Someone stumbled on my site by googling the term “bjj purple belt like black belt.” In no uncertain terms, let me say first and foremost that the given statement is NOT true. But, being a curious person, I decided to google the same thing, and see how long it took me to find an entry penned by my hand.
Anyway, I bring this little incident up to say that I stumbled upon a really nice article entitled “Progression in BJJ” by Roy Harris, a fourth-degree black belt under Professor Joe Moreira. It is really nice to read what a black belt has to say about what it is to be a white belt, a blue belt, a purple belt, and so on, instead of what a white belt thinks about blue belts, blue belts about purples, or purple belts about…well, The Dunning-Kruger Effect, Telomeres and Randy Couture, Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Jack Kerouac, or the rest of the absolute goddamn nonsense I put on this page.2
Here’s an excerpt which resonated with me, partially because I gave this exact argument to someone over dinner yesterday and partially because I really believe it to be true:
“When you can easily escape the tightest pin (from just about anyone), you will find yourself on top more often. When you find yourself on top, you have more chances for submission. However, you should not jump right into submission just yet because you have not developed the skill to hold someone down with finesse and ease. I have seen too many blue belts begin their journey into submission too soon and often become frustrated because they just can’t finish their opponent. They get so close, but they often fail at finishing their opponent. This usually leads the blue belt to seeking out more and more submission techniques. He thinks that the ‘new’ and ‘sneaky’ techniques will make him more skilled at submissions. However, what he doesn’t realize is that his inability to finish his opponent is directly related to his inability to positionally dominate him. The blue belt feels good when he has escaped a hold down and has landed on top. However, he also feels like he has ONE SHOT at sinking the submission. He knows that if he fails, he will end up on his back and have to fight for top position again. So, he usually stalls, waiting for his opponent to make a mistake so he can hopefully capitalize on it.”
It’s worth a read, if you, my audience, have the time.
Incidentally, did you guys know that Rodolfo Vieira beat André Galvão at the Abu Dhabi last month? I am incredibly curious as to how he is going to do at the Mundials this year.
Did you see the guard pass at 6:00? What about the guard pass at 6:40?! How the hell did he do that? They don’t even look like techniques! It looks like he spots an opening and, with the sumptuous timing of a break-dancing squirrel, just circles around a dazed and confused opponent. While he was not able to effectively pin Galvão, I’ll be damned if that wasn’t among the slickest passing I’ve ever seen. Five minutes just doesn’t seem like enough for these guys. I want to see more, more, more.
And how the hell is he going to do against Roger? That’s what is really on my mind.
I found an interview where he discusses it briefly with Gracie Mag.3 There’s gotta be a subway running in the distance while he’s being interviewed though, because I can hardly make out a damn word he’s saying. I’ll just translate this little bit, which came from the article itself:
“Ainda sobre o jiu-Jitsu, ele não hesita em admitir que vai fazer alterações na sua rotina de treinamento para enfrentar seu maior desafio – manter o título do aberto do Mundial em uma provável final contra o tricampeão Roger Gracie.”4
“Still on the topic of Jiu-Jitsu, he did not hesitate to admit that he’s making changes to his training routine for his greatest match-up yet – to keep the Open Weight Mundial title in the probable final match against three-time champion Roger Gracie.”
Anybody who caught what he said AND is fluent in Portuguese, email me please. Thanks. And thanks for reading. See you guys next week.