Can You Get A BJJ Black Belt Without Competing?

In recent years, Jiu-Jitsu competitions have taken the spotlight. Consequently, many practitioners focus on competing nowadays. But can you get a BJJ black belt without competing? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. 

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that can be learned and practiced without ever competing. Though competition certainly has its benefits, it is by no means a prerequisite for mastering the art.

Let’s dive deeper into why it is possible to reach the black belt level without competing.

In General, Is It Possible To Get a Belt Promotion Without Competing?

Can You Get A BJJ Black Belt Without Competing?

Getting promoted in BJJ is different from any other martial art, as things are more subjective.

The black belt instructor decides how much you have to improve for each belt stripe or full promotion, and every instructor has their parameters.

Some do tests, others pay attention to improvement during the classes and rolling, while others focus on competition as a parameter.

Some instructors are strict and want the practitioner to be proficient and display a certain skill level in their game; others focus on knowledge and understanding of BJJ over how effectively they compete.

You should know that competition is not a requirement to be promoted. However, showcasing the improvement of your skills in competition would definitely boost your chances of getting promoted by your instructor.

What Do some Instructors Focus On To promote Their students?

There is no book on how and when to promote someone in BJJ, so each instructor can focus on what they find the most important according to their students’ belt level.


Some instructors focus on their students showing up to training regularly.

This is usually one factor that most instructors consider on the white belt, as they will always be learning new things during class.

Thanks to that, one easy way to know who is learning more is by noticing who attends all the classes, as it would mean that the practitioner is going through the most techniques and moves.

This detail is not as important on the higher belts, but I guess that missing out on four days of class a week will not be a good idea for a purple belt looking to reach the brown belt, right?

Technical prowess

Another place to invest a lot of interest is in technical prowess. This means they focus on noticing if the student shows ample knowledge of techniques and can execute them properly, both during drills and rolling.

You can notice instructors who focus on this, as they will keep their eyes pretty open during technique training to acknowledge who can understand and apply new techniques with ease.

The character of the student

Some professors consider a student’s character. Your tenacity and ability to endure the learning process separate future black belts from those who eventually plateau at their belt level. 

Some signs of good character on the mat include:

  • Keeping the ego in check during class.
  • Tap whenever necessary, no matter who got you.
  • Prioritizing technique over pure strength during rolls.
  • Spending time reflecting and working on mistakes.
  • Drilling before and after class. 
  • Constantly work towards improving their skills.

Competition and Sparring Performance

Every practitioner will agree that sparring is one of the central tenets of Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ is one of few martial arts that regularly encourages sparring to improve your technique

A student can test himself against someone with each spar, sometimes being of the same rank or higher. 

When considering which students are eligible for a promotion, a professor might look at how a student performs during their rolling sessions. 

If students can submit and out-skill their peers constantly, they are more likely to get promoted, especially if they can handle or best those at a higher rank.

Competition is not a necessity for promotion at any level, but there will always be some professors who assess their students according to how well they perform during tournaments. 

If a student does better than other practitioners of the same rank from other schools, they are more likely to be eligible for a promotion by their professor.

Can You Get A BJJ Black Belt Without Competing?

training bjj with umbilical hernia

Once again, we have to mention how competition is a way to boost your progress. The competition allows you to test your Jiu-Jitsu level against other practitioners from different academies.

You can become a Black Belt just from training, improving, and rolling outside competitions.

If you keep going forward, you will eventually get the technical level and skill required to achieve that Black Belt. 

You can test yourself against other practitioners by visiting other academies to see how effective you are on the ground.

Jiu-Jitsu is as mental as it is physical, so there is a lot to cover and understand on the path to the black belt.

Some instructors focus on competition to see how much their students have advanced and how well they perform against others they do not train with every day.

Why Is Competition Important To Reach Black Belt Level In BJJ?

Competition has become essential for many instructors and practitioners because it can showcase how good they can be in BJJ under pressure. It allows the instructors to see their students’ improvement easily.

Recently, competition has shown that the top competitors on colored belts are just as good as some black belts, and it has been a shocking revelation for many.

Some instructors will push their brown belts to compete to see how well they do outside of their academies, as they shouldn’t be having too much opposition from their lower belt teammates.

An Argument For Getting A Bjj Black Belt Without Competing 

Many people will critique any practitioner who doesn’t compete until they roll together. But, the only difference between a practitioner who competes and one who doesn’t is that they travel and spend money on entering the tournament.

A Brown belt who doesn’t compete can be as good as a top-level brown belt competitor. It is just that one of them hasn’t tested just how good he is in a tournament.

Do not underestimate a practitioner just because he doesn’t compete, as the belt does not mean that they compete or not. It means that they have achieved the level according to their instructor.

There will always be a level disparity in all belts, as the instructors have their methods to promote students, which means that some will be more strict on who they award with a new rank.

Getting A BJJ Black Belt Without Competing Final Thoughts 

You can be sure that your belt rank only depends on your progress and development in the discipline, so you do not have to worry about competing to achieve the black belt.

However, we encourage you to take the opportunity to compete if you have the chance, as it will be an excellent time to test your Jiu-Jitsu and take a look at what others are doing on your same belt level and how effective some techniques are.

Competition shows just how much room there is to grow, and it’s an excellent opportunity to meet new people from different gyms, make some new friends, and learn about new academies you can visit later.

It is always worth the time to compete and prove yourself and meet other teams, instructors, and event promoters. Get to know more members of the Jiu-Jitsu community and develop friendly rivalries or bonds.

If you enjoyed this article, take the time to share it with your teammates, and take the time to consider if competing will be a good opportunity for you or not.

I hope you enjoy your mat time and maybe I’ll get the chance to see you in the competition soon enough.

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