What’s the big deal with a Jiu-jitsu belt rank? Not very many sports have a system of progression in place that makes it easy to identify those that are at different skill levels. If you look at baseball, football, or wrestling as examples you can never tell how long someone has been training in the sport based on how they appear. Jiu Jitsu belts all represent something different within their respective academy, in this article we break down some of those roles each of them are expected to carry.
Jiu Jitsu Belt Rank
In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, there are 5 ranks that you can achieve within the sport: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. When someone achieves a belt promotion it symbolizes many things. The higher the rank the more prestige you have within the community, you are looked at almost as a leader to those who are beneath you. It is important to hold yourself to a high standard when you rank higher within the gym, younger, less experienced people are looking at you for guidance whether you asked for it or not.
Why Belt Ranking is Important
Getting a promotion from one belt to another is a huge deal within a dojo. It is a symbol of acknowledgment from those around you that you are progressing and moving closer to your goal of mastering the art of jiu-jitsu. When you work towards something it is always a great feeling to see that others are seeing the growth in you. It is a way to continue to keep you motivated and moving in the right direction within the sport.
Every coach has a different philosophy when it comes to belts and what they represent. In a general nutshell here is a summary of what each belt can represent within the dojo:
White belts are beginners. In this stage, you have to get your training wheels off and survive. The first 6 months are the hardest because it is a time when you 1) learn the most and 2) get beat up the most. People are usually at this stage for about 1 – 2 years depending on how much you train.
Blue belts are essentially well-trained beginners in most eyes. You have a game being formed and you can beat up on pretty much any white belt regardless of how many stripes they have. Most people stay here between 2 – 4 years. You may run into the blue belt woos here if training starts to dwindle.
Purple belts are the first belt to show expertise. At this level, you start to gain real leadership credibility within the community. People will want to learn from you so being a good teacher is important for those at this level.
Further up on the expertise level. Brown belts have the knowledge and expertise to be able to open and run their gym.
Black Belts are the leaders of the academies. At this stage, you have put close to a decade of blood, sweat, and tears into this sport. The world of jiu-jitsu, too many, opens up completely at this level. Many black belts that we have talked to said that once they hit this stage they felt like they were back at square one.
Belt promotions are not everything that jiu-jitsu has to offer. We are a firm believer that focusing on belts and ranking up fast is the best way to slow down your growth as an athlete. Jiu Jitsu is a long journey, enjoy your time at each level because they all have something amazing to offer. Belt ranking is great and always makes a cool Instagram post but remember why you started in the first place, focus on your why!