Read these 7 BJJ facts that many people who do Brazilian jiu jitsu don’t even know.
1. It takes 2 years to get your first belt in BJJ
It’s well known that it takes most people about 2 years to get their blue belt (the first colored belt in BJJ). This is much longer than in all other martial arts, and it feels excruciatingly long for many white belt students.
I also ran a poll on Reddit that got 3.4 thousand responses with the question ‘how long did it take you to get your blue belt?’. You can see that the results below support my BJJ fact.
|How long it took to get a blue belt
|Percentage of respondents
|1 year or less
|more than 3 years
2. BJJ is the only combat sport in which you can spar with full power
In Brazilian jiu jitsu you can go full power against your training partners. Of course, once you have a submission you should give them time to tap before you break their arm. But other than than, it’s safe to go full power because there’s not that much that can go wrong on the ground.
This obviously isn’t the case for any striking art (boxing, kick boxing, etc.) because you’d give each other concussions in training. But it also isn’t true in other grappling arts, because they use much more high amplitude takedowns. In judo and wrestling, you’re not supposed to throw your partners as hard as you can during training (only in competition).
3. BJJ has more submissions than any other martial art
BJJ has more legal submissions than all other combat sports (only certain neck cranks and finger locks are illegal). For example, the guillotine choke isn’t legal in any other grappling sport. Nor is the kimura. The only other sport that allows all submissions, is MMA, but they don’t wear a gi so the lack many of the gi chokes that we have in BJJ.
4. BJJ holds world championships at all levels – even white belt
This is kind of a weird BJJ fact, that’s also cool.
In almost all other sports, the world championships are about who’s the best in the world. In BJJ we have the World championships for all 5 belt levels (white, blue, purple, brown and black). All in the same event by the way. So we also have a World Champion at white belt, which means that he’s the best white belt in the world.*
(*Theoretically speaking, the white belt world champion should still be worse than most blue belts. But that’s not how it plays out. The people that want to become world champion at the lower belts, usually stay at their belt for as long as possible (we call that ‘sand bagging’). So the world champion at purple belt is already better than 99.99% of black belts on earth.)
5. BJJ matches can continue after your arm breaks
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is usually considered the most brutal combat sport, but here’s an argument against that. In the UFC, if you break your arm (or anything else) the referee automatically ends the fight and you lose. The exact language of the rule is “a fight will be stopped if it is known to the referee
that a fighter has suffered serious damage to joint or limb from a submission hold“.
In BJJ, fights regularly continue after one fighter has catastrophically broken a limb. I’ve seen this at a local level, where someone dislocated her shoulder, put it back in, and continued the match. And for example at ADCC 2022, Vagner Rocha won the Bronze medal after breaking his leg due to a leg lock (after the fight he couldn’t walk and he said his bones were shifting… yuk).
6. BJJ has the most coveted black belt
It takes between 8 and 13 years to get your black belt in BJJ, which is longer than in any other art. And it’s mandatory to participate in sparring in almost all BJJ schools to be promoted. And it’s customary to compete, but this is rarely required.
7. There’s no universal standard for belt requirements in jiu jitsu
Many other martial arts have a governing body that determines what you need to do to get to a certain belt level in the sport. BJJ has none of that. 67% of BJJ gyms don’t hold formal tests for their belt promotions at all (source). And the differences between gyms are also huge.
Also read: 7 BJJ Statistics that you should Know