Your First Major Goal : Blue belt

As goal oriented people starting to learn the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, one of the first questions that new students ask is “How long does it take to get a blue belt?”.

There is no set answer for this question. The variables of :
• Training frequency;
• Physical condition when you start;
• Age;
• Previous grappling experience;
• Natural ability;
• How much effort the student applies to training.

Before we attempt to answer the question, let’s take a look at the Gracie Barra approach to the belt system.

Master Carlos Gracie Jr. Approach to Belt Promotion
“Being an educator, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. used an hierarchy to set learning objectives just as the school system uses one to pass students from one grade to another. The Gracie Barra belt system represents a learning progression with a syllabus and a corresponding grade indicating an individual’s level of proficiency. Earning a black belt is like graduating from high school or college. It indicates you have achieved a basic level of proficiency, learned the fundamental skills and can perform them in a functional manner.
Like a person seeking an advanced degree, a black belt is ready to pursue Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on a more serious and advanced level. Of course, the rankings also represent progress towards the ultimate objective of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is to improve the person not just physically, but mentally as well.” source: Gracie Barra ICP

Importantly, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. makes explains that “The belt system represents progress against one’s potential and achievement of technical, time and attendance requirements.”


Different students have different capabilities and potentials and thus are not compared directly to one another as a basis for grading. Now back to the question about blue belt.

Another requirement in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt system is the minimum time. At Gracie Barra, the requirements are as follows:
• White to Blue Belt: 1 Year Minimum

Most students are not able to train uninterrupted for 1 year and usually take a little longer than 1 year to get to the blue belt. A simple answer would be “between 1 and 2 years.”

A blue belt represents the 1st major step on the students journey to the black belt and is a very proud moment when the Professor calls them to the front of the class at promotions day and wraps a new blue belt around their waist.

Grandmaster Hélio Gracie said that a blue belt should be capable of defending themselves against a larger, stronger opponent by using jiu-jitsu techniques. It is difficult to find fault with that definition.

Most blue belts have a solid knowledge of the major ground positions, escapes, some self defense techniques, and possess a few takedowns that they can execute. When rolling they have started to employ more technique and rely less on explosiveness, athleticism and pure instinct.

It is a great day when your name is called to the front of the academy and your instructor wraps that blue belt around your waist. How long did it take for you to receive your blue belt?

see also: : Are You Ready For Your Blue Belt?

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ