Epi 355 The BJJ Belt

This week we talk about BJJ belts and the meaning they have. We share some stories, and offer a bit of advice.

We talk about:

  • Joe plays a little guitar
  • Getting our blue belts
  • Giving black belts to people under 18
  • The age and size factor
  • Someone under the age of 18 getting their black belt
  • Should you be able to teach BJJ
  • Being able to hang with the same belts
  • Why some instructors do belt tests


Quote of the week: “Beware of the man with one gun, for surely he will know how to use it.” Attributed to Clint Smith

Article of the week: The Top 5 Reasons Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Is So Popular

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 349 We Talk About Blue Belts with Bjj Campaign

This week we have a combined podcast with Bjj Campaign. We have a great discussion about BJJ blue belts and our personal stories.

We talk about:

  • What it was like for us a white belts
  • What it was like for us a blue belts
  • Getting our blue belts
  • Advice for competing
  • Advice for blue belts


Quote of the week: “Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” Franklin P. Jones

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 266 BJJ Blue Belts :)

This week we talk about blue belts. Getting a blue belt is an important step in your jiu-jitsu life. You will not forget the day you got the blue belt. It is often the first major mile stone in BJJ. This episode we talk about the ups and downs plus share a few stories from being BJJ blue belts.

Blue belt topics inculde:

  • Getting beat by white belts
  • Blue belt blues
  • Learning from teammates
  • Being an older blue belt
  • Dealing with the feeling of having a target on your back
  • Our games as blue belts
  • Helping white belts

We defy information about a seminar in Wichita Kansas.

Quote of the week: “Living in fear is not living; it is tantamount to being a prisoner of our own weaknesses, constantly awaiting the next injustice.” Gus Lee

Article of the week: The Brotherhood Extends Beyond the Mats













Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Expanding your Jiu-Jitsu in a logical manner

I ran across this scenario and subsequent question not long ago: A white belt 6-8 months in has developed a decent closed guard but when his guard gets broken he has no answers to prevent the pass. His question was, “what’s another guard I can add to my game?”. That’s a great question, but a better question might be, “how do I figure this out myself? — how do I determine which positions and techniques to add to my game?”. Most grapplers will find themselves at the point of needing to evolve and expand their game many times during their journey. Sometimes you will adjust your game for competitive reasons, because of injury, or simply to continue moving towards a complete game. If you have a sound methodology for making these kinds of jiu jitsu decisions the process will become more efficient allowing you to progress more quickly. Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself during the process.

Have you explored all the options in the game you’re already playing? I would not try to discourage someone from expanding their game, but before you abandon something that has been successful, but no longer is – it may be worth spending some time trouble shooting. Perhaps with a few simple tweaks, you can get some more mileage out of that position. This may be especially relevant if you are trying to solve a problem for an upcoming tournament. A month before competition is not the best time to be revamping your game.

Does it solve the problem? If your training partners are using standing guard breaks and passes, spending a month studying half guard might not be as effective as spending a month transitioning from a broken closed guard to a single leg x guard, x guard, or de la riva guard.

Does it fit with the game you are already playing? Adding a new element will be easier if it shares some commonality with the game you’re already playing. All jiu jitsu fits….so maybe a better question here is “how will I make this fit into my game?”.

Does it fit with your physical attributes, skill set, and experience level? Every jiu jitsu practitioner has a different body type with different physical attributes and therefor certain positions and techniques will work better for some athletes than others. This definitely should be a consideration when expanding your game.

Is it the next logical step in regard to complexity and difficulty? If the two takedowns that had been working for you no longer are, then getting the fight to the ground would be a problem for you, and adding some additional techniques would make sense. Learning to do flying triangles and flying arm bars could be a possible solution, but you need to have the requisite skills in place first. If you are not already proficient at arm bars and triangles from more traditional positions and during transitions, then doing flying variations is most likely not the next logical step.

What does your coach think? If you have reached a point where you must expand your game to address a weakness, odds are your coach has also noticed you have an issue to address and has some direction for you. You can catch your coach before or after class, or even better, schedule a private lesson with them.

In conclusion: Efficiency is a core concept of jiu jitsu. Efficiency of movement is one of the things that allows smaller, weaker, or older people who have trained to prevail over those who haven’t. Why not apply this same principle when it comes to building your game?

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe Thomas

More articles by Joe here

Epi 172 Six Amazing Black Belts Answer Questions About Blue Belts

This week we have a HUGE episode. We take six well known and respected black belts and ask them all the same five questions about blue belts. There are some similarities and differences within these interviews but the amount of jiu-jitsu wisdom about blue belts in this episode is amazing.

The five questions we asked to the six black belt guests

  1. Do you have requirements for a blue belt? What are they?
  2. How important is it for students to be able to “defend” their belt?
  3. How many intangibles (good teammate, good effort, helps others) come into play when promoting someone to blue belt?
  4. Do you ever regret giving someone a blue belt?
  5. What advice to you have for the new blue belt?


Tim Sledd 24m 25s

  1. Tim explains some of the techniques he requires for a student to know before receiving a blue belt.
  2. Tim talks about why some students get tapped by lower belts and if it is a big deal.
  3. Why he looks at character of a student not just technique, and how this can hold someone back.
  4. Why he has no regrets of any belts he has given out.
  5. Advice for the new blue belt.

Matt Thornton 58m 30s

  1. How he evaluates blue belts based on performance, and not looking at particular techniques.
  2. Why it is important for your first blue belts to be very good at a school.
  3. The importance of having good people on the mat.
  4. Why he is confident in all his blue belt students.
  5. Why it is important to relax and work on open guard as a blue belt.

Bernardo Faria 1h 17m 30s

  1. Bernardo talks about Fabio Gurgel’s system to get a blue belt a student must attend 120 classes.
  2. The idea of not tapping to a lower belt is an old mentality.
  3. Having a bad attitude will hold students back.
  4. Not having an actual belt test, and not regretting giving someone a blue belt.
  5. Keep your ego low, and work on learning jiu-jitsu.

Daniel Covel 1h 25m 05s

  1. His minimum requirements of techniques for a blue belt. The responsibilities of the instructor to the students.
  2. The importance of learning from your mistakes, and making adjustments.
  3. Why it is important to have good people and teammates on the mat.
  4. He has no regrets about any of his past blue belts.
  5. It is important to recognise the hard work on the mats.

Henry Akins 1h 42m 50s

  1. Understanding the basic positions and a handful of basic submissions.
  2. Why some upper belts get caught by lower belts.
  3. Why it is important for a blue belt to be a good training partner.
  4. Why getting tapped out is part of the learning process
  5. Why blue belts should work hard to develop a strong base.

John Will 1h 59m 30s

  1. Why he likes having requirements for blue belts but not so many for other belts.
  2. It is rare for a colored belt to get tapped by a lower belt, but it is no big deal.
  3. Why the culture of the gym is so important. The concept of a ox neck and rat’s head.
  4. It is often normal to feel like you don’t deserve a new belt
  5. Ask five simple questions for every technique you learn to learn more details.

Mat Tales 14 Mouse in the House

Quote of the week: “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu

Article of the week: Production Now and Production Long Term















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

BjjBrick Q&A Q8 Changing Schools & BJJ For Self Defense

Question”Hey Byron ,you and Gary are great, love the podcast, it has helped me through these 11 months in my BJJ journey so far, I recently got promoted to blue belt and was so excited when I did but now I’m questioning whether I’m in the right school since They mainly focus on sport. I’ve always felt that sport JJ would be enough to defend myself in a street fight, takedown, control (mount, side control) submit if need to. My question is since I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the effectiveness of BJJ is lacking due to sport oriented academies, is Sport BJJ enough for self defense or should I consider changing schools? which would be hard since I’ve made many friends there and wouldn’t want to leave. Thanks for your time”

BJJ Fact


You will get tapped out by a lower belt, it is just a matter of time.

The best way to prevent this is to:

*Avoid lower belts that are getting better or giving you a tough roll

*Avoid rolling when you are very tired

*Avoid putting yourself in bad situations

If you avoid these things, you will be less likely to get caught
by a lower ranked belt.
But if you avoid these things, your development will suffer,
and your team will suffer.

The truth is, that it is no big deal to get caught by a lower belt.  Keep it fun, and keep rolling.