Jiu Jitsu, a martial art originating from Japan, has become increasingly popular in recent years. The sport not only provides physical training but also promotes mental and spiritual development. In order to progress in the sport, one must undergo various belt promotions.
The Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system is used to measure the practitioner’s level of skill and understanding of the techniques and principles of Jiu-Jitsu. In this article, we will be exploring the different belt classifications in Jiu-Jitsu, the criteria for ranking, and the differences between the kids’ and adult belt ranking systems.
Jiu Jitsu, its History and the belt system
Jiu Jitsu is a martial art from Japan popularised in Brazil as BJJ. BJJ focuses on grappling and submissions, while traditional Jiu Jitsu includes strikes and weapons. BJJ has a ranking system, starting from white and advancing to black for students 16 and older, based on skill level. Traditional Jiu Jitsu also has similar ranks, but may vary in requirements. BJJ has gained popularity due to its success in MMA and ground fighting techniques. Both styles offer a great workout, improve health, and foster a sense of community. The choice between traditional and BJJ depends on personal preference and goals.
Understanding the Belt Classifications of Jiu Jitsu.
There are six main belt ranks in Jiu Jitsu:
Let’s take a closer look at each rank:
The white belt is the beginning rank in the Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system and represents a new practitioner who has just started their training journey. The white belt is a symbol of innocence and signifies a clean slate, with the practitioner having no prior knowledge or skills in Jiu-Jitsu.
The blue belt is the second rank in the Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system and represents significant progress and understanding of the fundamentals of the sport. The blue belt is a symbol of growth and signifies that the practitioner has developed a deeper understanding of the techniques and principles of Jiu-Jitsu.
The purple belt is the third rank in the Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system and represents a high level of proficiency and mastery of the sport. The purple belt is a symbol of achievement and signifies that the practitioner has become a skilled and knowledgeable competitor in Jiu-Jitsu.
The brown belt is the fourth rank in the Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system and represents a mastery of the sport and a deep understanding of the technical aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. The brown belt is a symbol of experience and signifies that the practitioner is well on their way to achieving a black belt.
The black belt is the highest rank in the Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system and represents mastery of the sport and a deep understanding of the technical, tactical, and philosophical aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. The black belt is a symbol of excellence and signifies that the practitioner has achieved a high level of proficiency in the sport.
The red belt is a special rank in the Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system, reserved for those who have made significant contributions to the sport. The red belt is a symbol of mastery and signifies that the practitioner has achieved a level of expertise in Jiu-Jitsu that is rarely seen. The red belt is a lifetime achievement and is only awarded to a select few who have dedicated their lives to the sport.
Side note – In the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), the highest BJJ belts after the Black Belt are:
- Black/Red (Coral) Belt:
- 7th degree in BJJ ranking
- Alternating pattern of black and red stripes
- Must hold this rank for a minimum of 7 years before being eligible for 8th degree
- White/Red Belt:
- 8th degree in BJJ ranking
- Red and white patterned coral belt
- Must hold the 7th degree black/red belt for a minimum of 7 years before being eligible for this rank
- Red Belt:
- The highest rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
- Reserved for those who have achieved fame and influence in the art.
- Holders are addressed as “grandmaster”.
Kids Belt Ranks
The kids belt ranking system in jiu jitsu is similar to the adult ranking system, but with some variations. Kids belts are usually white, grey, yellow, orange, and green, and they are awarded based on the child’s age, size, and skill level. The ranking system for kids is designed to be less competitive and more focused on fun and development.
Adults Belt Ranks
In adult Jiu-Jitsu, the belt ranking system follows the same criteria and skill level as mentioned in the previous sections. However, the ranking process is slightly different from the kids’ belt ranking as the physical and mental development of adults is more advanced. The ranking process also takes into consideration the amount of time and dedication the practitioner has put into training, their performance in tournaments and overall understanding of the art of Jiu-Jitsu.
|White Belt||Beginner level, focuses on learning basic techniques.|
|Blue Belt||Intermediate level, develops basic techniques into more complex combinations.|
|Purple Belt||Advanced level, applies techniques under pressure, develops own personal style.|
|Brown Belt||Expert level, mastery of techniques and ability to teach others.|
|Black Belt||Mastery of jiu-jitsu, represents years of dedication and experience.|
|Red Belt||The highest level, only given to pioneers of the art, symbolises mastery and leadership in jiu-jitsu.|
In conclusion, Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking is an important aspect of the martial art, serving as a measure of the practitioner’s skill level and understanding of the techniques and principles of Jiu-Jitsu. From the white belt to the black belt, each belt has its own set of criteria and skill level that must be met before advancement to the next belt. The belt ranking system not only motivates the practitioner to continue training and improving, but it also recognizes their hard work and dedication to the art.
The order of the belts in Jiu-Jitsu is white, blue, purple, brown, and black.
Typically, after 4 years of training in BJJ, a practitioner may reach the brown belt level. However, the exact time it takes to reach each belt can vary depending on the individual and their dedication to training.
Joe Rogan is a black belt in BJJ.
In 2014, Conor McGregor was elevated to the rank of brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the guidance of his coach, John Kavanagh. The promotion came after McGregor’s victory over Dustin Poirier.