How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Jiu Jitsu?

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Two men sparring brazilian jiu jitsu

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is both fun and useful for so many reasons, which is why it is so popular nowadays. If you’re considering finding a school that teaches BJJ, you may have some questions. The same is often true if you only recently just started Jiu Jitsu.

How long does it take to get good at Jiu Jitsu? Getting good at Jiu Jitsu is something that can take 6 to 10 years or so to accomplish. This won’t necessarily get you a black belt in BJJ, unless you’re putting in the work, being consistent, and competing regularly during that time. Still, it should get you a purple or brown belt if you’re diligent.

While this amount of time is an average, several factors go into just how long it will take you to make it to that level.

What Does It Take To Get Good?

When someone says that they want to get “good” at something, it can mean different things. As a general rule, however, being good at Jiu Jitsu is where you reach the point where you are fairly proficient and feel confident in your abilities but know that you are not an expert yet.

For most people, this happens somewhere between purple and brown belt, which is right before your black belt.

At this point, you should know basic techniques so well that they become muscle memory and you don’t need to think about the steps when executing a more.

Depending on your natural ability to pick up new skills, it may take a while before anything in Jiu Jitsu feels easy for you.

Some things might take a while to click, even going from complete beginner to being barely competent may take a year or longer, depending on how often you’re on the mats.

Mat time

There’s no substitute for time on the mats.

Mat time is one of the variables that is entirely dependent on you and the amount of time you can commit to training.

If you have a full-time job, a family, other hobbies, and you want to have time to hang out with friends, then you’re probably not going to have much time to train Jiu Jitsu.

The amount of time you spend training is going to be important, but being consistent over a long time is what gets you to the next belt.

As you start learning new things, you should make sure that you are using your time as efficiently as possible. Don’t stick to just the positions and submissions you like. Also, don’t only focus on what you find the most challenging, try to find a balance between the two.

Try to roll with higher and lower belts. Rolling with different belts can both help you see where you were and where you want to be. It’ll also help expose weaknesses and strengths in your Jiu Jitsu game.

How often should you train?

  • Once a week
  • 2-3 times a week
  • 4+ times a week

Since you might be wondering just how often you should be training Jiu Jitsu.

Once a week

If you are only training once a week, you will find it hard to remember what you learned from the previous week to the next, and you will have a hard time retaining the information.

2-3 times a week

If you can consistently train two to three times a week over time, you will get in shape, and you will learn Jiu Jitsu at a decent speed.

2-3 times is a realistic goal to set out to accomplish. Find three days a week to train, and if you do this consistently, you’re guaranteed to get good at Jiu Jitsu.

4+ Times a week

Of course, if you want to get good at Jiu Jitsu quickly, you could attend four or more classes a week.

4+ days a week will accelerate your learning, but just remember the more you train and the less time your body has to recover, the chances of you get injured go up a lot.

Before you decide to do this, though, you should keep in mind that you can also burn yourself out.

For a detailed post about this check out, How Often Should You Train In BJJ? Here’s The Truth

Work through the plateau

At some point, you might get frustrated with your lack of progress when you’re training Jiu Jitsu.

While this can be discouraging, it’s normal, and you can be stuck in a plateau for months before you finally feel that you are making progress again.

It’s fun to train when you’re progressing and enjoying it, but when plateau hits, you feel as if you haven’t learned anything and question if you should continue training BJJ at all.

You kind of have to push through a plateau, so try not to cut back on training too much and remind yourself to have fun when you train.

Slow it down

This is a good time to slow down a bit and make sure that you’re digesting what you’re learning.

Take your time when learning something even if it seems easy or trivial, remember the devil is in the details.

Finding new details to moves that you know can rekindle the love for a position you stopped caring about because you thought there was nothing else you could do with it.

Be consistent

The key to how to get good at Jiu Jitsu is being consistent!

We’ve mentions this a bunch already, but this is true for most things in life. If you want to get good at something, you have to be consistently working at it.

Also, try to go to Jiu Jitsu at the same time and day every week. This helps make it a habit, and that way you’ll go to the gym even if you don’t feel like it.

Try To Avoid Injuries

This is not something that you can’t really help avoid, but it can still factor into how long it will take you to get good at Jiu Jitsu.

If you get hurt and you’re out of commission for weeks at a time, then it will set you back on your progress.

If you get hurt easily and often, then it might take you quite a bit longer to progress in BJJ.

For this reason alone, if not for your own health and safety, you should try to avoid getting hurt.

As for protective gear, when you are training, this is usually not needed. However, I do recommend a mouthguard. It is not a major inconvenience and can save you from having to pay to fix a chipped tooth.

Things that will help you get better at Jiu Jitsu

You want to make sure that you’re regularly attending classes, paying attention to detail, and rolling with everyone you can.

If you’re doing all those things and you feel like you’re getting good at Jiu Jitsu, but you want to try to accelerate your learning a bit, here’s a few things you can try.

Private lessons

One of these is getting private lessons when you need them.

Whether it’s a position that makes no sense whatsoever, something specific that you want to learn, or you just want to find what’s missing in your game, a private lesson with your coach might be just what you need.

Rather than struggling through something for possibly weeks on your own, you can have a private lesson so that you can figure it out quickly and move on to learning something else.

Seminars

Another thing that you should do is to try to attend some seminars near you.

Attending a seminar of a world champion Jiu Jitsu practitioner can sometimes help you to see something you thought you knew in a whole new light. At the very least, you are sure to pick up a few helpful tips and learn a new position or submission.

Compete

This is probably the number one thing that you can do to get good at Jiu Jitsu.

There’s just so much benefit from testing your skills against an equally matched opponent.

At the least, you should compete a few times at every belt.

You always hear in Jiu Jitsu, “You either win or you learn,” and this is very true; many times, you learn the most from tournament losses. It helps you find weaknesses in your game you never noticed before.

After your first tournament, you’ll want to do more, they’re a lot of fun and nothing to be scared of.

Check out our article, How To Prepare For Your First BJJ Competition: A Complete Guide

Open mat

Open mat is a designated time where students are allowed to use the mats as they please. Most of this time is spent sparring, but many people use this time to work on things that they’ve been having trouble with.

It’s a perfect time to ask your Jiu Jitus buddies to help you with something, or you can even ask them to point out areas where you can use improvement.

We have a great article on open mat, What is Jiu Jitsu open mat, and should new people attend?.

Keep a journal

One thing that you can do is take notes; these can help you remember what you worked on.

Having to articulate your movements into words makes you have to think about every detail.

If you do this, try and wait until after class. Don’t interrupt your professor’s instruction to get up to write in your notebook.

Check out BJJ Journal: What It Is And How Can It Help You Improve?

Conclusion

When getting bit by the BJJ bug, they plan on doing it for a long time – sometimes even forever. However, the fact is that only about 1 in every 10 people who start training Jiu Jitsu ever make it to the point where they are good at it.

This is not to turn you away, but it is just to let you know that this is not an easy sport. You will get discouraged if you go into this assuming that you’ll be good at it after a few months.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

If you have a real passion for this art, and if you can keep it alight, then you will stand a much better chance at making it to a black belt.

Keep in mind that simply to go from purple to brown that you have to spend at least 18 months as a purple as one of the requirements to move on, so think long-term.

Sometimes you will lose – even to belts that are lower than you are – and sometimes you will make no progress. Remember, if you keep showing up to class one day, you’ll get good at Jiu Jitsu.

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