Demi Lovato is a multi-talented American singer, songwriter, and actress who rose to fame as a child star on the Disney Channel. She has since transitioned into a successful music career with hit songs like “Skyscraper,” “Heart Attack,” and “Sorry Not Sorry.”
Lovato is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and holds a blue belt in BJJ. She has been vocal about how training in jiu-jitsu has benefited her life and helped her on her recovery journey.
In this article, we will take a closer look at Demi Lovato’s martial arts background, her belt progression in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and the impact BJJ has had on her life.
Demi Lovato’s Martial Arts Background
Demi Lovato first became interested in martial arts as a teenager. She started training in MMA (mixed martial arts) when she was around 15 years old.
Lovato has said that martial arts training gave her a positive outlet and helped her deal with bullying and other issues she faced as a young star. It built up her physical and mental strength.
She continued to train recreationally into adulthood, dabbling in various styles like kickboxing and Krav Maga.
In 2016, at age 24, Lovato began training more seriously in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Unbreakable Performance Center in Los Angeles. She was awarded her blue belt in 2017 by her professor, World Champion Jay Pages.
Training with Jay Pages
Jay Pages is a 3rd degree black belt in BJJ under the legendary Rigan Machado. He is an accomplished competitor who has won many major tournaments around the world.
Pages owns and operates the Unbreakable Performance Center (UPC), which specializes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, MMA, and strength and conditioning programs.
Demi Lovato became dedicated to training under Professor Pages. She has trained consistently at UPC for several years now, with Pages guiding her jiu-jitsu journey.
Lovato credits Pages with helping her fall in love with BJJ and teaching her invaluable lessons on and off the mats. Their teacher-student relationship has developed into a close friendship and mentorship.
Demi Lovato’s Belt Progression
All Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners start at white belt when they begin training. From there, they progress through the belt system by demonstrating technical proficiency and time spent training. It typically takes many years to advance through each colored belt.
Lovato was awarded her white belt shortly after beginning to train under Jay Pages in 2016.
The white belt represents a beginner student. At this stage, BJJ students are focused on learning basic positions, movements, and submissions.
As a white belt, Lovato learned fundamentals like the guard position, proper hip movement, and basic chokes and joint locks. She also started live sparring called ‘rolling’ with partners.
After around a year of consistent training as a white belt, Demi Lovato was promoted to blue belt in 2017.
The blue belt signifies an advanced beginner in BJJ. At this level, students have a firm grasp on the basics and can start applying techniques in live grappling. Their game becomes more well-rounded.
Lovato showed constant progression during her white belt days and proved herself ready for the next challenge. As a blue belt, she has worked on refining her technique and developing her personal style.
She is still currently a blue belt as of 2023. It usually takes practitioners several years at each colored belt before progressing to the next.
Here is the typical progression in BJJ, which Lovato will continue to work through over the coming years:
– Purple Belt – intermediate student with well-developed techniques
– Brown Belt – advanced student and instructor who has mastered advanced positions
– Black Belt – expert-level practitioner and professor; lofty achievement in BJJ
It will likely take Lovato at least 2-4 years at blue belt before being eligible for a promotion to purple belt. She will need to demonstrate technical mastery, win tournaments, and serve as a role model.
Under the guidance of Professor Pages, Lovato will continue to set goals and make progress along her BJJ journey. She has many great years ahead to advance through the belts.
The Impact of BJJ on Demi’s Life
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has had an extremely positive influence on Demi Lovato’s life over the past several years. Here are some of the key benefits Lovato has cited:
Recovery and Sobriety
Lovato has been open about her struggles with mental health, disordered eating, and addiction. At various low points, martial arts served as an important lifeline.
BJJ gave Lovato a healthy regimen and community that supported her recovery and journey to sobriety. The mental discipline and lifestyle required in BJJ help keep her on track.
Confidence and Empowerment
Learning practical self-defense through BJJ has made Lovato feel more confident and self-assured.
As a sexual assault survivor, knowing she can defend herself and protect others empowers her greatly. Lovato has become a role model for how BJJ can be empowering for women.
Grappling is an intense full-body workout. The training has helped Lovato get into the best shape of her life.
She has embraced the challenge of improving her strength, flexibility, and endurance. BJJ provides a motivation to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
The singular focus required during training serves as a form of moving meditation for Lovato.
Rolling allows her to relieve stress and anxiety by being fully in the present moment. The mental clarity after training is rejuvenating.
Lovato’s competitive side is fulfilled through BJJ training and tournaments.
She loves the rush of adrenaline when grappling and testing her skills against partners. BJJ provides a fun, recreational competition without the pressure of her music career.
Community and Friendship
The positive social environment at UPC has become like a second family for Demi.
Her teammates and coaches provide friendship, accountability, and unconditional support on and off the mats.
Lovato always feels at home at the gym, which has become her “happy place.” Her relationship with Professor Jay Pages goes far beyond BJJ.
Demi Lovato’s Advice on Starting BJJ
Based on her experience starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult, Demi Lovato has shared the following advice for those considering training:
Just go for it
Don’t overthink it or come up with excuses. Take the plunge and sign up for your first class. Once you get your first training session out of the way, it will get easier. The hardest part is showing up the first time.
Check your ego
Everyone starts at zero when they walk through the gym doors. Leave any ego or assumptions at the door and be open-minded to learning. No matter your size, strength or background, you will get tapped out as a beginner. That’s part of the journey.
Be patient with yourself
Progress in BJJ takes years. Small incremental gains add up over time. Don’t get frustrated by plateauing. Embrace the highs and lows as part of the process. Enjoy the training above all.
Tap early and often
Tapping means you submit and end the grappling exchange. Don’t be stubborn about holding out in bad spots. Tap frequently as you learn. The most important thing is longevity in your BJJ journey.
The social camaraderie in BJJ is amazing. Make friends with your teammates and learn from a variety of partners. Support and cheer for each other. Bond over the shared struggle.
|BJJ Experience Level
Demi Lovato currently holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Professor Jay Pages. She was awarded her blue belt in 2017 after around a year of training as a white belt.
Lovato is still early on in her BJJ journey and has many years ahead training towards her purple, brown, and black belts. She has embraced the positive lifestyle and lessons that training in jiu-jitsu provides.
BJJ has had a profoundly empowering impact on Demi’s life. It has supported her recovery, improved her physical and mental health, and given her confidence. She loves being part of the close-knit community at her gym.
Under the guidance of her mentor Jay Pages, Lovato continues to set new goals and progress along her BJJ path. She serves as an inspiration to many about the transformative power of martial arts.