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How to Get Your Next Belt

Belts are milestones to help give positive reinforcement to the BJJ practitioner's journey. In no way do they reflect who can beat up who. It is about the individual student's journey and how they build a relationship with the art. As the coach, I am there to guide students using principles and encouraging them to develop their own methods.

There are both objective and subjective criteria for every belt. Each stripe indicates that you have made significant progress towards the next milestone. The hours listed are a minimum and in most scenarios it is more. I put very little emphasis on learning and regurgitating "moves".

Below are the criteria for my students in the Gentle art lifestyle phrontistery. Gentle art lifestyle is an online home for those that do not have a consistent path forward. Common examples include living in a small community, moving around, club teams etc… If you are interested in becoming a student, connect with us via the footer below.

White to blue belt


500+ hours guided learning and mat time. This includes classes, open mats, drilling, playing and rolling.

250+ hours of independent learning. This can include Instructionals, watching matches, youtubes, instagrams etc.

General understanding of Gentle Art Lifestyle core principles: Posture, arms back home, how to distribute weight etc. *

Logically think about your movement

Consistency in tracking and journaling each week

At least 1 year from BJJ start date


-Needs to competently be able to defend oneself in an altercation. For less athletic practitioners use tools that have been learned to survive. Most athletic levels should be able to thrive.

-Needs to show marked improvement from the first day. Growth should be evident.

-Should understand how to use their physical gifts while grappling

-Should be able to control themselves while grappling and understand how to move in the grappling context

-Should have a defensive basis.

-Compete at least once (if physically able)

Blue to Purple belt


750+ additional hours guided learning and mat time.

250+ independent learning

Fluid application of Gentle art core principles seen by coach. (through film or live)

Consistency in tracking and journaling each week

At least 2.5 years from BJJ Start date


-Needs to be competently able to roll with anyone in the room. This does not mean “beat.” It means know how to roll with, know how to learn from.

-Marked grappling improvement from blue belt

-Should have added a large offensive capability to their arsenal while grappling with other grapplers. Practitioners should be able to apply submissions precisely and painlessly.

-Should not be afraid to try new things

-Should not be afraid to “lose”

Purple to Brown belt

750+ additional hours guided mat time

250+ independent learning

Start to be able to verbalize what it is that they are doing and why they are doing it

Should be able to apply submissions painlessly, submissions should start to be gifts

Consistency in tracking and journaling each week

At minimum 4.5 years from BJJ start date


Should have competent understand of what to do in almost every positional exchange

Should have the curiosity to go down rabbit holes on things that they like.

Should be an example of how to act in the gym

Should show marked grappling improvement from purple belt

Should show willingness to help guide others with techniques

Brown to Black belt


750+ additional hours guided mat time

250+ independent learning

Should be understanding the sport for them, living the lessons it has supplied them. These lessons will be thought about, written and examples need to be viewed

Consistency in tracking and journaling each week

At minimum 7 years from BJJ start date


Should display wisdom in decision making both on and off the mats

Must show how little they know and their excitement for that fact

Should be fluid in motion and be playful, precise and painless

Be an ambassador for the sport and must encourage others to find their “Jiu Jitsu”, whatever that happens to be

Must be in the process of developing their own BJJ Personality and style.

Have a Jiu Jitsu “thesis” (Something the practitioner deep dives into)

Must pass BJJ Globetrotter council of traveling black belts review

*Core principles will be outlined in future blogs for those wondering.


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