years of Consistent Training
This may go without saying, but if you are ready to walk down the path of becoming a successful jiu-jitsu athlete, you need to dedicate yourself to years of training.
Training consistently is key to mastering moves that will take you to the next level. The more you practice, the shorter it will take you to earn your black belt. This martial art may take its toll on your body, but your body will adapt over time with proper training.
Generally, it can take you up to a full 10 years or even longer to become a black belt in jiu-jitsu. The best jiu-jitsu artists take years to perfect their techniques.
Your Progress May Depend Greatly on Your Coach
Along with dedication and perseverance, you will need to have access to great coaches and resources to make your way through jiu-jitsu skill levels successfully. In jiu-jitsu, coaches are often referred to as professors.
As with any athletic endeavor, a well-run martial art center and a close-knit community will help you progress quickly. So if you want to get a black belt quicker, you need to train at a reputable jiu-jitsu center under an established coach, not training alone or with less qualified centers or inexperienced coaches.
Also, your progress may depend greatly on the type of coaching you receive because each coach’s opinion and vision vary. With some coaches, you may progress quicker, but that doesn’t always mean you’re better.
A more strict coach may slow down your transition to a higher level. That sometimes is a good thing because that means your coach only allows you to proceed to the next level if you’re indeed ready for the next level.
If you have practiced wrestling or other martial arts before, chances are you will progress quickly in jiu-jitsu. However, it’s okay if you haven’t participated in any form of martial art before.
It’s Very Hard To Earn a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
Compared to other martial arts, jiu-jitsu can take far more time and focus. It doesn’t mean that other martial arts aren’t challenging; it just goes to show that jiu-jitsu typically requires a longer commitment.
For example, earning a black belt in taekwondo usually takes 3 to 5 years; 3 to 6 years in judo, an average of 4 to 5 years in aikido, and about 5 years in karate.
When practicing jiu-jitsu, you will never progress on a continuous upward curve.
Hard work will definitely pay off for this type of activity, but occasionally there will be times when you plateau or get stuck at learning a technique.
Jiu-Jitsu Has Hundreds of Self-Defense Techniques
Jiu-Jitsu has hundreds of various techniques, which is not something commonly found in other martial arts.
As you can imagine, learning so many different types of moves and encounters will take many years to master. While it seems impossible to master every single one of them, you will be required to master as many techniques as possible to earn a jiu-jitsu black belt.
Earning a Black Belt Early Is Not Impossible
One of the most famous jiu-jitsu martial artists is BJ Penn.
His path to earning a black belt is swift and possibly one of the fastest on record. It took him a total of 3 years and 4 months to get to his goal!
In BJ’s case, he spent only 6 months moving from white belt to blue belt, 18 months from blue to purple, 8 months from purple to brown, and finally, 8 months to get his black belt.
Travis Stevens is another example who will inspire you in jiu-jitsu. A celebrated Judo Olympian he is, Travis Stevens earned his jiu-jitsu black belt in only 18 months. Going from a white belt to a blue belt took him only a few months. It only took him a month to keep his blue belt. He spent only a few months in his purple belt. Impressive, isn’t it?
While BJ Penn and Travis Stevens are elite athletes, it’s essential to note that their journey is not typical. Generally, it will take you much longer to earn a black belt. But keep your head up because the process will fill you with so much passion and joy.
A Walkthrough of Your Jiu-Jitsu Journey
You will need to earn different belts before you earn your black belt. These transitions may take you up to 10 years, maybe earlier, if you do extremely well. Remember, not everyone can be the next BJ Penn and Travis Stevens, but it is not impossible. So keep training!
White Belt (1-2 years)
When you sign up for jiu-jitsu, you will be given a white belt. The white belt signifies a complete beginner and someone who is starting on their path.
At this level, you will learn mainly about defense and how to escape from your opponent. Essentially, you will need to understand the fundamentals of the craft to move on to the next belt, which is the blue belt.
On average, it can take anywhere from 1-2 years of being a white belt before graduating and continuing forward. These formative years are essential as they are the foundation for everything you will learn from here on.
Blue Belt (3-6 Years)
After completing your training as a white belt, you then earn a blue belt. It gets more complex and more complicated from here but no less fun or exciting.
As a blue belt, you will face increased difficulty during training. This belt can last anywhere from 3-6 years because so much is being learned at this level.
You will learn moves in which you excel. It is also an excellent opportunity to enroll in your first competition.
Next up is the well-earned purple belt, which is a belt of “movement and momentum.”
Purple Belt (1.5 Years)
After receiving your purple belt, you will realize you have learned quite a lot over the past few years of doing jiu-jitsu. Now, you can bring in your style as you practice and train.
As opposed to earlier when learning defense was paramount, now you can work on your offensive game. As a purple belt, you can already fight other higher-level jiu-jitsu fighters.
Wearing a purple belt can take anywhere around 1.5 years, given your skill level and progress so far.
Brown Belt (1 Year)
When you’ve earned your brown belt, that means you’re one belt away from the black belt. At this stage, you should already know an abundance of jiu-jitsu techniques and are highly skilled at jiu-jitsu.
You may spend about 1 year as a brown belt before moving to the next level, the black belt. This year will be spent refining techniques and personalizing them so that they become unique to you.
Black Belt (Lifetime)
By the time you get your black belt, you may have probably spent almost 10 years in jiu-jitsu. All the hard work, perseverance, sweat, and tears will finally pay off, and you can start coaching others at this stage.
Even with a black belt, jiu-jitsu artists don’t stop training. Yes, you can coach others already, but having a black belt doesn’t automatically mean you’re an invincible martial artist and one who can cause massive damage to your opponent. Once you’ve achieved your black belt, staying calm and humble is essential.
Even as a black belt, you will continue to learn, make mistakes, and grow. This is part of the jiu-jitsu journey, a journey that lasts a lifetime.
Suffice it to say that earning a black belt in jiu-jitsu is not easy. It will typically take somewhere around 10 years to get your black belt and become a highly skilled master in this martial art.
A lot of patience and discipline needs to be observed during your path. As mentioned earlier, the progress will not be linear. Instead, you will improve, then take a couple of steps back, then move forward again.
The road to becoming a jiu-jitsu black belt master may be difficult but know that the destination is well worth it.
- Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood: The BJJ Belt System: From White to Black
- Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu: BJJ Black Belt – How Long Does It Take to Get It
- You Jiu Jitsu: The BJJ Belt System Explained: How Long to Get BJJ Black Belt?
- The MMA Guru: Which Black Belt Takes the Longest Time To Achieve?
- Evolve Daily MMA: Here’s Why It Takes 10 Years to Get Your Black Belt in BJJ
- BJJ Heroes: BJ Penn
- BJJ World: 16 Fastest Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Promotions in the History of BJJ