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Belt Order: What to know about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Belts

Jiu Jitsu Belts

Pella BJJ Blue Belt Test Fall 2023

As you begin your Jiu Jitsu Journey, you might be wondering, "What are the belts I could earn and how long does it take to be a Black Belt?". Let us explore the Belts of Jiu Jitsu and how to earn them!

Each Gym or Affiliation has their own views on who should be promoted and when. At Pella BJJ, we have carefully crafted a promotion system that has been built upon testing each person and their own expression of Jiu Jitsu. This system was created by our Black Belt, Daniel Robbins, after 14 years of competition, instructing, and training with some of the greatest athletes and instructors in the world.

Jiu Jitsu Belts

Jiu Jitsu Belts for Kids by order

Kids Belts are broken up into four sections: Gray, Yellow, Orange, Green. Each Color belt has three belts that make up that sections, one with a white stripe, one that is a solid color, and one with a black stripe. One of the most common questions we are asked is, "My kids is 12 years old, does that mean they start out in orange belt". No, everyone will begin as a white belt and move up from there. Many kids that are older can advance faster depending on their own skill. This is mostly determined by attending competitions and wining in their division. For those that do not compete, sparing with those that do or waiting the average 8 months to 1 year to rank up. Some gyms have developed a test that ensures that each individual has learned the skills needed to be competitive at each level if they choose to be later on their journey.

Unlike most other Martial Arts, kids in BJJ will not earn a Black Belt. This is not to say that BJJ is harder than any other Martial Art, but it is a strong belief in the community that to be a master at anything, you need to do it for more than a few years. Kids can begin Jiu Jitsu at the age of 4 much like wrestling. Once any kid reaches the rank of Green belt, they should advance to the rank of Blue belt once they become 16-18 years old.

Jiu Jitsu Belts

Jiu Jitsu Belts for Adults in order

Adult belts and stripes take longer than kid belts. Each stripe is awarded differently depending on the instructor and gym, but generally you see a stripe every 6-9 months as a white belt. After one and a half to two years a White belt might be considered for a Blue belt depending on their skill level. Most of the time they should be sparing with higher belts and those that have competed.

On average, it takes about 10+ years to achieve a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some can earn it faster depending on their competition level and their background in the grappling arts.

It is extremely rare for someone to skip a belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It is never the norm and if you know of someone skipping a belt, there should be a very clear reason why. Even those individuals at the highest competition level in NO-GI who do not have an official belt are given one at a time in order until they are caught up.

Once you spar with someone, it should be very clear what rank they might be. Any gym worth going to will have a sparing element and their instructor will roll with the members. Any Instructor that does not spar with members is either hurt or not to the skill level that their belt shows. This should be a HUGE RED FLAG when you are trying out a gym for the first time.

Promotions for individuals that are too early can be damaging to them and can create a false impression on others in that gym. That is why it is very important to earn each rank though skill and time.

Jiu Jitsu Belts

Lined up in belt order, Members of Pella BJJ get ready to train

All those who begin Jiu Jitsu start as a White Belt, but can advance faster or slower depending on their skill, how often they train, and how they compare against their peers. BJJ offers one thing above all, a challenge. If a person is winning competitions all the time, they need to be advanced so that they can still have that challenge. At Pella BJJ, we are always assessing each person we train with and promoting them accordingly. We use competition and experience to help determine if each individual is ready for the next step along their journey. Each individuals Jiu Jitsu journey is unique and they should all be proud of what they have accomplished. Just remember that there is always more to learn no matter what belt you are.

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