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A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog on why so many people quit BJJ at the blue belt level, today I will be talking about what things BJJ blue belts should be focusing on when it comes to training. Even though I am a high ranking blue belt I still need lots and lots of work on many of the things that I will be explaining in this blog before I reach purple belt level. This particular belt is where you will find yourself spending the most time. It is where you will want to quit, it is where you will face new physical and mental challenges, and it is also where you will learn how to develop your own personal game and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Here are some things that I have noticed are really important to start working on if you are a blue belt:

Establishing Grips and Breaking Them: this is a tough thing to remember to do if you are a new blue belt (even the higher belts have trouble with it from time to time). It hurts, a lot. But the more you do it the stronger you will feel and no one will be able to constantly pay attention to breaking your grips as you are trying to sweep or submit them. As for breaking grips the same rule applies but I feel like you have to be more willing to break a grip and start playing your own game and not wait for them to reestablish their grips or make the first move.

Guard Passing: I hear a lot of the conversations going on between white belts and higher blue and purple belts asking how they are so good at passing guard and how they can counter and recounter a sweep/ submission so easily. Their answers were pretty much all the same: “That’s all I practiced when I got my blue belt”. It makes sense, passing the guard is such a hard thing to do if you aren’t practicing it or putting in the effort to learn different passes that might work better for you and your body type. If you are smaller you can work on your agility passes, if you are bigger you can work on pressure passing. There is so many different types of guard passes it’s easy to keep learning them.

Positional Escapes and Take Down/ Sweep/ Submission Defenses From Every Basic Position: A blue belt in BJJ should start learning how to escape/ recover/ reverse every basic position that they get into. This includes: Mount, Side Control, Closed Guard, Half Guard, Back Control, and any basic take downs, sweeps, and submissions that they may encounter from there like Double/ Single Leg, Scissor Sweep, Guillotine, Armbar, Triangle, Omoplata, Americana, Kimura, Rear Naked Choke.

Transitioning Moves: You should be able to transition from move to move with little difficulty. This means being able to flow your positions together such as: passing the Guard into Side Control, into Backwards Side Control, to Mount, into an Armbar without making and major mistakes or getting stuck on a position. This also means that you should be able to transition smoothly from one position into another and then back to the original position if the second one didn’t work. Being able to turn positions into muscle memory will help you a lot when you need to transition this way and is a really important quality to have when you get to purple belt or higher.

Pay More Attention to Leg Locks: When you get into blue belt level, you are allowed to start using Wrist Locks and Straight Ankle Locks. You should start practicing them and noticing when you or your opponent is able to go for a leg attack, because they will be used a lot in upper level BJJ, especially when you compete.

This is just a summary of the few things that I have seen the higher belts at Supremacy BJJ get really good at and that I think is important to learn before you reach that higher level. The most important thing at this belt is to learn to be comfortable with trying new things and finding your own game, and also to stick with it even when you don’t feel like training or when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau. The more you keep training when you don’t feel like it the more you will thank yourself in the future when you earn that black belt!

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