BJJ Belt System
How Many Belts Are There In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu And What does it take to achieve these?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport known for its intricate techniques, emphasis on ground fighting, and a unique system of ranking practitioners through belts. In BJJ, belts symbolise a jiu jitsu practitioner's skill level and experience and are worn along with a BJJ GI, they serve as a tangible measure of one's progression in the art. In this blog post, we will explore how many belts there are in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and what it takes to achieve them.
IBJJF BJJ belt Gradings
Here is the IBJJF graduation system for Brazilian jiu jitsu belts for youth belts through to adult black belts and tenth degree black belt. You can see there is a minimum time for each belt which will discuss in more details in the below paragraphs for each colour of the bjj belt system (blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and black belt)
Compared to other martial arts generally there isn't a grading that takes place to be awarded your brazilian jiu jitsu belts instead it is down to the professor/ coaches recognition of a jiu jitsu practitioners well rounded skills set. A qualified instructor testifies the jiu jitsu practitioner, and grades him or her accordingly. Unlike other martial arts, a skilled instructor attests to the progression and increases the rank based on multiple factors like age, skill, and time.
There are limitations of time, age, and skills that the International brazilian jiu jitsu federation have set out on the belt ranks on the current belt before progressing through the belt system. For example: According to IBJJF, a blue belt must spend at least two years before getting to the next level which is a purple belt.
Hence, the black belt is the highest rank counted based on progression grades. According to IBJJF, only an accredited BJJ 2nd degree black belt can promote a black belt practitioner.
IBJJF adult belt system overview.
International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is acclaimed as an authorised organisation that has set out official requirements of belts in BJJ with the Adults belt system and kids belt system both kept separate in terms of colours meaning a child cannot hold any of the adult belt ranks (blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and black belt)
There are five adult belts Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, and black belt. Following on from the black belt they are then awarded degrees on the black belts, also known as stripes. The highest rank is tenth degree black belt which then becomes a red belt. The bjj practitioner with the 10th-degree red belt are considered as the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (the gracies), also referred to as Grandmaster of the sport.
Adult BJJ Belts
BJJ White Belt
The white belt in BJJ is the first belt for brazilian jiu jitsu students and in most martial arts. During the white belt training period you will start to learn basic offensive moves and defensive positioning. White belt level practitioner can start through beginner courses or join straight into regular classes depending on what each different academy has to offer. White belts typically will spend around 1-2 years at this belt rank before moving on to the next belt which is Blue belt.
BJJ Blue Belt
The blue belt in BJJ is the second adult rank. This jiu jitsu belt is regarded as the intermediate adult ranking belt, there is a minimum age of 16 that one can be promoted to this belt. After spending a good amount of time to achieve this belt the blue belt is distinguished by experimentation and trying out multiple techniques to find what does and doesn't work for the individual.
IBJJF has set a minimum time frame at blue belt level of at least 2 years with most transitioning from Blue belt to Purple belt around 2-5years.
BJJ Purple Belt
The Purple belt in BJJ is the third adult rank. A purple belt level practitioner comes after the blue belt and is another step closer to becoming a brazilian jiu jitsu black belt. Achieving a purple belt is not easy to earn and takes many years of dedication to the martial art. Purple belts are regarded as advanced level within the jiu jitsu world and at this point have an understanding of more advanced techniques. During this belt generally the martial artist starts to develop their own style and can often assist the lower ranked students during training.
IBJJF has set a minimum time frame at purple belt level of at least 18months to move from purple belt to Brown belt. Remember these are minimum time frames and most usually achieve within around 2-5years
BJJ Brown Belt
The brown belt in BJJ is the final coloured belt before achieving the black belt. At this belt you have a grasp of the basics and the advanced techniques and are now refining the skill set. You could be helping instruct lower ranked students and are up there in the academy regarded as one of the very experienced practitioners.
IBJJF has set a minimum time frame the brown belts needs to hold this rank of 12 months but generally the brown belt typically requires longer before achieving the black belt. In brazilian jiu jitsu every professor has a unique set of requirements before handing out the jiu jitsu belt.
BJJ Black Belt
The Black belt in BJJ is a huge achievement and is no easy feat. in fact this means youve likely dedicated over a decade of study to the Brazilian jiu jitsu, worked your way through all of the brazilian jiu jitsu belts to have then achieved this amazing achievement of the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt. Earning the BJJ black belt is no doubt a huge accomplishment but many say that when you earn your black belt your journey starts again or that the journey truly starts to begin.
Being a BJJ black belt not only means you are top of the jiu jitsu ranking system like many other martial arts but you are now entering into your most serious phase of learning. You are a model for other athletes so it is crucial to know how to carry yourself and are generally considered qualified to pass on your knowledge and practical skill.
IBJJF allows the jiu jitsu belt black to register his or her black belt with them which then gives full transparency and means that the athlete is internationally recognised. To receive your approved IBJJF black belt certificate you must have followed all of the correct minimum time frames set out above for the other coloured belts from white belt through to brown belt, have a valid first aid certificate and complete and pass the IBJJF referees training course. This process must then be repeated each time throughout the black belt system to achieve each degree black belt.
How Long Does It Take To Earn a Black Belt In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
It's important to note that belt promotions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are not solely based on time served or the number of techniques learned as mentioned above everyone starts their journey as a white belt dedicating a lot of time into learning the art of Brazilian jiu jitsu before moving onto the next belt. Other factors to take into account are a practitioner's ability to apply techniques effectively, their sportsmanship, and their contributions to the BJJ community.
The time it takes to earn a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt varies widely. It depends on factors like training frequency, age, competition success, and the standards of your BJJ school. Typically, it takes around 10 years or more to go from a white belt to a black belt if you consistently train and compete. Your instructor's evaluation, character, and attitude also play a role in the promotion process. BJJ is a highly individualised journey, and personal goals can influence the timeframe. In the end, patience, dedication, and a passion for the art of BJJ are key to earning a black belt.
Black Belt Degrees
Here you can see the chart for time frames of the black belt gradings and how long it takes to be awarded each degree, also you can see that there is a minimum age for each degree. As you can see moving from the black belt through to coral belt and red belt there is a very long time required from the individual to dedicate themselves to the art.
Kids BJJ Belts
IBJJF Kids belts overview
The international brazilian jiu jitsu federation have created the below belt system for kids to keep them focused on learning the art of brazilian jiu jitsu whilst also progressing through a solid system keeping the belts completly separate from the Adults belts until the child reaches the age of 16years old. At this point they are regarded as Juveniles and move onto the adult belt system, usually the blue belt which we will explain and show how the kids BJJ belt gradings work. Different academies will grade their children slightly different with potentially 4, 8 or 12 stripes on each belt. Within each kids coloured belt there are 3 belts (white stripe, solid colour and black stripe)
Kids BJJ white belt
Same as the adult belt system, kids also start as a BJJ white belt and follow a similar journey. During the white belt period they will learn all of the fundamental movements and techniques. Depending on a childs ability, age and time spent on the mat usually they can spend roughly 1-2 years as white belt.
Kids BJJ Grey Belt
The grey belt is the first belt for kids and signifies their transition from beginners to intermediate practitioners. The first belt they child will earn is the grey/ white belt followed by the solid grey belt before finishing the the grey belts with the grey/ black/belt. All children are promoted differently at different academies but can also receive from 4-12 stripes on each belt also.
Kids BJJ Yellow Belt
Achieving the yellow belt is a significant milestone for children, it is regarded as the Advanced belt. Same as the BJJ Grey belts the child will go through 3 belt colours at this belt. Starting with Yellow/ white belt then solid yellow belt before finishing on Yellow black belt. There is a minimum age of 7 years old before a child can be awarded this belt.
Kids BJJ Orange Belt
The orange belt signifies a higher level of competence in BJJ. This is regarded as high level of childs BJJ belt. Same as the previous kids belts there are 3 colours, Orange/white belt then solid orange belt and then finishing on orange/ black belt. There is a minimum age of 10 years old before a child can be awarded this belt.
Kids BJJ Green Belt
This belt is a symbol of continued growth and maturity in BJJ. At this stage, kids are expected to be highly proficient, technically sound, and have a well-rounded knowledge of the sport this the final stage of the kids belts and also regarded as elite belt colour for kids. This will be the final belts before transitioning onto the adult belts, as previous kids belts there are 3 colours within this belt. Starting on green/white then solid green belt and then finishing on green/black belt. There is a minimum age of 13 years old before a child can be promoted to this belt.
The belt system in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu serves as a roadmap for practitioners to track their progress and growth in the art. Each belt represents a different stage of development, and achieving a black belt is considered a significant accomplishment in the world of martial arts. However, it's crucial to remember that the journey in BJJ is not just about the destination but the learning and self-improvement that happens along the way. Whether you're a white belt just starting or a black belt with years of experience, BJJ is a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, skill, and personal growth.