The Biggest Challenge For Bluebelts in BJJ

Oct 04, 2023

Earning a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a significant milestone that marks your transition from a beginner to an intermediate practitioner. However, this achievement often comes with its own set of challenges. One such challenge that many blue belts face is the struggle against higher belts. Once you've donned that blue belt, you're no longer the "newbie" in the gym. You've got some techniques under your belt—literally—and you're expected to hold your own. But when you're rolling with purple, brown, or even fellow blue belts, you might find yourself struggling more than you'd like to admit. It's not just about being submitted; it's about feeling like you're always two steps behind, always reacting rather than acting. In short, you want to be a challenge, not a pushover.

So how do you bridge this gap between frustration and desire?
First, adjust your mindset. Understand that higher belts usually are expected to be more experienced. They've put in more time and faced the same challenges you're facing now many times over. So the key here is NOT to measure your progress by how you perform against them but by how you perform against your past self.

Next, focus on refining your techniques. The devil is in the details. A slight adjustment in grip or angle can make all the difference. Rest assured that there are techniques that when placed in sequences can make whatever you wanna achieve possible. An example of this can be found in the top echelon of BJJ competition. Just look at world 5x champion Bernardo Faria as an example, he was famous for his over under pass. Once he got to his position, very few absolute beasts could not prevent him from passing their guard. Look at what you find attractive to you, try several options, and once you see something that you think might fit you, start learning everything you can about that guardpass or that technique and drill it until it becomes automatic. When you feel confident enough, try it out in every roll, then sign up for a competition to test it against an opponent who will do everything in his power to stop you. 

If you don't have an idea as to where to start and you wanna have a strong game that works on every level, then check out the Lotus Lockdown, an instructional created for BJJ practitioners who want to see fast improvement on the tatami.  

Lastly, many people say there's no substitute for mat time. The more you train, the better you'll get. It's NOT as simple as that. Training without a specific goal makes you vulnerable to resort to what you already know. Think about it... It's very hard, if not impossible to do things that are outside of your consciousness. This is why thinking about what it is you specifically wanna be good at, setting a personal goal for each practice will make all the difference in your BJJ development. 

So, if you have not already, try setting a goal and work on that until it becomes an integral part of your game. Struggling against higher belts is a rite of passage in the journey of a BJJ practitioner. It's a normal part of the experience. Sure, it's frustrating at times, but it's also a tremendous opportunity for growth. By acknowledging this challenge and by taking proactive steps, you can turn your desire for confidence into a driving force for improvement. Remember, the color of your belt is not a symbol of what you've achieved, but a reminder of what you've committed to learn, and to trust the process. 

What will be your focus today, tomorrow and the rest of the month?


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