Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Belts Ranking Explained


If you tell someone that you practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the first image they'll think of is someone wearing the GI, wearing an untied belt to their waist. Or, they could respond in a non-helpful manner: "Wow, my friend does UFC!"

Some people might think it's ridiculous to tell them that you're either a blue or white belt. Blue belt and think they're wrong. But, BJJ belt rankings are generally considered to be a sign of significance. But what exactly are they? You might also be thinking about the legend of the "red" belt. Are they even actual rank? Here is the complete guide on everything you must know about BJJ belts and their meaning. 

The Five Main BJJ Belt Ranks

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu comprises five belt grades: white, blue, brown, purple, and black. Everybody starts with white, but only a handful of people reach black. We've broken each belt down to give you an idea of what each rank means. Be aware that BJJ belts do not come with a standard and every gym will have its requirements and standards. 

White Belt

You may have seen videos on the internet that talk about how to get through the first few months of training to become a BJJ white belt. Although some white belts have previous experience in grappling, similar to wrestling, most people taking to mats for the first time do not have any experience and must learn all the basics from scratch! Following getting your belt tied, white belts should concentrate on learning how to be able to endure.

"Surviving" might be a more appropriate term than people think since most white belts stop!

It can be demoralizing to step onto the mat only to be knocked down repeatedly, notably when subdued by a smaller person than you. Don't be concerned; many new practitioners have this issue. Submissions from an opponent who is less experienced than you can show them that you can be efficient in training BJJ.

You do not always have to beat your opponent if you're a white belt. It would help if you concentrated on getting more comfortable with the force used in the sparring. Instead of subduing your opponent, you should instead focus on hitting what you learned in class the day before. You can consider your roll a win if you land the sweep, keep an enticing position, or get out of a poor position.

Blue Belt

Blue belts' definition, in the words of Helio Gracy, can be described as "someone who can submit a larger untrained opponent," and that is the definition that most BJJ coaches use. Blue belts are typically capable of rolling with brand new white belts quickly. Most practitioners receive blue belts following 2 or three years of regular training. The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) has established the age minimum for blue belts at 16 years old.

There is a lot of time when you hear the Blue belt is referred to as "The Buffet Belt." This is because the blue belt is where you begin to learn new techniques and determine what you prefer. It is evident that there are many different types of Jiu Jitsu. Certain more experienced practitioners could use a pressure passing technique while others enjoy the pulling guards.

As with blue belts, white belts are infamous for not returning to the gymnasium. It could be due to many reasons. One of the most important is that after two years of training, the path to a black belt could appear to be a daunting task. Another reason is that you could be smashed by purple belts even if you are comfortable with blue and white belts.

Purple Belt

Based on Firas Zahabi, a BJJ black belt trained under John Danaher, the purple belt is the first advanced rank in BJJ. Purple belts ought to be like blue belts, the same way they are for white belts. Purple belts are excellent sources of information to demonstrate basic white belt methods. 

It is also thought of as the point at which you begin to develop the game or the style of BJJ you practice during the competition. Many purple belts have learned the fundamentals of BJJ and can begin to chain together techniques. You might also be amazed to learn that most of those awarded the purple belt continue to earn their black belt.

If you're looking to compete in the purple belt and above, the IBJJF demands that you complete at least 2 years of the blue belt at age 16. If you're looking to compete it is best to register with the IBJJF whenever you can. Many of the best-ranked Jiu Jitsu athletes compete at IBJJF tournaments.

Brown Belt

A crisp new brown belt against a faded GI. It's not uncommon to have 8+ years of experience before being awarded this belt rank!

The IBJJF demands that practitioners undergo 18 months of the purple belt before moving on to the brown belt. In addition, they must also be at least 17 years old. Older. Brown belts need to develop their game at this stage. The belt also focuses on getting better at the aspects in Jiu Jitsu you're not quite as comfortable with.

Competing at brown belt could be daunting because it is the rank at which the IBJJF permits moves such as reaping and heel hooks. A lot of BJJ gyms train guard passing prior to leg locks. Participants must be comfortable with leg attacks and defenses before entering the competition.

Black Belt

Black belts tend to end up looking worn out since you stay at this rank for so long!

It takes, on average, 10 years to achieve the sought-after ranking of black belt. (Although some like BJ Penn have reached the rank faster). A rank like a black belt grants you a lot of authority in an exercise facility. People can approach you with questions regarding both simple and complex methods. It is described as one of the "heaviest" belts to carry.

Many instructors prefer to confer black belts on those they believe have good moral character. In Brazil, those awarded the blackbelt rank are often called "professors." The first three belts take three years to earn. The 4th, 5th, and 6th require five years at the previous rank.

The IBJJF standards require an athlete to be 19 years old or age or more. Furthermore, there is a requirement that it is the case that IBJJF only recognizes those that have held an IBJJF brown belt registered for a year. In addition, to become an IBJJF black belt registered, it is necessary to complete CPR and referee training.

What is beyond the black belt?

Although they're not mentioned, these Red and Coral belts are genuine. They are IBJJF-approved. These belts carry the designation "Grandmaster." Currently, there are just 19 officially recognized IBJJF red belts, most of which belong to the Gracie family. Yvonne Duarte became the first woman to be awarded an IBJJF red belt in August 2021.

Red and Black Belt

After attaining the 6th degree of black belt and seven additional years of instruction an individual is qualified for the black and red belt. To be eligible for a red or black belt, you must be awarded a black belt before 31 years.

Red and White Belt

The higher an individual's degree, the more time it takes to achieve. Although it takes only seven years to earn the red and black belt, It takes ten years to attain the red and white belt. This is the highest grade a person receives before being qualified for an actual red belt. There are just 24 IBJJF-authorized red and white belts.

Red Belt

The red belt in full is given at the ninth degree. The 10th degree is awarded to the original Gracie families. In the words of Renzo Gracie, the term "red belt" refers to someone whose "influence and fame take them to the pinnacle of the art." For all goals, please don't spend too heavily on achieving this belt, as most of it is time spent in training. 

Tips for Ranking Up in BJJ   

Get a Notebook

BJJ is a complex martial art. Most techniques involve minor steps that need to be executed in a specific way. It is not uncommon for classes to be overwhelming with information. Note what you learned during class can help you remember the knowledge you've learned.

Keep going

It's the majority of our lives and the best method to improve your Jiu Jitsu. Don't be a statistic like the many blue and white belts.

Don't fret too much about belt rank.

Motivating yourself is easy by imagining you can reach the next stage. But remember that the belt isn't always the best gauge of the actual ability level. In class, focus on improving your technique.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts are highly regarded in the martial arts world due to how it takes to obtain one. If you're diligent in your training, you'll likely obtain the black belt faster in other martial arts. While some in the BJJ community consider this belting system outdated, they are integral to the traditional martial arts sport and culture.


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