07.02.2023 |

BJJ Blue Belt Tips

My thoughts as a BJJ bluebelt.

I named this post “tips” just to get more SEO juice. These are my observations as a BJJ blue belt to document the way I think of some fundamental things.

Protect yourself (and your partner) at all times

As long the fight is on, you are (also) responsible for your safety. People (especially beginners) tend to forget that. If you are in doubt of your safety then you can always stop the roll. If you are not sure that your arm or knee bends that way or if your neck can stand the pressure from that angle – just STOP the roll and take the time to investigate. Stopping the roll is always an option whenever you feel uncomfortable.

I would like to believe that my partner is also taking care of my safety (Wim Deputter) but I don’t always count on that.

Some people want to win, some people want to play

Some people want to win at all costs. Some people want to play sports.

It is healthier in the long term to be the one who wants to play. If some people want to win, let them win. Don’t reflect the violence because it doubles the violence. If I get an overly aggressive partner then I will simply stay calm and play an overly defensive game – for example, move between the turtle and running man the whole round.

Keeping it playful

If you are scared of losing then throw the first round the most embarrasing way possible with one asterix for newer and/or smaller practitioners – make sure you are safe.

Positional sparring

Craig Jones and Kit Dale on positional sparring.


I don’t know what is the reason behind it but in training environment people like to give advice outside their scope. Recovery, excercising, nutrition, supplements, medical interventions, financial, life coaching etc. Very often the advice in not of high quality. So it is not wise to implement everything immediately.

Honor in jiu-jitsu

If you win because your partner does not know what to do – is there really (an honour in that) win? (by Priit)

At the moment I don’t want to teach technique

I don’t want to teach you because I don’t know what I am doing. But I would happily give you the youtube links.

Danaher approach

I like Danaher’s approach to learning path: ground bottom → ground top → standing.

Source: Facebook

Submission defence is the most important (in the beginning, in my opinion)

Submission defence is what gives the ability to have longer rolls. If you do not have defence then you can attack only once.

Think of a ballgame – basketball or football. If you go to attack without any ability to keep the ball, get the ball back and defend (once your opponent has the ball) then you can attack only once (until you lose the ball). The game will be very one-sided, you can not attack playfully because you are scared to lose the ball. The game is much longer and more playful once you can defend and sometimes even get the ball back.

If you want to be good attacker you need good defender. (Priit)

Accepting reality…

…that all those things may happen and what you actually aim to do is just one of them. (Priit)

If something starts repeating itself, it is probably worth attention

Two blackbelts have in one way or another mentioned “speed” when reflecting my rolls. So… NOW I understand that I am relatively slow not everyone else is spazzy 🙂 Time to start moving myself a bit faster.

I thought about it and probably the reason is that I watch so many instructionals where things are done step by step (slowly) and I tend to think this way also during rolls. But during rolls every sequence of steps should be done in one motion.

Same with getting pinned into kesa gata or constantly not being able to escape armbars.

Rolling with higher belts that are also (much) heavier

I am 68 kg. What is the point of rolling with 100 kg blackbelts? I have not figured it out.

Rolling, in my opinion, is fun if parters are either technically fit (similar level of skills) or physically fit (similar size).


I need to think about it in more detail but the general idea is that every gym has an output. Something they put out. I have not figured out what is the expected output in my gym.

There are different people:

  • Athletic, competititve, ambitious people who really want belts and recognition.
  • Reacreational people who just show up, want to stay healthy, fit and just play sports. Don’t care about belts and recognition.

Output is what the gym transforms these people into in 5-10 years.

Scariest thing

Fresh white belt with hard judo gi is the scariest thing. You need to respect their grips, their ability to throw, control and pin. Because that is what judokas do. But the good thing is that you can learn from what ever you fall for.

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