As with most martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) uses a colored belt ranking system to indicate the students’ level and progression with their training. This standard BJJ ranking system looks like this:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black

It takes an average of two years to progress through each rank. There is also a stripe ranking system used to show how far you’ve progressed through the belt color. You can gain up to four stripes before being considered eligible for the next color. All gyms do differ but the general process is for an academy to have grading events that BJJ practitioners will participate in to grade for their belt stripes, performing a wide list of moves depending on the academy’s syllabus/ranking system. 

Further to the aesthetic purposes of the BJJ belt, it also plays a practical role in keeping your gi closed during training and while you roll.

How to Tie a BJJ Belt

How to Tie Your BJJ Belt Steps:

  • Fold the belt in half so both ends are even
  • Close your Gi, folding the left side over the right
  • Place the middle of the belt over your stomach
  • Wrap the belt around your back and pass each of the ends to the opposite hand
  • Pull each end so the belt is tight and secure around your stomach
  • Insert the right end of the belt on the inside of the belt from the bottom and pull it over 
  • Adjust the belt from both ends to secure 
  • Pass the right part of the belt in between the belt on the left side
  • Insert the left part of the belt in between the loop on the right side
  • Pull at both ends to tighten the knot

History of Martial Art Belt Rankings

The original belt ranking system was created by the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. Kano created a ranking system that visibly displayed students’ rankings. This helped to be able to differentiate the experience between judo practitioners. Beginners were given white belts and advanced students or instructors were given black belts. 

All martial arts have adopted this system in their own way. For BJJ, the main ranking system used goes white, blue, purple, brown and black. Many academies will break up each color with stripes so milestones are easier and more clear for students to reach. 

Having a ranking system gives BJJ practitioners a structured approach to progressing through BJJ ranks and skill development.

By Emil

Emil is a currently active professional MMA fighter. He was ranked 1st in the Aus/Nz region in his weight class as an amateur, with the most KO’s, and is now actively working up the professional ranks.

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