Grapplers Graveyard

Jiu Jitsu Belts

jiu jitsu belts

Table of Contents

Life is a video game and each day we get the choice to level our avatar up or stay stagnant where we are. Jiu-jitsu is the best way to level yourself up in all aspects of life. There are so many lessons that are learned on the mats that would be near impossible to pick up through any other sport. The progression system within the sport is an external way to validate that you are becoming a new human. In this article, we discuss the jiu-jitsu belts someone will receive when they commit to the sport.


Jiu Jitsu is a sport like many other martial arts that uses belts to showcase expertise in the given art form. In Jiu-jitsu there are 5 belts that an adult can achieve and 5 belts that a child under the age of 15 can receive. Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling martial art that is extremely hard to master. Belts are not given out very easily or frequently. Reaching the highest level in this sport takes time, dedication, and commitment to the mats.

When you decide to train jiu-jitsu it is important to not get wrapped up in the glitz and glamor that comes with ranking up. It is a great way to showcase expertise but the external validation you receive when training can be toxic if that is your sole focus. At the Grapplers Graveyard, we preach to our readers that the most important thing in jiu-jitsu is the progress you make both in the art and your daily life as you strive to reach the highest levels.

The average person will not see this journey to the end. Jiu-jitsu does an excellent good job of exposing people who make excuses and quitters. Jiu-jitsu will allow you to change everything about yourself when you decide to commit and stay consistent. 

jiu jitsu practitioner - white blue purple brown - jiu jitsu belts


In Jiu-jitsu there are 5 belts that you can receive as an adult. The adult status is given to anyone above the age of 16.

BJJ Stripes

Stripes represent progress toward the next belt rank. Before moving onto the next rank you have to get four stripes within the respective rank that you are currently in. In most cases people do not jump over stripes but it is possible if someone has progressed tremendously since their last promotion.

BJJ Belt Promotions

The belt system within jiu-jitsu is very unique in the sense of how long it will take a practitioner to get promoted. All belt promotions are handled by the respective coaches at the gym you are training at. Coaches will not promote you unless they believe that you are ready for a promotion.

White Belt Level Practitioner

This is the beginning stage of a long journey. Here you will get beat up, learn all the basic techniques, and potentially start competing in local tournaments. This stage is all about survival. 90% of people here will drop out before they reach their destination. When signing up to do jiu-jitsu it is important to understand your goals within the sport and come to terms with what you want to get out of it! This will help you stick around for the long haul and separate yourself from those around you.

Blue Belt Level

This stage is the second stage you get to on your journey in jiu-jitsu. Most people achieve this around the two-year mark of training, but some people can achieve this faster based on their ability to learn, natural skill level, and how often they train. Here you have a good grasp on all the basics, can submit any white belt pretty easily, and can escape from most bad positions from people around your skill level.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt is the first huge accomplishment that you will receive on your journey through Jiu-Jitsu. Typically this belt takes about two years for someone to achieve. By no means is this an easy thing to accomplish. Time, dedication, and consistent effort are needed to get here.

Just like in the white belt stage, blue belts will receive stripes on their way to the next belt color which is purple. As the belts get darker the expectations of what you are capable of rising with it. Blue belts should actively compete and test their skills against people outside their training grounds, this is an excellent way to progress faster and showcase to those around you that you are ready for the next level.

white blue purple brown black jiu jitsu belts

What are the 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.

At this point you have been training for some time and it can be common to lose the drive that once pushed you to come back or feel a greater sense of imposter syndrome. When you sign up for BJJ, it is important to understand that this martial art is something that will take a long time to rise to the top of, this is not like other martial arts.

The adult belt system for Brazilian jiu-jitsu is challenging for a reason. BJJ is one of those martial arts that will test you from a number of angles. persistence, consistency, and discipline are going to be needed and sometimes it can be hard to apply this behavior over long periods of time.

first belt - blue belt - bjj belt system

How to Prevent Blue Belt Blues

The real answer on how to get through this stage is to honestly just muscle through it. 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. 

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.

Purple Belt

The purple belt in jiu-jitsu is the first sign of expertise in the sport. Those that have reached this stage are important to the ecosystem that is created within an academy. Here you will be developing your style of play and honing your skills. The black belt is pretty much guaranteed for people that reach this level if they continue to stay healthy, train frequently, and focus on the minute details to improve.

It is important to note that when you start getting to the darker belts like purple, brown, and black you have now entered an exceptional category. You should be extremely proud of this achievement. Most people won’t even do a form of martial arts let alone make it to the point where they are showing signs of being an expert.

jiu jitsu belt system blue belts to purple belts

Purple Belt Requirements: The Great Divide

We call this stage the great divide, this is where most people that train Brazilian jiu-jitsu want to get to. When you get to the purple belt, you are pretty much an expert at the martial art and your path to black belt is pretty clear. All you need in this case is time and consistency.

Here are some Purple Belt Requirements:

    • At least 5 years of training in most cases. 400 – 700 hours of mat time.

    • The first sign of expertise – acquired enough knowledge and skill of jiu-jitsu that you could coach someone else *if you wanted to)

    • Firm application of a large number of technical skills

    • Start to learn and develop a style that suits your body and personality. Essentially at this stage, you should start specializing.

Reminder: This is just our interpretation of this belt. Be sure to ask your coach what they look for because they will be the ones promoting you.

jiu jitsu belt system blue belts to purple belts to brown belts

Brown belts

Brown belts in jiu-jitsu are essentially black belts in disguise. They showcase a high level of expertise and could teach others if they chose to do so. You can taste your black belt at this stage. 

Typically there is not much advice someone can offer to someone at this stage in the jiu-jitsu career. Chances are they know what they need to work on and are legitimately badass at what they do.

black belts - jiu jitsu belts

BJJ Black Belts

The black belt in jiu-jitsu is the last stage most people will achieve in their time training in martial arts. This belt is an accumulation of all the training you put in and is a testament to your commitment. Getting here is no easy feat. You have to completely morph yourself into a new kind of person. 

Someone who makes it here is committed, disciplined, and obsessed with bettering their jiu-jitsu and life. The journey through this sport will take many ups and downs. Those that make it to the black belt are those that persevered through all the challenges that may have arisen.

take notes

Get a Notebook

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that has millions of things to teach you along the way. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming how much information you have to absorb. We have seen teammates in the past use notebooks to help them remember and study the material that they were learning.

This practice will make it easier for you to climb the ranks and remember what it is you should be doing when you find yourself in certain positions. I know that writing things down for me specifically helps me remember information, I was always that guy in class that made sure the teacher would go slow through slides so I can notetake everything on the presentation.

If you are anything like this, apply it to jiu-jitsu and you will not have a hard time remembering information.

jiu jitsu journey

Don’t worry so much about the belt ranks

Belts come when they are supposed to come. We personally have been very impatient majority of our lives and what we are currently learning through training jiu-jitsu is how to be more patient with both ourselves, our movements, and the pace at which we progress.

If you continue to show up, put the effort into your game, ask questions, study material or videos, and take notes, the belts will just come.

Do not seek the external validation that comes with a belt promotion. I think it is far to easy to seek this kind of validation in today’s world through social media. We see it in every corner of the internet, your worth is not determined by the belt around your waist. The jiu-jitsu belt system in many ways beats this mentality out of you by teaching you some patience and to seek validation from within. You will start to discover when things start to click for you, it will be like a light bulb moment.

belt rank signifies skill

Are Jiu-Jitsu Belt Ranks standardized?

In some ways they but for the most part they are not.

IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) is an organization that regulates how much time each belt level has to stay at a certain level but the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation is not the one that is actually promoting you or tieing that next belt around your waist. Your coach handles all belt promotions and typically follows the guidelines for how long each student spends at a specific belt level.

There are one-off cases where students will rise through the ranks much faster (typically from white belt level to blue belt level) depending on if they have experience with other grappling martial arts.

Jiu-jitsu is an excellent sport to get into if you are looking to change every aspect of your life, learn self-defense techniques that work, and want to have fun along the way. The brotherhood that is formed and the community you are introduced to are unlike any other hobby you will pick up. We recently picked up a book called Master Jiu Jitsu, Master Life which is an excellent read for those that want to go the distance with this sport!

Happy Rolling! 

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