Grapplers Graveyard

Jiu Jitsu Belt Order

jiu jitsu belt order

Table of Contents

So you decided to start doing jiu-jitsu and take responsibility for your own personal defense ? Congrats, you are in for an amazing ride, if you decide to see it all the way through. Most people start doing jiu-jitsu because they heard it is an excellent tool to 

improve their life. If you are here for those reasons, understanding the Jiu-Jitsu belt order will be important to understand. We believe that this should never be your focus, it should always be just getting better at the sport.


White Belt (1 – 2 years)

The white belt symbolizes that you are just a beginner in this long journey through martial art. Jiu Jitsu is the only martial art that takes years to move up the ranks. Most instructors within the community are very strict about how they promote and the timeline at which they do it.

No one will ever intentionally hold you back from progressing or gate-keep you but it is important to note that belts are earned and not given out like candy. Time, dedication, and real skills need to be developed to be considered to move up the ranks.

Most people do not make it out of being white belt. 90% of people in your white belt classes will not make it to that next big milestone – the blue belt.

black belt is the highest in jiu jitsu belt order

The Survival Stage

The name of the game at white belt, especially in your first 6 months, is to survive. You will get humbled a lot in those first couple of months but you have to get back up and keep moving forward. Do not let your ego get in the way of something beautiful that is changing within.

Why Did You Start in The First Place?

When starting this journey it is super important to remember why you started. Most people start doing jiu-jitsu because their life is not so good and heard on some podcast that it is an excellent self-improvement tool. Our reason for starting was due to a physical altercation that broke out that we were not able to stand up to because we froze at the moment. What your reason for starting is to remember it and hold tight to it.

Training jiu-jitsu requires repetition, consistency, and commitment. No professor worth their sale is going to water down or make this easy. You have to love it enough to let it shape you. 

No compromise and no excuses.

white belts

Unconsciously Incompetent

As a white belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you are unaware of the mistakes you are making. At this stage, you are just trying to iron out your game and get to a point where the blue belt is undeniably yours. Many would consider a white belt unconsciously aware of where they need to improve. The most important part about this stage is showing up and making sure that you are asking tons of questions if things are unclear.

Blue Belt (2 – 5 years) 

A blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu, means you are considered “street proficient”. You can easily handle just about any white belt and have a good grasp of your techniques, strengths, and weaknesses. You are by no means an expert but you are honing in on your skills. At this point, competition is a great way to poke holes in your game and find out where you could improve to make it to that next stage.

Only 5% of blue belts will make it to the purple belt. 

Students at the Blue Belt level will have a strong idea of how they should attack. A student with the coveted blue belt can use good defensive tactics and can escape major positions with ease in most cases.

many other martial arts - jiu jitsu order

At the blue belt stage, you would still be considered a beginner in some respect but chances are you’re still making fundamental errors, but you’re keeping enough knowledge to take the right steps. As a blue belt, you realize skills are missing or crucial techniques that need cleaning up. When a blue belt is achieved, the ability to increase independence and confidence will grow.

Athletes over the age of 16 years old can receive this belt. If an athlete is under 16 they will just progress within the realm of the kids ranking system.

Blue Belt Blues

Due to the nature of the sport of jiu-jitsu and the fact that it is so hard to rank up, most people will make it their biggest goal to accomplish getting a blue belt. What happens when people achieve a huge goal that they set out to achieve? Well, sometimes they slip into a slump or even go a complete 180 and lose interest entirely. This is what the blue belt blues are.

In your journey through the sport, you will have many ups and downs and for a good number of people, their first real test is at the blue belt stage. The “blues” is a term that signifies feeling uninterested, down, and to a degree depressed about something. It usually occurs when something that we have been focusing on actually materializes. After we accomplish a big goal and the grind is “over”, no matter how great it was, we often are left with a feeling of emptiness.

bjj journey - blue belt

When you apply the term “blues” to jiu-jitsu it is easy to guess what is going on. The blue belt blues is not something to be dreading and most people will experience it. The blue belt stage is the most important stage you will go through in your journey through jiu-jitsu and also happens to be the longest.

How to Prevent Blue belt Blues

Now that you understand what the blue belt blues are, let’s talk a little bit about how to prevent them from happening. BJJ is not going to get any easier and these moments where you do not feel like going forward are really where your character is going to be forged. This is what Brazilian jiu-jitsu is arguably one of the best martial arts. For someone to grind out of a tough spot or even feel discouraged and still continue to show up, takes a lot of character.

The personal development that takes place during these periods should not be overlooked.

Do not take things so seriously. Why put pressure on yourself to get to the next stage faster? What is the reason you are feeling the way you are about jiu-jitsu? A couple of years down the road you will look back at this moment and realize that it was a great blessing to have gone through something that challenged your resolve. You will make it through the other side a better player and a better person.

Continue to have fun on the mats and always lean back on your why. In those moments in life where you start to question why you are doing something, going back on your why and the original reasons you started is a great way to get over the hump and make it through any kind of rough patch.

bjj journey

Consciously Incompetent

As a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you are consciously aware that you are incompetent at the martial art and know that you have a ton of room for growth. As stated above you are in the stage of improvement and focusing on minor details, when you look around after training for just about a year, you will notice that those that you started with may be falling off. Keep going and keep showing up to make it to the next stage.

The adult belt system is not supposed to be an easy thing to climb. You are actively forging a new human being while on the mats.

adult belt BJJ pruple belts - belt order

Purple Belt (3 – 5 years)

Once receiving the purple belt in jiu-jitsu you will be considered a partial expert at your craft. At this point, you have proven to those around you that you are dedicated to Jiu-Jitsu and shown that you can master various techniques. Coaches start to pay particular attention to you, helping you work and hone your skills. Most people spend 3 – 5 years at this stage.

Getting here is a huge accomplishment. Many people do not make it and you have just solidified yourself in a finite group of people. Competitions here are very competitive and you will oftentimes find yourself up against child prodigies!

If you make it to the purple belt, your path to getting to the black belt is clear as day. You’re right around the corner from the biggest accomplishment you can get within this martial art. Do not give up and be sure to take care of your body so you do not have any major setbacks along the way.

The youngest you can be to possess a purple belt is 18 years old.

Brown Belt (1 – 2 years) 

At brown belt, you are considered a black belt in disguise. You are extremely proficient, and skilled, dedicated time on the mats, and are close to mastering your craft. Most people that make it to this stage will only spend 1-2 years here. You are well on your way to being a black belt!

If you started this sport in your mid-twenties chances are you dedicated a better half of 6-8 years to get to this point. You will be heading into an awesome stage of your life with a huge badge of honor around your waist.

adult belt BJJ - brown belts

 Black Belt 

On average it takes 10 years to get. This belt is the highest accomplishment one can receive in the sport. It is a symbol of the accumulation of all your training and the time you have spent. There are two types of belts at this stage.

The black belt is the last stage of the Jiu-jitsu ranking system. At this stage you are considered a master of your craft in many ways but may not feel like it at times. Even when you reach this stage there are still many things to look forward to.

Chances are, if you make it here, you have shown to those around you the type of person you are. We have spoken to many black belts and they tell us the world opened up to them when they got this rank. They pass on wisdom to lower belts (like ourselves) saying things like belts do not matter, what matters is that you proved that you could show up for yourself and completely change who you are as a human.

black belts - jiu jitsu belt order

Stages After the Black Belt

White bar Black Belt – You are a competitor but do not teach people

Red Bar Black Belt – You may be a competitor but the red bar symbolizes that you are an instructor

Black Belt Degrees

First Degree Black Belt – Earned after 3 years of proven activity in Black Belt

Second Degree Black Belt – Earned after 3 years in the First Degree stage or spending 6 years as a black belt

Third Degree Black Belt – Earned after 3 years in the Second Degree stage or 9 years as a black belt

Fourth Degree Black Belt – Earned after 5 years in the Third Degree stage or 14 years as a black belt

Fifth Degree Black Belt – Earned after 5 years in the Fourth Degree stage or 19 years as a black belt

Sixth Degree Black Belt – Earned after 5 years in the Fifth Degree stage or 24 years as a black belt

As a black belt, the last degree you can get is the 6th degree. When you reach this stage you will be presented a whole new belt known as the coral belt or red belt. Getting to a BJJ black belt is enough of an accomplishment already, the number of people that will make it to this stage is so few and far between. As a red belt, you are still considered a black belt. The highest-ranking color belt you can receive is the tenth-degree black belt (signified as a red belt).

Black belts are the leaders of the academy. The true 1%. We rely on their guidance to keep a functioning art and keep the spirit of jiu-jitsu alive. Making it to the black belt shows much more than cool brownie points at a family dinner. Getting here proves to everyone that you are not someone to be messed with, you can dedicate yourself to something hard, and you have great character.

Jiu-jitsu is a sport that will change everything about your life and how you carry yourself on a day-to-day basis. Making it through the ranks is no easy task but it is a journey worth taking. If you want to find yourself in a different category of human beings, doing jiu-jitsu is a surefire way to get that accomplished. We hope to see more people make it to the finish line with the sport. Remember, everything is relative within ranking up in jiu-jitsu. Someone starting later in life will not be judged on the same criteria as someone younger than them. Understand that all journeys are different and that these belts should not be your focus along the way!

martial arts - jiu jitsu belt order

Frequently Asked Questions

What belt is 4 years of BJJ?

this depends on a number of things like how often you have trained in those four years, your age, your grappling background, etc. Typically if you are an adult that trains 3 – 5 times a week after four years you will be a couple of stripes into your blue belt. Martial arts teaches you discipline along the way, if you actively apply it through your training after four years this would be a good place to be.

What BJJ belt is Joe Rogan?

Joe Rogan is a BJJ Black Belt.

What is the highest color belt in jiu jitsu?

The highest belt most people will receive is the BJJ black belt but there is one belt color above that you can receive if you make it pasts a sixth degree as a black belt known as the coral belt (or red belt).

What is the order of belts in jiu-jitsu?

  1. White belt
  2. Blue Belt
  3. Purple belt
  4. brown belt
  5. Black belt
  6. Red belt

What belt is Lex Friedman?

Lex, just like Joe, is a black belt in BJJ.

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