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Time in Grade
The conventional wisdom in the BJJ community is that a black belt in BJJ takes on average, for the serious hobbyist, about 10 years. If you assume that a serious hobbyist attends class 3 times per week, 50 weeks per year, this means a black belt in BJJ should require roughly 1500 classes to obtain. 1500 classes is the minimum standard in my opinion. The standards below are for adults, children cannot be promoted into the adult ranking system. They have their own system of belts going white, yellow, orange, and green. 16 is the youngest age for blue, and 19 the youngest age for the black belt.
For the Serious Hobbyist (3 times per week) This Means on Average:
The fastest that promotions can be obtained is in accordance with the CBJJ minimum standards. These minimum standards are ONLY for students who train full time (6+ times per week), AND are successful competitors. A successful competitor is one who wins multiple local/regional events, or medals in a major international tournament such as the mundials, pan-american championships, cbjjo world cup, international masters and seniors, etc.
* Only for those who train full time AND are successful competitors.
**TN BJJ club standard, not specified by the CBJJ
Aside from time in grade, there are four criteria for promotions through the Tennessee BJJ Club.
1) Dedication to Training
2) Skill in Applying BJJ Technique in Live Sparring
3) Knowledge of BJJ and BJJ Technique
Dedication to Training:
By dedication to training, is it meant someone who trains consistently and persistently over long periods of time. Two times per week is likely the minimum required for steady progression, and three times is what the typical serious hobbyist likely obtains. Dedication to training is REQUIRED for ALL promotions. This may require some sacrifice, but if you want to obtain rank in BJJ, you should be willing to make some sacrifices.
Skill in Applying BJJ Technique in Live Sparring:
You must be able to successfully apply BJJ technique against fully resisting opponents in live sparring or competition. If you are ready for the next rank, you should be able to defeat the large majority of those in your current rank, weight and age division. This should not be done only through the application of superior athleticism, but through the application of skillful technique.
Knowledge of BJJ and BJJ Technique:
You should be able to demonstrate the appropriate curriculum of techniques for your rank. For example the TN BJJ club blue belt curriculum contains roughly 80 techniques. You should have integrated the majority of these techniques into your game such that you can perform these techniques in sparring smoothly and efficiently. You should understand the rules of BJJ competition appropriate to your rank. Blue belts should understand the rules as they apply to the competitor, and purple belts should have knowledge sufficient to be certified as a referee (actual certification is not necessary). To obtain a brown belt, referee certification is required. Since I am a certified referee instructor (TN BJJ Federation), you may (but are not required to) obtain this certification through me. You should also have rank appropriate knowledge of bjj history, positional jargon, famous innovators, teachers and competitors.
My students represent both myself and the art I love, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Thus, there are certain guidelines that I insist that you must follow. You should abide by good sparring etiquette, always consider the safety of both your training partner and yourself, and be a sportsmanlike competitor. I expect my students to win and lose with grace and dignity. I expect you to shake and or slap hands before and after each competition match. You should speak only well of your training partners, coaches, and competition, and you should support your training partners in their training and competition goals. Also, in order to preserve a good training environment, you should never speak about beating or being better than someone who is your training partner, especially if this person is a higher belt than you. In clubs where this last rule is not followed, it becomes a war during every training match, which compromises safety and your learning curve. Also, if you don't respect others time and rank, who will respect yours? Finally, crimes involving violence must be avoided.