I’m sure you have heard just how difficult it is to earn your black belt in BJJ. In most cases you are looking at 8 to 10 years of consistent training before you can consider a Jiu Jitsu master. But what about BJJ’s second most coveted rank…brown belt? Surely, it must be a lot easier to get that belt!
How Long Does It Take To Get A Brown Belt In BJJ?
To get a brown belt in BJJ it takes between 6 to 8 years of regular training. If you average 3 days of training a week, with each session lasting 1.5 hours you are looking at spending between 1400 to 1900 hours on BJJ mats before you earn your brown belt.
Why Does It Take So Long To Get A Brown Belt In BJJ?
A brown belt is considered to be an expert in BJJ. A good brown belt should be close in skill level to a black belt. As BJJ is difficult to learn due to the required coordination and challenging technical and strategic components, becoming advanced in the arts takes years of dedicated training.
It isn’t just black belts who are expected to be beasts on the BJJ mats. Brown belts also need to display technical mastery and an ability to easily control and submit fellow Jiu Jitsu practitioners.
While the average brown belt may not be as good as your average black belt they are still highly advanced martial artists. To a white or blue belt they may not be able to distinguish between a black or brown belt based on skill. They will both feel incredibly good to a beginner Jiu Jitsu athlete.
In some cases brown belts are as good as black belts. You sometimes see this on the competition circuit. A brown belt will win their belt level world championships, be promoted to black belt and then the following year be submitting black belts in competitions.
Levi Jones-Leary is a former brown belt world champion who immediately found success in black belt competitions after being promoted.
As brown belts are expected to be close to mastery, this level of skill can only be achieved through 1000 + hours of dedicated training. For most BJJ athletes it takes between 6 to 8 year until they reach the skill level which is representative of a brown belt.
BJJ is not a simple sport. The complexities of the martial art combined the thousands of possible techniques and endless strategic decisions is what makes it so appealing to its practitioners. It is also what makes it so difficult to progress and achieve a high level of proficiency.
As BJJ has regular sparring, typically scheduled at the end of each training session there is no hiding from your true ability. Your Jiu Jitsu proficiency will be on display every class as you roll with your training partners which makes attempting to embellish your skill level next to impossible, forcing athletes to work hard to truly achieve a high skill level.
BJJ athletes who are extremely dedicated can shorten the time it takes to receive their black belt by increasing their training volume, allowing them to squeeze in thousands of hours of mat time in 3 to 5 years. While rare some BJJ practitioners have managed to earn their BJJ brown belts in rapid pace, Travis Stevens, Gordon Ryan and BJ Penn are famous examples.
What Does It Mean To Be A Brown Belt In BJJ?
A brown belt is the second highest ranking in BJJ after black belt, excluding red belt which is mostly ceremonial. A brown belt is a highly advanced athlete who has strong fundamentals, deep knowledge of all areas of BJJ and is an expert at a number of positions and submissions.
A brown belt should be really really good at BJJ. By the time you finally receive your brown belt you will have most likely trained for at least 5 years maybe even 10 years. You will have spent well over 1000 hours on the mat, maybe even 2000 hours.
You will be able to submit white and blue belts in your sleep while telling them the exact move you plan to hit on them. You will know hundreds and hundreds of different techniques from all the positions in BJJ.
No matter where you end up, be it mount, back, guard, standing, turtle you will be comfortable and have an answer for any move a BJJ athlete might throw at you.
You will have the ability to start thinking multiple steps ahead. You will start planning your attacks, re attacks and counters just like an expert chess player.
You will be a great teacher of BJJ. You will be able to break down complex techniques and teach them to all Jiu Jitsu students. You will have the ability to take an unathletic white belt who just stepped in from off the street and turn them into a killer purple belt on the mat.
If you want you also have the ability to promote other BJJ students to the rank of purple belt or lower. Brown belts also receive the blessing of their instructors to leave the academy and start their own gym.
How Do You Get A Brown Belt In BJJ Fast?
To get your brown belt fast you can train BJJ 6 days a week. If you train 6 days a week, with each session lasting 2 hours, after 3 years you will have spent almost 1900 hours on the mat, more than enough to receive your brown belt.
Most BJJ students want to get good and improve as quickly as possible. They are sick of being that beginner who gets easily dominated at everyone in the gym. They want to turn themselves into submission hunting beasts who can tap anyone who walks into their academy.
While there are no shortcuts in achieving mastery in BJJ you can rapidly reduce the time it takes you to get your brown belt by simply training a lot.
The average BJJ student trains 3 times a week with each session lasting 1.5 hours. They then typically receive their brown belt after about 8 years. This training volume equates to a total of 1872 hours. This may sound like a lot of hours to dedicate to a hobby but when you start running the calculations this can easily be achievable in a couple of years.
For example you can hit 1872 BJJ mat hours by training 6 days a week, 2 hours each session in just 3 years. While this takes a lot of dedication it is not that difficult especially if you are young in school or single. Many young athletes from a variety of sports train this much.
If you want to be a bit more extreme you could hit 1872 BJJ mats hours in just 2 years if you train 6 days a week with each session lasting 3 hours. This may be quite a bit more difficult to achieve but BJ Penn was able to do it and ended up receiving his black belt in just 3 years.
Your only other option to get a BJJ brown belt in quickly is if you are lucky enough to already be skilled in a similar grappling sport. If you are a black belt in Judo or a high level wrestler you can receive your brown belt in just a few years. This is because of the high cross over between the sports.
A Judo black belt should already be at least at a blue belt level in BJJ with some serious Judokas already having the skills of a brown belt or purple belt. Olympic Judo Silver medalist, Travis Stevens is one example.
Stevens ended up getting his BJJ black belt in just 18 months of training under John Danaher who is notorious for his tough gradings. Before Stevens ever stepped into a BJJ gym it was likely he was already more skilled than many brown belts.