Should Purple Belts Be banned from Teaching BJJ?
Updated: Aug 26
There is no doubt that purple belts have a lot of knowledge and experience when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It takes years to become ranked a purple belt. However, this does not mean that they are automatically qualified to teach the art. As well should they be charging money to teach at such an intermediate level in BJJ? More recently than ever we have seen a lot of purple belts offering private lessons. We have also seen certain organization(s) ban the teaching of Brown and Purple belts. Lets take a look at why Purple belts should (or should not) be teaching private lessons to other students.
First of all a purple belt is a mid level practitioner. The BJJ adult rank system is as follows. White belt, Blue belt, Purple belt, Brown belt and black belt.
On the one hand, purple belts can be great teachers because they know a lot of techniques and can explain them in a way that students can understand. They can also offer great advice on how to improve and progress in BJJ based on their game. This could be ideal for a white belt or blue belt. White belts look up to purple belts. Purple belts are leaders in every academy (some more than others).
On the other hand, maybe purple belts should not be teaching BJJ? If something is taught wrong, the student may have gone down a road where bad habits begin culminating. For example teaching a sweep but not learning to follow up and begin passing the guard right away or teaching an armbar but not showing the position of the thumb. Everyone's game is different. Maybe the way a person teaches should be structured to fit their game (if they have one). Maybe purple belts can teach fundamentals but should they be charging?
Knowledge is considered valuable. If you have ever showed someone a move in BJJ and the moment they "GET IT" you see a look on their face that is very fulfilling. Its what we call a "light bulb" moment. Doesn't this have value and shouldn't we be able to charge a fee for the passing of this knowledge? Time is money!
Ultimately, it is up to the purple belt whether or not they want to teach BJJ. If they do decide to teach, they should make sure that they pass on the necessary skills and knowledge. They should also be prepared for any problem solving that may arise. A black belt is much more qualified to do this based on the fact they have more experience.
Lets look at another perspective. Competition purple belts Vs. BJJ hobbyist purple belts. Some competition purple belts can easily beat BJJ hobbyist black belts. In fact in the case of Cole Abate from AOJ (Art of Jiu Jitsu) who was actually beating high level competition black belts as a blue belt. Would you hire Cole Abate for private lessons? This is an interesting thing to look at because common sense tells you that if a person can beat a blackbelt in competition than why not learn from them? Others would say some are better fighters and some are better teachers.
What makes a purple belt qualified to teach? Should they be charging money? I have heard of a circumstance where a purple belt taught private lessons to a white belt and the white belt ended up winning a gold medal in a tournament. Its safe to say that the white belt greatly benefited from his tutelage. What if a blackbelt would have taught the white belt who won the gold medal... would the outcome have been the same? All great questions with an endless amount of valid answers.
Ultimately should purple belts be banned from teaching?
What are your thoughts... Email us and we may post your response! Info@bjjreport.com
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Matthew Tropp | BJJ Report