Compared to other martial arts, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) belt system is far stricter. There are only very few belt divisions in the system. However, BJJ practitioners often spend a long time on each one, which is why it can take up to ten years before an individual can achieve a black belt after starting.
Furthermore, the BJJ ranking system follows a standardized belt progression process, unlike martial arts like Karate and Taekwondo, with more subjective belt systems. There’s even a mandated rule for promotions, which is followed by many accredited BJJ academies worldwide.
For this reason, BJJ beginners often worry about the time it takes to progress in the said art. So if your goal is to climb higher in the ranking system, read on to learn more about the Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt system.
Divisions of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Belt System
There are five divisions in the BJJ ranking system: white, blue, purple, brown, and black belts. As a novice, you will start with a white belt. This signifies the beginning of your journey as a BJJ practitioner. On this level, the primary focus is to learn the basics of proper defense. There’s no set period for a practitioner to remain at this rank. However, it may take several months before one is allowed to move on to the next level.
After white comes blue, the stage wherein one must demonstrate an understanding of the basic positions and techniques. While blue belters are not yet that proficient in grappling, they are expected to have at least the ability to use their skills in real-life scenarios. It usually takes about three to five years of training before you can graduate from a blue belt.
On the other hand, Purple belt practitioners refer to students who have a relatively deeper comprehension of how to apply what they learned in real life. Once you reach this rank, you must have enough knowledge and experience of every jiu-jitsu position. Thus, this phase is usually spent on honing skills and perfecting techniques. And while academies only require an individual to spend at least one and a half years in this rank, practitioners often take three to five years to achieve brown belts.
Moving on to the brown belt, you should be able to pull off submissions and positions almost as well as black belters can. In simpler terms, this level mainly focuses on putting everything you have learned over the past couple of years studying the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Note that this level especially involves focusing on strategies to strengthen your technique, which is why most people usually take just one to two years before being promoted to the next rank.
The last division of the BJJ ranking system is the black belt, the level where you’ve reached the pinnacle and end of your journey as a student. However, this doesn’t entail that you’re already a master of the art. It simply signifies that you’ve become proficient enough as a practitioner. Moreover, varying grades and degrees come after a black belt; these come in white bars or stripes found on the end of the belt.
In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it takes a lot of time and effort to move from one rank to another. But if you’re familiar with what you have to focus on at each level, you’ll find that it’s not at all that difficult to meet the requirements for promotion.
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