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Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Purple | Perseverance


Purple to Brown, and the number of people that stay committed drops.

Is there any wonder every belt earned in BJJ is highly respected. According to 5x ibjjf world champion Bernardo Faria the hardest of all belts is purple belt (see article)

Dave Johnson & friend Greg Baldwin as Purple Belts 2012. Both men now BJJ Black Belts

I tend to agree with Bernardo, alot of students going through this stage can feel like they plateau, that their game isn't progressing, I too felt this on my way to Brown belt.

I'd stopped fighting MMA half way through my purple and there was a shift in focus towards more Gi orientated style and concepts. There is a long way to black, and purples have been through so much in their training, an emotional and physical roller-coaster of niggles, injuries, work, family and social commitments.

The biggest thing a purple must have is perseverance, it is a quality cultivated through all levels of training but at this stage and years it is surely tested.


Brown | Student becomes the teacher

When progressing through brown, • perseverance • grit • mindfulness ...and many other virtues have been developed that have helped shape your Jiu Jitsu and personal life. • Compassion • Commitment

• Moral Courage

• Honour

Social engagement and helping others with • Community

• Family Values

Dave Johnson receives Brown Belt from Professor Paulo Dias "Goioere" in 2015

The confidence is evident. It is a bi-product of countless hours spent practising techniques and having hard battles within yourself and on the gym mats with your training partners and in competition. Your style is well and truly set, but take it from me, your focus and intention towards different parts of your jiu jitsu game will never stop changing. Well by this stage if you feel like your plateauing and you get stuck in a rut, "I'm not progressing or not good enough", and doubt creeps in...

3 tips: your trainer/coach/mentor/sensei/professor or,

whatever you call your instructor hasn't already by now taught you this, so you can start being a good role model to the rest of the team. Then it's up to you to start.

1. You should focus solely on a certain aspect of your game, be clear and intentional eg. Guard retention, or a particular guard, x guard or deep half or butterfly guard, anything that you can practice until you are satisfied of your timing and execution. Put yourself in these positions so to practice them over and over. Then start seeing the different places you can transition in and out of these positions, flowing from other positions. A must for all levels (intentional drilling) but if you've found yourself plateauing, these little goals keep you on track towards mastery.


2. Before you become a black belt you must master being intentional and learning how to recognise it in others that need this same help and guidance, no matter their level of jiu jitsu and understanding. Start being more selfless and a good team role model. Transition into a black belt and learn how to become a good teacher.


3. And finally before earning your black belt try your best to assess your strengths and weaknesses in your game, understanding where your bad habits lie is important. It might be attitude towards training, drilling, rolling or just lazy in some aspects of your jiu jitsu overall. Work on these things, expand your mind, research, and talk about what you see as your common habits with your Professor and team mates. Ask them how they see your strengths and weaknesses and work on them (be a little bit vulnerable and don't take the feedback personally but as an opportunity to expand your game. Hopefully you've been doing this since you started BJJ and now your game is dynamic.

Black Belt Chapter Coming Next...

- Dave Johnson

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