How to be a good Purple Belt

Being a good purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) involves refining your techniques, developing advanced skills, understanding broader strategies, and contributing positively to your academy’s community. Here’s a comprehensive guide to excelling at the purple belt level:

1. Deepen Technical Proficiency

Advanced Techniques

Escapes and Defenses

  • Advanced Mount Escapes: Technical mount escapes, kipping escapes.
  • Side Control Escapes: Reguard, inverted guard recovery, underhook to single-leg.
  • Submission Defenses: Advanced defenses against arm locks, leg locks, and various chokes.


  • Advanced Chokes: Bow and arrow choke, loop choke, Darce choke.
  • Joint Locks: Omoplata variations, wrist locks, more complex arm and leg submissions.
  • Combination Attacks: Linking submissions together, such as transitioning from triangle to armbar.


  • Guard Sweeps: X-guard sweeps, De La Riva sweeps, reverse De La Riva sweeps.
  • Half Guard Sweeps: Deep half guard sweeps, waiter sweep.

Guard Play

  • Open Guard: Developing complex guard systems like spider guard, lasso guard, and inverted guard.
  • Transitions: Fluidly moving between different guard positions and using them strategically.

Positional Control

  • Top Game: Advanced pressure passing, knee slice variations, smash passing.
  • Back Control: Refining back attacks, grip fighting, maintaining hooks.

Transitional Movements

  • Dynamic Guard Passing: Leg drags, leg weaves, and advanced passing sequences.
  • Advanced Takedowns: Incorporating judo throws, wrestling takedowns, and counters.

Pure Martial Arts & Fitness - Professor Jodey Ingalls & Professor Fraser Jordan

2. Master Broader Concepts and Principles

Strategic Thinking

Positional Hierarchy

  • Positional Flow: Understanding and executing the flow between positions for control and attacks.
  • Transitioning: Mastering the ability to move seamlessly from one position to another based on opponent reactions.

Attacking Principles

  • Breaking Alignment: Using off-balancing and leverage to set up submissions and sweeps.
  • Attack Chains: Developing and implementing sequences of attacks to overwhelm opponents.

Pressure and Control

Top Pressure

  • Smash Passing: Using body weight effectively to control and pass guard.
  • Pressure Control: Applying consistent pressure from top positions to tire and dominate opponents.

Timing and Rhythm

  • Tempo Control: Dictating the pace of the match or roll to suit your strategy.
  • Exploit Openings: Recognizing and exploiting brief windows of opportunity for attacks or escapes. 

3. Refine and Expand Your Game

Game Plan Development

Personal Style

  • Identify Strengths: Focus on refining techniques and strategies that align with your strengths.
  • Address Weaknesses: Continuously work on areas of weakness and integrate them into your game.


  • Adjust to Opponents: Develop the ability to adapt your strategy based on different opponents and scenarios.
  • Versatility: Be comfortable with both offensive and defensive positions, including both top and bottom games.

Drilling and Sparring

Positional Drilling

  • Situational Drills: Practice specific scenarios to improve reactions and solutions for common problems.
  • Isolation Sparring: Focus on sparring from specific positions or working on particular techniques.

Live Sparring

  • Controlled Sparring: Use live sparring sessions to test and refine your techniques under resistance.
  • Flow Rolling: Engage in lighter sparring to explore and experiment with new techniques and strategies. 

4. Contribute to the Academy Community

Mentoring and Teaching

Help Lower Belts

  • Assist with Drills: Help white and blue belts with their techniques during drills.
  • Provide Guidance: Offer advice and share experiences to help others improve.

Lead by Example

  • Positive Attitude: Show respect and humility, demonstrating the values of BJJ.
  • Engagement: Participate actively in classes, seminars, and open mats.

Respect and Etiquette

Supportive Role

  • Encourage Training Partners: Provide positive feedback and encouragement.
  • Respect Higher Belts: Continue to seek advice and respect the hierarchy of the academy.

Maintain Standards

  • Gi and Hygiene: Keep a clean gi and maintain personal hygiene.
  • Punctuality: Be on time and fully participate in classes. 

5. Continuous Learning and Adaptation


Reflect on Progress

  • Training Journal: Keep track of techniques, experiences, and areas for improvement.
  • Set Goals: Regularly set and review short-term and long-term goals.

Adapt Techniques

  • Refine Techniques: Continuously refine and adjust techniques based on effectiveness and feedback.
  • Learn New Techniques: Stay updated with new trends and techniques in BJJ.

Study and Research

Instructional Material

  • Videos and Books: Study instructional videos, matches, and books to broaden your understanding.
  • Seminars: Attend seminars and workshops to learn from different instructors and styles.

Competition Experience

  • Participate in Competitions: Compete to test your skills under pressure and gain practical experience.
  • Analyze Matches: Watch and analyze both your own matches and those of high-level competitors. 

6. Physical Conditioning and Injury Prevention

Strength and Flexibility


  • Strength Training: Incorporate a strength training routine to support your BJJ performance.
  • Flexibility Exercises: Regularly stretch to maintain and improve flexibility.

Cardio and Endurance

  • Cardiovascular Training: Maintain a good level of cardio fitness to handle intense training sessions.
  • Grappling-Specific Conditioning: Engage in drills and exercises that mimic the demands of grappling.

Injury Prevention

Proper Warm-Up

  • Dynamic Warm-Ups: Use dynamic warm-ups to prepare your body for training.
  • Cooldowns: Cool down after training to aid recovery and prevent injuries.

Safe Training Practices

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to signs of fatigue or injury and adjust training accordingly.
  • Proper Technique: Focus on executing techniques correctly to avoid injuries. 

Final Thoughts

Being a good purple belt in BJJ involves advancing your technical skills, understanding complex concepts, developing a personal game plan, and contributing positively to your academy. Focus on refining techniques, strategic thinking, and continuous learning. Balance your development with a supportive role in your training community and maintain a commitment to both physical conditioning and respectful behavior. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only improve your BJJ skills but also set a strong example for others in your academy.

Contact Professor Jodey Ingalls if you have any questions or would like to know more.

Pure Martial Arts & Fitness - Professor Jodey Ingalls

Pure Martial Arts & Fitness – Professor Jodey Ingalls