Jiu-Jitsu Belt Levels: Explained For Beginners

Similar to most of the other martial arts out there, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu also uses different colored belts to depict various rankings.

Each belt color shows a skill level of the BJJ practitioner.

While you can earn the lowest level (white) belt without any prerequisite, the higher level belts will take you a longer period (one or more years of training).

Let’s discuss the Jiu-Jitsu belts in the correct order— from the Lowest to the Highest Belt:

White Belt

The White belt is the first and the lowest level belt in the BJJ ranking system.

This belt is worn by a beginner in the art, and no prior knowledge or experience is needed to obtain it.

So, what do you expect to learn when donning a white belt?

Most instructions and high-level practitioners agree that you should focus on defensive and escapes training at this stage since you’ll be fighting from inferior positions—more so when facing more experienced BJJ artists.

Other trainers will also require you to obtain a well-rounded skill set at this stage, including knowledge of the basic offensive moves (like guard passes and submission).

Blue Belt

Any Jiu-Jitsu practitioner wearing a Blue Belt depicts that he has earned the second rank in the BJJ sport. You’ll need approximately 1-2 years of hard work to obtain this belt in most of the academies out there.

As a blue belt holder, you’ll need to acquire huge technical knowledge of all the BJJ aspects. You’ll have to spend hours and hours on the training mat to learn how to efficiently implement these moves.

Most artists regard Blue Belt stage as a vital rank where they collect countless techniques.

Note that the IBJJF (the body that regulates BJJ sport) requires that you should be at least 16 years old to be rewarded this belt.

Purple Belt

The purple bet acts as the intermediate level in the BJJ ranking system. It is usually considered as one of the longest held ranks as it’ll take you approximately 4-5 years of hard work to earn it.

Despite being regarded an intermediate rank, you’ll hold a vast amount of knowledge about the art. And you even qualify to instruct all the lower belts

Again, IBJJF requires that you should be at least 16 years of age to get this belt.

You also need to be a 2 years Blue belt holder for you to receive this belt. However, IBJJF has slightly varying requirements for the artists graduating from youth belts.

Brown Belt

Most academies will require you to spend 2-3 years to earn this belt.

Save for the exceptional you might get awarded at the highest levels, the Brown Belt is regarded as the highest color rank you can get from BBJ.

This is because it offers you a transition between the purple belt and the elite black belt rank. It actually signifies that you’re about to start receiving elite belts, and it’ll require you to take 5-6 years of full commitment and dedication.

Being a transitional stage, you’ll spend more time refining that accumulating new skills.

You’ll horn all your already acquired practical and technical skills until you reach the black belt level.

For you to receive the brown belt, IBJJF requires that you should be aged 18 years or older. Besides, you ought to have spent a minimum of 11/2 years as a purple belt holder for you to get this belt.

Black Belt

Similar to other martial arts practiced by humankind, Black Belt is regarded as the highest rank in the Jiu-Jitsu world. It means that the holder has acquired expert level practical and technical skill in the art.

The approximate time you‘ll take to move from brown to the black level belt is around 2-3 years for most academies.

As for the overall period you’ll take to achieve this rank, it can go for as long as 10 years or more. Regardless of the time you take to reach this level, you’ll have spent countless hours on the training part perfecting the art. And the skill set you’ll demonstrate will be a real reflection of this fact.

For you to get this belt, the IBJJF requires you to be aged 19 years or more and have ranked as a brown belt for a minimum of a year.

In addition to the above MAIN belt ranks in the BJJ sport, there are additional, ‘exceptional’ belt ranks you can get as an artist as described below:

Black and Red Belt

If you progress from the 6th degree (black belt rank above) to the 7th degree as a BJJ practitioner, you’ll receive the Black and Red Belt. This estimated time you’ll take to reach this level is around 7 years.

As a black and red belt holder, you’re a highly experienced practitioner, and you might even have an impact on the overall BJJ art. You’ll often be referred by the title Master.

Red and White Belt

Following the IBJJF amendment on the graduation guidelines in 2003, you can now transition from the7th degree to 8th degree and get awarded the Red and White belt.

Red Belt

The Red Belt in BJJ sport system is reserved for the practitioners whose fame and influence take them “to the pinnacle of the art.” The IBJJF sets the transition period from 8th degree Red and White Belt to this 9th-degree red belt as 10 years.

The belt is awarded in place of the 9th or 19th belt.

If you got your black belt at 19 years (the minimum age set for receiving black belt by IBJJF), the earliest you can expect to get a Red Belt is by the age of 67.

As a red belt holder, you’ll be referred to as a grand master within the art.

Keep in mind that this 10th degree was ONLY awarded to the Gracie Brother, the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Final Word

As it’s the case with all the other martial artists you’ve come across, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu utilizes different colored belts to denote various ranks. These colors include White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black.

In addition to that, they also have exceptional belt ranks as explained in the above post. These include Black and Red Belt, Red and White Belt, and Red Belt.

  • April 25, 2018
  • BJJ
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