I’ve been training BJJ for about a year and a half on and off. And although I’m not a blue belt when I first started taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu I attempted to spar realistically with the blue belts at my new school and thought I’d share what would happen if a BJJ blue belt went up against an untrained fighter.
Generally, the BJJ blue belt would submit them from a standing position. They would either break their arm, choke them unconscious or hold them in such a way that they give up and calm down. An untrained fighter will lose very easily.
A blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be awarded their blue belt through their results in competition. Or, by their performance in sparring against other BJJ students.
Today, I’ll explain in more detail about how a fight would go based on my experience and the experience of many others who have reported what has happened when a BJJ blue belt is faced with a situation where they need to defend themselves against an untrained opponent.
As well as when a BJJ practitioner gets awarded a blue belt, how difficult it is to get a blue belt in BJJ, as well as, whether a blue belt can beat a black belt.
Is a BJJ Blue Belt Good?
To understand how good a BJJ blue belt is, we need to turn to the founders of BJJ and see how blue belts were awarded as their history is very recent.
All BJJ practitioners were taught by two people: either Helio Gracie or Carlson Gracie. They were brothers. They both recently passed away around the year 2000. And their sons who are the figureheads of BJJ now are mostly 50 to 70 years of age. So, we can directly ask them, and they have directly said what a blue belt in BJJ is.
Before I get into that, here’s a quick video where one of the Grandsons of Helio Gracie, Rener Gracie interviews a BJJ blue belt and shows a video where a man attacked the blue belt in an altercation. It shows what happened and the BJJ blue belts thoughts:
As you can see the BJJ blue belt was easily able to subdue him. He grabbed his legs, then got into the mount position. Which is a very difficult position to get out, unless the person knows a very specific escape to get out of it.
Especially, when the person who is in the mount position has a lot of experience holding the person in this position. The mount position is one of the best positions in a fight. The reason is that the person on top has virtually complete control over the other person.
My personal experience as a white belt fighting/sparring BJJ blue belts
When I first started doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu I thought I’d test out some of the blue belts during the sparring session at the end of class to see what I could do. I had a good knowledge of what BJJ was all about before going to the class, so I knew what I needed to do.
I attempted to take them down and get into the mount position and apply an armlock. Or, get to their back and do a rear-naked choke.
Immediately as we slapped hands and began sparring they easily took me down, even though I was trying to take them down. They got in a good position, and then applied a submission.
I tried as hard as I could to beat them but I couldn’t even get close. I’m also quite tall 6’2, and about 175 pounds. And I sparred with a blue belt that was about 5’8, and very skinny. He was easily able to submit me. And avoid anything I was trying to do.
Even though I had a good theoretical understanding of what to do.
The difference is in the muscle memory and the minor adjustments and details they develop after a year or so of sparring. Which you can’t get from only knowing what to do.
Through practicing in live sparring sessions, which are at the end of a BJJ class, they develop a feel and timing, and can easily see anything coming before it happens.
Why a BJJ blue belt can easily beat an untrained fighter
An untrained fighter does their natural instincts. Which are to tackle the person, and try to punch them. Or, to stay on their feet and punch and kick them.
A BJJ blue belt will avoid a striking match and instead grab the person similar to wrestling or judo and take them to the ground.
As they take them down they will also land in a superior position where the untrained fighter can’t hit them with strikes. They will proceed to better and better positions, and then apply an armlock, or choke.
The reason they are so good is they understand what positions to get into, and they have A LOT of experience getting and maintaining these positions when the other person is trying to stop it from happening.
There is a hierarchy of positions in a fight. The best positions are the mount, back, and side control. An untrained fighter is unaware of these positions. From these positions, it’s virtually impossible to escape.
And even if they were to escape, the BJJ blue belt would quickly be able to get back into these advantageous positions until the other person is so exhausted they would be very easy to submit.
A BJJ black belt Matt Thornton of Straight Blast Gym (SBG) is paraphrased as saying:
“No amount of jiu-jitsu will help you if you’re 5’5 and 120 pounds, and the other person is 6’8 and 300 pounds.” The reason is the bigger person can just throw the other person around like an adult would a child. Regardless, of anything the smaller person does.
So, the saying that jiu-jitsu can help a small weak person defeat a much larger person is true. But, only to a point.
Is it Hard to Get a Blue Belt in BJJ?
Although I don’t have a blue belt in BJJ, I’m well on my way to getting one. Also, many of the people I train with have received their blue belt in BJJ. So, I thought I’d share whether it’s hard to get a blue belt in BJJ.
Generally, it’s not hard to get a blue belt in BJJ. But, you do need to spar which requires a good level of fitness. The individual techniques themselves are not difficult or complicated. However, executing them on a resisting opponent can be a bit frustrating, and exhausting.
The level of physical fitness required to spar and be a blue belt is reasonable. After a sparring session generally, you’re covered in sweat, and completely exhausted. In one sense you’re competing with your training partners. But, it’s collaborative and fun-hearted.
The risk of injury is also quite high depending on how safety conscious your training partners are. As it is a contact sport similar to high school wrestling, rugby, or American football.
Here’s a short video from a Gracie jiu-jitsu coral belt – the belt after black belt Pedro Sauer who learned under the founder of Brazilian jiu-jitsu Helio Gracie. It shows some of the techniques you need to know to get a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The techniques not covered in the video are very similar but are applied from different positions such as from the back, and from what is called the guard.
From the video you can see, you need to know 3 different takedowns, as well as various escapes and submissions from the various positions.
Can a BJJ Blue Belt Beat a Black Belt?
A BJJ blue belt can easily defeat an untrained opponent. But, can they beat a BJJ black belt or a black belt in other martial arts?
A BJJ blue belt can not submit a BJJ black belt. However, a BJJ purple belt can on some occasions submit a BJJ blackbelt. A BJJ blue belt can beat a black belt in other martial arts, especially if the other martial art is a striking martial art rather than a grappling martial art.
The reason is that the styles are very different. Generally, a striking martial art such as karate does not include learning grappling techniques.
Therefore, once a BJJ blue belt takes a black belt from a striking martial art such as karate down, the karate person will have no experience in this area, and it will be a skill mismatch. Which the BJJ blue belt can easily win.