Part-Time BJJ Equation

Thought this was interesting… comparing how much we train or goals we set compared to the professionals we look up to. An article from Jiu-Jitsu Magazines website. I’ve attached a link below.

I absolutely agree with this article regarding the blurring line between our accessibility with the people we look up to whether it be in competitions, YouTube videos, or other online  formats and what we can expect out of ourselves. Being able to talk to them at competitions, discuss BJJ openly and hang out with them at their gym, and even during seminars could give the illusion that their accomplishments are very well possible for the average daily part time BJJer. Heck they even sit right next to us during the tournaments we attend lol… watching BJJ Black Belts compete at the highest level is cool. NP, get a picture with Marcelo Garcia, Keenan Cornelius, Marcus Almeida Buchecha, Andre Galvao, Dean Lister, Jeff Glover, Caio Terra, and the list goes on…

Reality Check! Math as this Article Discusses

This article uses “BJ Penn” as a prime example. He received his Black Belt in 3 years. Theoretically, if he trained 5 days, 6 hours a day, with 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon, and possibly 2 hours at night on average. He would spend roughly 30 hours a week training BJJ in the gym. Given only 52 weeks in a year, that’s a cool 1560 hours BJJ mat time for a year of training. 3 years to get a Black Belt means a whopping 4680 hours over a 3 year span… HUGE!!!!. Additionally, might I add this training was in a GI… yes BJ Penn trained and competed in a GI.

That being said, this article comparatively frames “BJ Penn” to an “average BJJer”, who theoretically and respectfully trains 3 times a week for about a 2 hour span. That’s including, warm-up, drilling, technique, and most importantly live rolling. That’s 6 hours a week, whereas, BJ Penn would have 30 hours. Given 52 weeks, that 312 hours a year, whereas, BJ Penn has 1560 hrs. In over a 3 year span… grand total of 936 hours… cray cray… reality check eh?? again in a GI.

Therefore, if theoretically to reach Black Belt the magic number was 4680 hours, per ‘BJ Penn’s’ accomplishment. The ‘average BJJer’ would take 15 years… based on taking 3 classes a week. Realistic and Achievable? absoluteness…

Below is a diagram which displays the BJJ mat time in a GI math as borrowed from this article.


Using Alliance BJJ belt requirements as a baseline for a more realistic approach for goals of an average BJJer… just needed a base line. International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) has their own sets of guidelines that appear to somewhat make sense as well. There are sooooo many other factors to account for; you really need to start somewhere. Below is an image to Alliance BJJ’s belt requirements.

belt_requirements_Page_1 belt_requirements_Page_2

Breaking it down even further to realism for an average BJJer, I’ve put together a cool spreadsheet using the influencing article as well as Alliance BJJ’s belt requirements.

Alliance Belt Requirements

According to Team Alliance’s Belt requirements:

  • For a blue belt, on average, 10 to 14 months of training with a minimum of 100 to 120 classes plus passing a test, which is roughly 240 hours as depicted in the spreadsheet. Could be reached if you trained 2 times a week, based on a 2 hour class, in one year.
  • For a purple belt, on average, 3 years of training with a minimum of 360 classes plus passing a test, which is roughly 720 hours as depicted by the spreadsheet. Could be reached if you trained 7 times a week, based on a 2 hour class, in one year.
  • For a brown belt, on average, 6 years of training with a minimum of 750 classes plus passing a test, which is roughly 1500 hours as depicted by the spreadsheet. Could be reached if you trained 14 times a week, about 2 times a day, based on a 2 hour class in one year.
  • For a black belt, on average, 8 years of training plus a demonstration, note that with interpolation it works out to a total minimum of 1000 classes, which is roughly 2000 hours as depicted by the spreadsheet. Could be reached if you trained 21 times a week, about 3 times a day or to be exact 20 times week, with about 2.8 time a day, let’s just round up to 3 lol.

Note that the above is framed under the fact that you will be training 7 days a week. Let’s just say that’s impossible or is it? With life, work, other hobbies, sickness, resting, and potential injuries. The reality is it will never happen… unless you’re ridiculously well off, single, immune to every disease known to man, and a BJJ addict. Hey I’m only one of those. Achievable and attainable I guess in a perfect world based on training 7 days a week. Hahahah…  forgive my sarcasm.

That being said I will never be a BJ Penn, heck started in 2008… Currently I’m 36… Reality check! Running into the pros is cool. I admire them, I train anywhere from 4 to 5 times a week… 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours long. I have a wife, work full time, a new born baby; and I’m an amateur home chef who enjoys dabbing in 12 to 15 year single cask aged fine scotch. Oh and my lovely dog. All which need my undivided attention if I’m not thinking of BJJ. Seeing those pros in action can certainly de-motivate your gains in BJJ. It’s all about perspective.

Sooo, I can’t be like BJ Penn, Clark Gracie, Kron Gracie, JT Torres, Andre Galvao, Keenan Cornelius?… or even Marcelo Garcia… everyone is always like well Marcelo Garcia did it, he’s a small guy… seriously dude he’s a one in a million…  then who can I be like? Mike?.. ‘Michael Jordan, an old Nike sports advertisement’. How about be like me, myself and I? Truth.

You’ve spent half a decade to get a purple belt… you ever been crushed by a blue belt who trains full time and is half your age. not saying it’s happened to me… yet! At least not as a purple belt… lol. Blue belt, yes. Purple… no. Anyone will take it individually and condemn themselves. It’s all just a mental kick in the ass thing.

This article discusses that the majority of gold medalists in IBJJF Tournaments are full-time BJJers, even at the blue belt level. They might not be living inclusively off sponsorship’s, but they do have the will to center their training exclusively on just BJJ. When I go to work, they’re training. When I feel like crap and don’t go train as scheduled, they’re training. When I make dinner for the family, they’re training. When I walk my dog, they’re training. When I’m changing my baby’s diaper, their training… dragging on? Or are we the same?

At the end of the day we are nothing like the professionals aside from that they are human. I am not BJ Penn, Clark Gracie, Kron Gracie, JT Torres, Andre Galvao, Keenan Cornelias… or even Marcelo Garcia. My BJJ is my own BJJ. We are all built differently, brought up in different circumstances and different situations. You will be graded when your Professor decides you are ready. You will improve at your own tempo. The reality is, who cares about a medal and world championships. Medals are just objects that everyone forgets about, not even real gold, silver or bronze. We cannot let others define who we are. BJJ is about self expression of the art we’ve learned. Tournaments and testing yourself is only a small facet of what BJJ has to offer. You don’t need to be a title holder to enjoy the sport. Maybe learn BJJ and save the world…. now that would be cool hahahah. We all contribute; in one way or form… training BJJ is a contribution in its own…

At the end of today’s class one the guys I coach brought up that he feels like a door knob when he get gets submitted, doesn’t know how to defend, or any submission for matter of the fact. He just started a few months ago and trains every Sunday. So he trains once a week. I explained that you won’t be able to learn everything in one sitting let alone from 4 or 8 lessons… I explained that I feel like a door knob when rolling with brown or black belts… it’s normal. He explained that he’s watched all these YouTube videos with all sorts of techniques and submissions and he can’t hit any on anyone and its deterring. I explained that being submitted is part of your learning curve… in Brazil most white belts start with working on their closed guard… you happen to only be able to attend a more intermediate class… which has its pros and cons… Learn newer stuff… however lose focus on the fundamentals. I further explained that being a beginner and attending a more advance class you will have to focus particular on avoiding submission as opposed to trying to submit the other guys… make that a focus. I told him that he was doing everything right… heck my first few years on the mat I spent being submitted by everyone… still do by more advance guys.

At the end of the day… its about enjoying your journey… not worrying about what you can’t do compared to the great ones…focus on having fun and everything will come.

Or maybe we could quit everything, travel from club to club and just train… not sure if my baby or wife would appreciate that… just saying!

That being said is there an exact equation to BJJ for a part-BJJer?

Inspiring Film By Stuart Cooper, The Spirit of Jiu-Jitsu

My answer is no… being a part-time grappler with soooo many changing variables there are infinite possibilities… best just enjoy the journey because the destination will never change. WAIT or does it get better as some Black Belts I know have stated? Or doesn’t?

Make it a way of life!

Another Inspiring Film By Stuart Cooper, Jiu-Jitsu is a Way of Life

Anywho till next time tootalooo?



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