BJJ 101:

The white-Blue Belt Curriculum

What is a Blue Belt

A blue belt is a significant milestone. It means you are a base level Jiu-Jitsu player. To me, this means you are competent in all basic situations and can apply your skills on the feet, on the ground and on the street.

Becoming a blue belt is no easy feat, not only because of the effort, focus and hard work required but because there are very few good roadmaps for getting there.

As a student coming up in Jiu-Jitsu, particularly given my unstructured BJJ upbringing, I always craved a complete, structured guide from white to black belt – and all the steps along the way.

To try to find something like it, I sought out and studied the curricula of every highly regarded black belt I could get my hands on to try to see what they considered fundamental – and what basics I was missing.

With every curriculum I studied, I’d pick up a new detail, variation or wholly different way of doing things, but no one had everything. Most Blue Belt curricula, if they exist at all, contain 50-120 techniques.

Can you be a Blue Belt only knowing 50-120 techniques?

Absolutely. But you would be missing a lot. A lot of basics.

You would roughly be ok in most basic situations – you could escape side control and mount, and hold your own from the guard and back. But would you know what to do in side control when the person turns their hips? Would you have the right answer for what to do to recover when you start losing back control? Would you know how to escape all basic headlock situations?

Instead of thinking about numbers of techniques, let’s think about someone who knew all the blue belt techniques.

What are “Blue Belt Techniques”?

Some techniques you probably shouldn’t learn until you’re a blue or purple belt because they require a foundation on which to build. But there are probably some situations that you don’t have to be a purple belt in order to learn.

Blue Belt techniques would describe techniques that deal with (White To)Blue Belt situations.

What are those situations?

Well, the BJJ Primer outlines 4 basic positions:

Side Control
The Back

A Complete Blue Belt Curriculum

Theoretically, a quality blue belt would know how to handle all basic situations in each of those positions. Rather than numbers of techniques, we want to have skills. We want to be able to escape, not just know an escape.

But not just escape. There are 5 skills they should have from each of those positions:


They should be as ready for both self-defence and competitive rolling and they should be able to take people down and stop takedowns, themselves.

BJJ Black Belt World Champion and multiple time UFC champion BJ Penn once described meeting legendary BJJ pioneer Rigan Machado in this way – “there are black belts and then there are black belts.” Comparing himself, “You can be a “blue belt black belt” or a “black belt black belt” – a new black belt like himself compared with a legend of the art.”

If there can be a blue belt black belt, can there be a black belt blue belt?

The Black Belt Blue Belt

Most blue belts do have the majority of the above skills – in some places. They may know how to posture in someone’s closed guard, but keep leaving space for underhooks underneath mount. They may be able to escape side control, but not the back. They may feel they can sweep, pass the guard and control everywhere on top – except the mount.

They are incomplete. They are a blue or purple belt blue belt. They know many blue belt techniques and they can roll like a blue belt – but there are lots of areas where they are still white belts.

A black belt blue belt is someone who may not be super advanced yet, but is complete. They know what to do – and can execute the right technique for every blue belt situation.

Information Overload!

To cover all that material, someone would need to not know just 120 techniques, but closer to 420! How do you possibly teach 400-500 techniques in the typical 3 techniques per class format? As a student, how do you learn and retain that much?

Enter: Sequence-Based Learning

Problem solved. Chunking information makes it easier to retain. If I teach you a takedown, I’ve taught you one thing and you’ve learned one technique. But if I teach you a takedown into a guard pass into a submission, I’ve taught you one thing – the story of the takedown, guard pass and submission – but you learned three techniques.

Sequences or gameplans allow us to learn faster.

High quality blue belt basics – something all belts should have – is not rocket science, though it is a lot of work and a lot of information.

The BJJ101 White-Blue Belt curriculum is a real revolution in Jiu-Jitsu education and offers a complete, fun, powerful and easy to follow world class curriculum to take you from an absolute beginner to a blue belt of very high standard.

And if you’re already a blue or purple (or even brown or black) belt and you feel like your basics could improve or get smoothed out, The Curriculum is designed to plug your fundamental holes.

Learn high-quality Jiu-Jitsu that includes
Self Defence (Extensively)
​Attacks and
​From every position​, taught in an innovative new easy to remember format.

What does it cover?

To make learning and remembering easy, the BJJ101 Blue Belt Curriculum teaches sets of skills through 16 different lessons, each focused on a few sets of skills.

By chunking techniques into sequences and sets of sequences into lessons, the BJJ101 Blue Belt Curriculum doesn’t just teach techniques, it builds skillsets.

The 16 skillsets are:
1. Preventing Anyone From Holding You Down On The Ground
2. Preventing Punches From The Bottom
3. Escaping Mount 101, Passing Closed Guard, Mounting from Side and Finishing From Mount
4. Escaping Mount 102 and Triangling and Omo Plata-ing From The Overhook From
5. Escaping Side Control, Attacking From Closed Guard and The Back
6. Defending From Our Back Against A Standing Opponent
7. Pulling Guard To Crab Grab, Sweeping, Passing and Attacking From Side & Back
8. Escaping The Back, Preventing The Mount and Attacking With The Lat Grip
9. Sweeping and Submitting From The Closed Guard
10. How To Defeat A Bigger, Faster, Stronger Opponent – The Core Strategy of Jiu-Jitsu
11. Taking, Keeping And Finishing From The Back
12. Escaping Headlocks
13. Becoming Ungrabbable
14. Taking People Down, Bypassing Their Guards, Controlling and Submitting Them
15. Breaking Grips, Taking People Down With The Gi and Finishing With The Gi From The Mount
16. Pulling Guard, Finishing While Pulling and Finishing From The Bottom Using The Gi

There is an incredible amount of information here.

The White-Blue Belt Curriculum

Together, they paint a complete picture of the four basic ground positions covered in the BJJ Primer:

The Back
The Mount
Side Control and
The Guard

It will give you competence in takedowns – gi and no gi – and develop sport-ready offence without compromising a foundation of high-quality self-defence.

How does it work?

The 16 skillsets are taught over 8 weeks, two lessons per week. Each skillset contains 6 sequences (for a total of 96 numbered sequences), each containing multiple techniques.

This allows us to learn all of the basic variations of a technique, ensuring we have that complete understanding and ability to apply.

Twice per week, you unlock a new skillset, receive an email explaining it including a checklist outlining the techniques in each sequence, video tutorial and mindmaps to help you better understand, remember and develop competence.

Each sequence covers 3-6 techniques. This format allows us to cover a massive amount of material while remaining easy to remember.

Most blue belt curricula include 50-120 techniques. The BJJ101 White-Blue Belt Curriculum contains more than 300 techniques taught over 96 sequences – and is easy and fun to learn.