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The Belt system in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on ground fighting and grappling techniques. Like many traditional martial arts, BJJ utilizes a belt system to signify a practitioner's level of proficiency and mastery. The belt system in BJJ consists of several ranks, each represented by a different colored belt. Promotion through the ranks typically requires a combination of technical skill, knowledge, time invested in training, and demonstration of the core principles of the art. Below, I'll outline the general grading system for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, from white belt to black belt, including the criteria for promotion and the significance of each belt rank.

1. White Belt (No Belt Stripes):

  • The white belt is the starting rank in BJJ, signifying a beginner practitioner with little to no experience.

  • Students at this level focus on learning fundamental techniques, positions, and principles of BJJ.

  • Promotion to the next belt rank usually requires a demonstration of basic techniques, understanding of core concepts, and regular attendance at classes.

2. Blue Belt (Four Belt Stripes):

  • The blue belt is the first significant milestone in BJJ and indicates a more proficient understanding of the art.

  • Blue belts have a solid grasp of fundamental techniques and are beginning to develop their own game and style.

  • Promotion to blue belt typically requires consistent training, proficiency in fundamental techniques, and demonstration of mat awareness and control.

3. Purple Belt (Four Belt Stripes):

  • Purple belt represents an intermediate level of skill in BJJ, where practitioners start to develop more advanced techniques and strategies.

  • Purple belts have a deeper understanding of positions, transitions, and submissions, and can effectively apply them during sparring.

  • Promotion to purple belt requires a significant investment in training, consistent performance in competition, and the ability to demonstrate a deeper understanding of BJJ principles.

4. Brown Belt (Four Belt Stripes):

  • Brown belt signifies an advanced level of proficiency in BJJ, where practitioners have a comprehensive understanding of the art.

  • Brown belts have refined their techniques, developed their own unique style, and are capable of teaching and mentoring lower-ranked students.

  • Promotion to brown belt is a significant achievement and requires years of dedicated training, consistent competition performance, and the ability to effectively convey BJJ knowledge to others.

5. Black Belt (No Belt Stripes):

  • The black belt is the highest attainable rank in BJJ, representing mastery and expertise in the art.

  • Black belts have a deep understanding of BJJ theory, technique, and strategy, as well as significant experience in teaching and coaching.

  • Promotion to black belt is a monumental accomplishment and signifies a lifelong commitment to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

  • After receiving the black belt, practitioners continue to evolve their skills, contribute to the BJJ community, and may pursue further ranks such as coral belt and red belt in their later years.

Promotion Criteria:

  • Promotion in BJJ is typically determined by the instructor, who evaluates a student's technical proficiency, knowledge, character, and contributions to the academy.

  • Factors considered for promotion include attendance, skill level, competition performance (if applicable), attitude, and commitment to the art.

  • While there are general guidelines for each belt rank, promotion criteria may vary between academies and instructors, reflecting the diverse approaches and philosophies within the BJJ community.

  • It's important to note that belt promotions are not solely based on time spent training but rather on a combination of skill, knowledge, and personal development.


  • The belt system in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu serves as a roadmap for students to track their progress, set goals, and measure their advancement in the art.

  • Each belt rank represents a different stage in the journey of learning BJJ, from the beginner stages of white belt to the advanced levels of black belt and beyond.

  • Promotion through the ranks requires dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

  • Ultimately, the belt system in BJJ is not just about achieving higher ranks but about personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of excellence in the martial arts.

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