Purple Belt Requirements

The Harris International Purple Belt Examination is a skills oriented test. This test focuses on two areas:

1. The use of combinations.
2. The use of momentum.

These two areas are what distinguish a purple belt from a blue belt. Allow me to explain the subtle differences between the two:

1. Blue belts have a certain amount of technical proficiency. However, when it comes to the performance of technique, blue belts tend to use speed and power to effect their techniques – and that’s OK for their skill level.

Also, the blue belt mindset goes something like this, “If I tried to perform a specific technique once and it didn’t work, all I have to do is try the same technique a second time – only this time I will try much harder. My use of power and explosiveness should make the technique work.” While this can be an effective way to perform one’s techniques (at their current skill level), it is not a very efficient way of doing it.

2. Purple belts should also have technical proficiency. However, they also need to have a certain amount “savvy.” What is this savvy? Well, a purple belt should have the knowledge, training and experience to know when one technique is not working, that the more efficient course of action would be to change to a more “appropriate” technique – rather than to just try the same technique a second and third time with more force.

3. Additionally, purple belts should have a rudimentary knowledge and skill level for using momentum to their advantage. Momentum represents a student’s ability to simultaneously (A) remain “aware” of what they are doing, (B) remain aware of what their training partner is doing, and (C) be able to follow the energy / pressure provided by their training partner.

Generally, blue belts tend to have “blinders” on. Because of the focus of their training and the lack of experience, many are blind to awareness and timing – and that’s OK. Everyone has to crawl before they can stand before they can walk and before they can run.

Purple belts, on the other hand, must be more aware of all that is going on. They should also be able to respond “more appropriately” to a given pressure – because of their knowledge, training and experience.

Below are eighty-six (86) combinations you should train extensively (six to ten months) before you take your “purple belt evaluation” lesson. Here’s what you should be focusing on while practicing these combinations:

1. Fluidity throughout the entire combination. No jerky movements.
2. Smoothness throughout the transition. No explosive movements.
3. A semi-relaxed trunk, limbs and mindset.

Here are the combinations:

I. Two technique combinations from the bottom of the mount position:

Bridge and roll escape to guard pass under leg
Bridge and roll escape to guard pass over leg, near leg
Bridge and roll escape to guard pass over leg, far leg
Bridge and roll escape to guard pass around the leg
Bridge and roll escape to straight foot lock
Bridge and roll escape to heel hook
Bridge and roll escape to knee bar
Elbow / knee escape to elevator sweep
Elbow / knee escape to scissors sweep
Elbow / knee escape to scissors sweep with knee push
Elbow / knee escape to knee sweep
Elbow / knee escape to Kimura
Elbow / knee escape to guillotine choke
Elbow / knee escape to triangle choke with legs
Elbow / knee escape to triangle choke with arms
Elbow / knee escape to take the back

II. Two technique combinations from the bottom of the guard position:

Elevator sweep to mount control #1
Elevator sweep to mount control #2
Elevator sweep to side mount hold down #2
Elevator sweep to scarf hold #2
Elevator sweep to scarf hold #3
Elevator sweep to reverse elevator sweep
Hip bump to mount control #1
Hip bump to mount control #2
Hip bump to Kimura
Hip bump to telephone arm lock
Hip bump to guillotine choke
Scissors sweep to knee sweep
Scissors sweep to Americana
Scissors sweep to straight arm lock against belly
Scissors sweep to Kimura
Kimura to hip bump
Kimura to guillotine choke
Kimura to triangle choke with legs
Kimura to spinning arm lock
Triangle choke with legs to kimura
Triangle choke with legs to spinning arm lock
Triangle choke with legs to sweep
Spinning arm lock to triangle
Spinning arm lock to Kimura
Spinning arm lock to omo plata

II. Two technique combinations from the top of the guard position:

Guard pass under the leg to hold down #2
Guard pass under the leg to scarf hold #2
Guard pass under the leg to scarf hold #3
Guard pass under the leg to reverse scarf hold #1
Guard pass under the leg to north / south hold #1
Guard pass under the leg to north / south hold #2
Guard pass under the leg to Kimura
Guard pass under the leg to Americana
Guard pass over the leg to hold down #2
Guard pass over the leg to scarf hold #2
Guard pass over the leg to scarf hold #3
Guard pass over the leg to reverse scarf hold #1
Guard pass over the leg to north / south hold #1
Guard pass over the leg to north / south hold #2
Guard pass over the leg to Kimura
Guard pass over the leg to Americana
Guard pass over the leg to knee bar
Guard pass around the leg to hold down #2
Guard pass around the leg to scarf hold #2
Guard pass around the leg to scarf hold #3
Guard pass around the leg to reverse scarf hold #1
Guard pass around the leg to north / south hold #1
Guard pass around the leg to north / south hold #2
Guard pass around the leg to Kimura
Guard pass around the leg to Americana

III. Two technique combinations from the bottom of the side mount (100 kilos) position:

Replace guard escape to scissors sweep
Replace guard escape to scissors sweep with knee push
Replace guard escape to knee sweep
Replace guard escape to reverse knee sweep
Replace guard escape to elevator sweep
Replace guard escape to reverse elevator sweep
Replace guard escape to heel grab sweep
Replace guard escape to Kimura
Replace guard escape to guillotine choke
Replace guard escape to hip bump
Replace guard escape to take the back
Go to the knees escape to double leg takedown left
Go to the knees escape to double leg takedown right
Go to the knees escape to elevator sweep
Go to the knees escape to reverse elevator sweep
Go to the knees escape to go to the back
Bridge and roll escape to knee on belly
Bridge and roll escape to mount
Bridge and roll escape to triangle choke with arms
Bridge and roll escape to Kimura
Bridge and roll escape to Americana

If you do not know the techniques listed above, please take a private lesson to learn them. If you do not know the combination, please take a private lesson to learn them.

A handful of things to remember about the Harris International Purple Belt Examination:

1. Students should bring a minimum of three training partners with them to assist them during the examination.
2. Students must wear a full gi (pants, belt and jacket) during the examination.
3. If accompanied by your coach, the coach should know and bring a purple belt in your size.
4. If you train directly with me, let me know ahead of time what your belt size is, or that you plan to bring your own.
5. The cost of the examination is $100.
6. Total test time is around 75-100 minutes.

Should you have any “procedural” questions, please feel free to ask.

Here is a video of me talking with a group of instructors in Norway about preparing for the purple belt exam:

 

Thank you for your time and interest,

Roy Harris