Are you looking at signing up to a BJJ gym but are concerned that the classes are being taught by a blue belt? Or are you a blue belt and wanting to try out some teaching or possibly open your own gym? It is time to look at whether or not a blue belt has the skills to be an effective Jiu Jitsu coach.
Can A BJJ Blue Belt Teach?
A BJJ blue belt can teach Jiu Jitsu especially beginner and kids classes but it is not ideal. Many blue belts have only been training for a few years and do not have enough skills and experience to teach. In most cases, a black belt is going to be a more effective coach.
The main issue with a blue belt teaching BJJ is a lack of experience and skills. In some gyms, students are getting their blue belts after 1 year of training while most are earning their belts within 2 years. This is a very short period of time and why blue belts are considered lower intermediate practitioners.
While blue belts have strong fundamentals and have a grasp on the basics of BJJ they still have lots to learn about the sport. There are many positions and submissions that blue belts have little to no knowledge of. Blue belts also often make large mistakes, it is not uncommon for blue belts to still occasionally struggle with basic movements.
This lack of knowledge and inability to perform some movements correctly puts blue belts in a poor position to teach students. Would you want to learn a skill from someone who only started practicing 2 years before you?
However, while a brand new blue belt is often unsuitable to coach BJJ there are some highly experienced blue belts who have more than enough experience to teach. There are blue belts who have been training for 5 years plus, especially athletes who began training as children. These blue belts have more than enough skill to train Jiu Jitsu students to a high level.
Blue belts are typically best suited to teaching children’s classes and beginner’s classes. As blue belts have strong fundamentals and have learned the fundamentals more recently than senior coaches they can be highly effective teachers. Blue belts are more than capable of showing new students the basics such as how to hip escape, forward roll, establish close guard, and fundamental submissions.
Should I Train At A BJJ Gym With A Blue Belt Coach?
If the blue belt coach has been training BJJ for at least 4 years, has experience coaching and you like the gym environment then you should train at that gym. If there is a similar gym nearby led by a black belt it is usually better to train there due to the instructor’s wider and deep knowledge.
If you are looking for a BJJ school and you find one which is being led by a BJJ blue belt don’t despair. First, you should ask the coach how long they have been training and ask about their competition results. If they have been training for at least 4 years then you should be able to learn the basics from them. If they have some impressive competition results such as competing at the Blue Belt World Championships then they will have more than skills to develop your fundamentals.
You should also ask about how they are improving their skills. Many blue belt coaches will get black and brown belts to frequently come to their school to help out their club. They will also travel to other gyms to get high level training. If your blue belt coach is not regularly training with upper belts then this is a red flag and you should consider trying another gym.
Other factors you have to weigh up are price and location. If you are on a budget and the blue belt run BJJ school is much cheaper than the black belt run school then train at the gym you can afford. There is no point causing yourself financial stress over training at a better Jiu Jitsu academy.
Location is also important as the closer you live to a gym the more likely you are to go. There is no point in signing up to an amazing gym that is 2 hours away. Your chance of regularly attending the gym is very low. If there is a blue belt run BJJ gym right around the corner that you can easily get to then you should choose that gym over a black belt run gym that is a difficult commute away.
Can I Open A BJJ Gym As A Blue Belt?
Opening a BJJ gym as a blue belt can be difficult but if there is limited competition in the area, you feel confident you can attract enough students and you have the required skill to teach new practitioners then you should.
The biggest factor when you are considering opening a gym as a blue belt is competition. If you are in an area where black belt run BJJ gyms are everywhere then your chance of succeeding as a blue belt run school is low. Think about it why would a new student choose your gym when they could train at an established high level gym that has been successfully developing athletes for years?
On the other hand, if you are in an untapped BJJ market and there are no gyms then opening a school even if you are only a blue belt could be a very wise decision.
If there is high competition in your area but you are still committed to opening your school you have to find a way to stand out from your competition. This may be a membership discount, a unique culture you develop or offering services that other gyms aren’t providing such as diet and strength conditioning plans, maybe free yoga classes, etc.
The next major factor is demand. As a blue belt and based on your proposed gym location will you be able to find enough students who are willing to train at your gym? You need to figure out how many students you need to break even and reach your desired profit goal. If you are confident in your ability to attract and retain students despite your lack of BJJ experience then go for it.
Running a financially successful BJJ gym as a blue belt is great. However, you also need to consider the service you are offering. You need to ask yourself if you actually possess the required skills to effectively teach Jiu Jitsu? You have a responsibility to keep the martial art strong by teaching new students correctly. If you do not have the skills or experience required to teach then you should hire a more seasoned Jiu Jitsu practitioner to run the classes.