Officially hit blue belt blues

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by greg1075, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    The blues affects all ranks. Mine just hit at blue 3-4 months after being promoted. I feel like I’m totally stagnating skill wise while everyone else is getting better. I’m getting smashed by the high ranks and more skilled blues and am struggling against the multi stripe white belts. I know it’s in part psychological and stems from expectations but it does suck especially when you're the resident big guy. On the advice on one of our purples, I’m going to start mapping out my own game - setups and combinations for all positions for sweeps, passes, subs, escapes etc, drill it all a lot until they start working in live rolls. I had a feeling that was the way to go and had sort of started doing that. I feel like just showing up for class and rolling 3-4 times a week is not going to be enough to get over the plateau. Agreed? The purple put it in terms I agree with: "you need to stop “doing” jiu-jitsu and start *studying* jiu-jitsu". Did you go through it as well, and if so how did you get over it?

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  2. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    I can't offer much help as I'm cheerfully still a white belt. Jumping clubs has kept me at white and I'm actually in no rush. I know a guy who got his BB from Braulio after 15 years, and he only trained twice a week. So I don't think quantity of training sessions will mean you get better. In fact you could be burnt out.

    Keith Owen also said that going from blue to purple is the hardest journey in BJJ, FWIW.
  3. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I've gone through this with almost every martial art. It does get easier because you know it's there and you know it'll pass.

    Your purple buddy is spot on. You've hit the point where you need to start accumulating a real breadth of knowledge and start building an understanding of the concepts. At the same time you have to start figuring out what works for you. You're always going to be in the undulating swing between specialization and generalization.

    I got through mine the same way every time:

    • Consumed as much material as I could (books, videos, seminars, etc) to get a breadth of technical and conceptual understanding
    • Drilled the basics every single day without fail (usually 30-60 minutes every morning)
    • Experimented with things I wanted to branch out with or test then kept or discarded them. Repeat.

    Now as for being beat I always buttress problem areas to start. I.E. I used to get my guard passed all the time so I worked my guard subs, sweeps, and control to death until no one wanted to be in it. If you don't have problem areas just pick something. Put a lot of focus on one area for a month; takedown defence, takedowns, guard subs, sweeps, whatever. At the end of the month you'll have a much better understanding and better skill in that area and you can shift your focus to something else for a bit.
  4. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I stagnate for months at a time sometimes. I just train through it. I'm also trying to smash through the blue belt curse. Wanna ge to purple before the end of the year.
  5. rabid_wombat

    rabid_wombat Valued Member

    Blue belt is the toughest period, it's why BJJ loses so many students at blue. It's particularly difficult during the first few months. Defeating you becomes the conscious or sub-conscious goal of all the 3 and 4 stripe white belts, the 3 and 4 stripe blue belts have more experience and are approaching the purple, and the purples and up may start taking it less "easy" than they did before. That all adds up to the potential for feeling like you're in a rut.

    This is arguably one of the best periods to absorb information and ask questions though. You know enough to ask better questions and have a better understanding of the concepts that are behind the answers. Always revisit periods in your rolls with higher level folks where you're getting smashed, ask them to explore what happened with you so that you can understand it, add it to your game and develop a defense strategy for it.
  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award


    Just enjoy the moment and train, belts and who subbed who are unimportant, getting better and staying injury free are the bigger goals.
  7. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    I enjoyed last night...until I jammed my already arthritic shoulder on the mat. Ibuprofen and ice for a few days. So much for staying injury free, eh? :)

    P.S.: good video reminder, thank you!

    P.S.2: Rigan Machado seminar weekend after next. My coach and another brown belt friend from one of our sister schools are testing for black. Should be a great day!
  8. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    Yeah I do the same. I suppose everyone who sticks around (vs quitting altogether) does the same. I don't really do breaks. From having done and taught another MA previously, I know that "taking a break" can easily lead to never coming back. Seen many students come and go that way.
  9. peterc8455

    peterc8455 Valued Member

    I can definitely relate to this and I think you just have to relax and not worry so much about getting submitted.

    Remember when your coach gave you your blue belt it's like he put a target on your back for those white belts. You are a trophy for them. :)
  10. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Today I tapped to side control. A pretty humiliating night over all. Recently cleaned my diet up a lot, it's affecting my mood and the way I think. Very annoying.
  11. rabid_wombat

    rabid_wombat Valued Member

    Ooh, diet changes can definitely be rough. For me, I have to carefully adjust the amount of carbs I take in when cleaning things up or I crash. Definitely notice the difference rolling if I don't have enough.
  12. BohemianRapsody

    BohemianRapsody Valued Member

    I got down to 6% body fat a few years ago. I'd set it as a goal and took a few months, it was way more about my diet than my training. Four small meals of chicken, veggies and brown rice every day. No simple carbs.

    It worked but the one thing I noticed overall was how crap my randori became. I constantly ran out of gas early, had less mobility because I was always trying to conserve energy.

    After a particularly bad night of getting tossed around in randori and pinned over and over in ne waza I stopped at Starbucks and pounded 4 pieces of banana loaf. Was the best I felt in months.
  13. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    I've been up and down since I posted the thread, which is more par for the course as far as bjj training goes. One day I pull off a nice sweep against a brown belt (even got a couple taps, yay me), one day I get bow and arrow choked by a mid-level white belt. I've come back full circle and am attributing a lot of my bad rolls to my passive nature. I let people get to spots where I can't or can barely get out. It's like each roll I test how far I can let them go before I react.

    Problems are:

    1) Against anyone but the whitest of white belts, I technically can't afford to do this.
    2) Athletically, even though I’m deceptively spry and flexible for a 6’1’’ 230 pounder (that’s about 16.5 stones for you brits), I’m still slower and not nearly as athletic as the guys I train with.

    Things go well when, instead of reacting to what they do, I take the initiative and make THEM react to what I do. Now they are reactive and busy defending while I plan my moves ahead. Whereas my weight is a hindrance when in a bad position, it is a huge asset when on top using persistent pressure.
    Also, how your skillset matches up against the other guy’s is a huge factor. Funnily enough, I always do great rolling against a mid-level blue who dominates guys who dominate me. He lets me get on top too easily and from there I pass his guard most of the time and work an Americana (my go-to move these days). Goes on to show that it’s not because player A > B and B > C that it automatically means A > C. If that makes sense…

    tl; dr: Not good enough to let people do things to me, I need to take the initiative and impose my game.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  14. rabid_wombat

    rabid_wombat Valued Member

    I'd determined that as I approach 40, that experience and treachery closes the gap and can sometime overtake youth and athleticism. A well-baited trap is irresistible.
  15. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Today I was all over everyone. Tapped a purple belt with a modified cross choke from guard. I was determined to outpace everyone.

    Much better day.
  16. BohemianRapsody

    BohemianRapsody Valued Member


    I think terrible days don't get to me much anymore because I've had enough of them to know good days eventually come around after.
  17. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

  18. chucksmanhood

    chucksmanhood Valued Member

    Good for you.
  19. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    "Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance." - David Mamet
  20. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Cheers man. Welcome to the forum :)

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