In Part 1 of the Blue Belt triangle I focused on the females. This section is all about the men that train BJJ and pass the white belt and get to Blue belt. I like to call it the Blue Belt Triangle because it is just like the Bermuda Triangle in the ocean. Tons of BJJ’ers enter this area like a ship into the Bermuda triangle, and like many ships, some are never seen again. The ones that make it out of the Blue belt Triangle, tend to be a little battered, hardened but in the long run much better jiu jitsu players for the time put in. In the first half I theorized that the point for women to start dropping in rank is white to blue. There is a fraction of females competing at blue belt then there are competing in White belt. For men though it is a little different, the big separation seems to come at the end of the blue belt.
My coach Marcello says that other than your black belt, (which you will spend most of your jiu jitsu career at, if you make it there) you blue belt is the place where you will spend most of your time. Sherdog and other online forums are littered with with ‘Blue belt blues’ forums. This is of course different for everyone but blue belt is a huge step. It is also where the biggest difference in skill is at. Think about a brand new blue belt, a few days in, he’s definitely not a white belt, but compared to a guy who is about to get his purple belt. The difference can be staggering. So why does this happen? And how can we maybe get more people to stick with it so the field becomes deeper, and the competition, as well as the technique become better?
Go to almost any local BJJ tournament and the vast majority of the male competitors are white belts and blue belts. At any given NAGA event the Adult Male White and blue belt divisions can have over 20 competitors. The purple belt division is much smaller with some combining of weight classes to make divisions, and by brown/ black if they aren’t a local coach willing to compete, there isn’t a match. At the national/ pan and international levels, there are so many white and blue sometimes the absolute divisions are restricted or removed of the tournament. Purple belts and above are less restricted, all of the way through the black belt divisions.
To combat the drop off that seems to happen in the blue belt level some schools have started using a green belt in between the white and blue belt level. Green belt by IBJJF standards is only for students under 16. So what division does an adult green belt compete in? I am actually at a loss for that question and would love to know if anyone out there does have that answer for me. Is it fair for these guys to compete against white belts, or should they be forced into the blue belt division. It seems almost like a no man’s land…
So how do we stop it from happening? It’s true that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not for everyone. That because of us as Americans like that instant gratification it becomes hard to sit a belt for months and then years without seeing any form of reward. The last thing I would ever want to see is the is the belt system getting watered down. So we need to just push through it.It is a journey that doesn’t have an ending. It’s always growing and evolving. Remember your belt only covers an inch of your butt, you have to cover the rest..