At Blue Springs Jiu-Jitsu, we use a structured curriculum that makes it easy for our students to follow. We’ve broken down all of the techniques we teach into six positional sections: Mount, Side Control, Closed Guard, Open Guard, Back Control and Leg Locks, as shown below. As this positional cycle progresses, we focus on various aspects of each position, including: escaping tactics, control strategies, submission attacks, counters to submissions, and various others that are specific to each position. As the students attend both the fundamentals and advanced classes, they will follow this structure, which will assist the student in compartmentalizing the 500+ techniques that exist in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Descriptions of Fundamentals Class and the Advanced Class are provided in the next section, describing the differences in how they are taught and what the student is expected to gain from each.
The Belt Promotion Process
The promotion process at Blue Springs Jiu-Jitsu is based on both a minimum number of regularly attended classes, as well as the student’s technical aptitude and sparring applicability. You will not be promoted simply based on attendance, however this is used as a guideline to promote regular attendance and encourage students to be dedicated to their training.
White Belt to Blue Belt – The path from white belt to blue belt is a time when your mind develops a structure to your jiu-jitsu knowledge and technical foundation, and is a very important step in the process as you eventually work your way through the Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt system. The first two stripes of white belt are rewarded based on your attendance of the Fundamentals Class, and is tracked using a physical attendance card, as shown below. Each time you attend one of the Fundamentals Classes, the instructor will mark the corresponding box for that particular lesson. When you’ve completed the 26 lessons once, you will receive the 1st stripe on your white belt. Complete the cycle again and you will receive your 2nd stripe.
Blue Belt to Black Belt
The path from blue belt to black belt is a continuation of the belt qualification process used for the blue belt. There is the same attendance requirement for each stripe and the next belt qualification, as well as a belt test to be perfected, and an evaluation of the student’s technical aptitude and sparring applicability as their level progresses.
The Fundamentals Class is used to ensure that new students are exposed to techniques that are required to know for the eventual blue belt evaluation process. The class is broken down into 26 lessons, which equates to 1 lesson per week and lasting 6 months. After 6 months, the lessons start back over and will be cycled again. Every lesson is pre-planned to make it easy for the students to know what is expected at each class, and for easy review once the lesson is completed. The Fundamentals Class starts back with Lesson 1 at the beginning of every January and the beginning of every July. The structure of the Fundamentals Class follows a sequential focus of five of the six positional sections described previously, excluding leg locks. The Leg Lock section is not included because attacks to the legs are often not allowed in competition at the white belt level, which is for the reason of safety from injury. Beginning with the Mount position, there will be class focused on escapes, controls, submissions and submission counters. Next is Side Control, which also focuses on the same positional sub-sections. Working through these, as well as Closed Guard, Open Guard and Back Control, the student will gain a breadth of knowledge in the quickest way.
The positional focus in the Advanced Class will progress linearly through each position, as shown above. The Mount and Side Control sections will each focus on four positional sub-sections: escapes, controls, submissions and submission counters. Also within the Side Control section, we will teach aspects of the knee on stomach position, as well as the north/south position, as they are specific positional components of side control. The Closed Guard section will first focus on sweeps, then passes, followed by submissions and finally submission counters. When the Open Guard section is reached, the first of the open guards will be half guard. Within half guard, there will be a focus on top half guard, followed by a focus on bottom half guard. This is because from the top, you can both pass the half guard and take the back, and from the bottom, you can either sweep or take the back. From there, the remaining open guards will each have their own respective two-week focus, with sweeps, passes and submission options being taught. The “hybrid guards” sub-section refers to anything that combines strategies from multiple open guards. For example, knee shield half guard, butterfly half guard, single leg X-guard, reverse DLR guard, spider DLR guard, and various others that can exist. The Open Guard section will take several weeks to complete. The Back Control section is next and will focus on escapes, submissions and submission counters, as well as the turtle and crucifix positions that are common transitional aspects of back control. The sixth and final section of the cycle are Leg Locks. The positional sub-sections of Leg Locks include the four primary categories of leg entanglement positions: straight ankle locks, toe hold foot locks, knee locks and heel hooks. Each of these sub-sections will cover both attack and defense strategies for the various types of leg locks.