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  • Writer's pictureBJJ Report | Matthew Tropp

Blue Belts: How to become a Purple Belt in BJJ.

How to become a purple belt

The path to achieving a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a unique odyssey—a blend of rigorous training, an intellectual understanding of grappling concepts, and an unyielding spirit. The purple belt is a significant achievement in the BJJ world, marking the transition from being a diligent student to a seasoned practitioner with the beginnings of mastery.

The Fundamental Foundation

The foundation of any BJJ practitioner is built upon countless hours of drilling fundamental techniques. Mastering the basics is the foremost milestone in the odyssey to purple belt. A solid grasp of fundamental positions, escapes, and submissions is a prerequisite for anyone aspiring to rise through the ranks. Positions such as Mount, Guard, and Back Control, along with fundamental escapes from Side Control or Mount, are the bedrock upon which advanced skills are developed.

Your closed, open, and half guards become not just defensive bastions but launchpads for sophisticated attacks. Shifting seamlessly between these positions during live sparring is a testament to one's depth of understanding.

The Guard Game

Arguably one of the most intricate aspects of BJJ is the guard game. For those in quest of the purple belt, the guard isn't merely a position but an elaborate web of control and submission opportunities. Developing an effective guard game is crucial, where the legs are used as formidable barriers to an opponent's progress and as tools to maneuver them into vulnerable positions.

The evolution of the guard, from the security of the closed guard to the versatility of the open and the strategic nuance of the half guard, exemplifies a practitioner's progression. Your guard becomes a dynamic conduit through which flow is maintained—and it is this fluidity that BJJ celebrates.

Transitions and Takedowns

BJJ, in its essence, is the art of transitions, and hence, mastering transitions from one technique or position to another is a defining milestone. The ability to flow like water, finding the path of least resistance, is honed over years of mat time.

Takedown techniques and their defenses are another critical facet for those progressing toward the purple belt. A well-rounded skill set necessitates competence in both ground and standing positions; thus, integrating takedown strategies is indispensable.

The Crucible of Sparring

Live sparring sessions are the crucible within which a student's potential is forged into the tempered steel of a BJJ practitioner. Here is where technical proficiency, strategic mindset, and personal style coalesce. The goal in sparring shifts from mere victory to learning, experimenting, and refining one's technique and approach.

It was in these sparring sessions during my own time as a blue belt that I learned the importance of tapping out more experienced peers and, when possible, even those wearing the coveted purple fabric. Such victories are silent nods to one’s readiness for advancement.

Dedication Over Time

Achieving a purple belt cannot be rushed. It requires consistent and dedicated training over several years. This extended timeline is necessary not only for physical conditioning and skill acquisition but also for cultivating the mental resilience and strategic acumen that define a seasoned BJJ practitioner.

It's worth remembering that each practice session, each roll, each submission escaped, is a brushstroke on the canvas of your BJJ career.

Teaching and Sharing Knowledge

One of the milestones you reach as a purple belt denotes a high level of understanding so profound that you can impart knowledge effectively to those less experienced. This teaching is not merely a responsibility but a rite of passage, cementing your own understanding even as you help others grow.

Personal Style and Strategy

Personal experience has taught me that having a style can significantly influence the transition from blue to purple belt. This personal style becomes your BJJ signature, a unique combination of your preferred techniques, your approach to rolling, and your competitive strategies. Some are open guard players, DLR players, spider guard players. What your known for is essentially your "game".

The key to developing your style is adaptability and creativity. It's an introspective process where you discover what works best for you, constructing a strategy tailored to your physical attributes, strengths, and preferences.

Training Tips for Aspiring Purple Belts

For those aspiring to reach the coveted purple belt, here are some comprehensive tips:

  • Always be open to learning and exploring new techniques and positions. Stagnation is the enemy of progress in BJJ.

  • Work on sequences and transitions meticulously. Approach each position with a plan for every plausible scenario, and cultivate the proficiency to execute it.

  • Drilling is paramount—repetition builds muscle memory, which translates into fluid and instinctive movements during live rolls.

  • Reflect on sparring sessions, and identify areas for improvement. Continuous self-assessment ensures persistent growth.

  • Practice with a variety of training partners; diversity in size, strength, and style will challenge you to adapt and refine your game.

  • Practice with lower ranked partners. This will allow you to control things more and maneuver better between the transitions that become the sequences your adopt.


The pursuit of a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an epic undertaking that demands passion, intelligence, and soulful dedication. Each practitioner's voyage is personal and profound, rife with challenges and triumphs. It is not just a testament to technical ability but a narrative of personal evolution. Whether it takes four years or ten, the achievement of a BJJ purple belt is a landmark in one's martial arts odyssey and a beacon for further exploration.

Remember, a purple belt is not just a rank; it is an embodiment of the martial spirit, the intellectual rigor, and the unwavering commitment that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu espouses.

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