Your Complete Guide to Jiu-Jitsu Belts

juijitsu belts

About 3 million people practice jiu-jitsu today. It’s a grappling martial art that helps you use physical momentum and a chess match-like strategy to overcome your opponent.

Compared to other martial arts, it’s gentle on your body and is an art you can practice well into your old age several times per week. Learning how to practice martial arts safely can lead to a healthy and fulfilling life.

Your jiu-jitsu journey begins with an understanding of the belt system. Here’s a breakdown of jiu-jitsu belt ranks to help your exploration of this brilliant martial art.

The White Belt

You get your white belt the day you sign up for jiu-jitsu. It’s the equivalent of a private in the army, being assigned that rank as a new recruit. 

The while belt curriculum starts with defence first. In a life or death situation, you’ll want your skills at protecting yourself from a fatal attack to be the sharpest. 

This begins with protection from chokes and full mount positions. You’ll learn how to warm up and perform basic jiu-jitsu movements. You’ll also learn basics like how to tie a jiu-jitsu belt correctly.

Eventually, you’ll learn some attacks, such as armbars and rear-naked chokes. Learning how to prevent injuries in martial arts is also a critical skill. 

Starting with the white belt, you’ll also get stripes on your belt as you progress toward the next promotion. Some professors issue students a blue and white striped belt to denote an advanced white belt.  

The Blue Belt

This is the second in the belt system. During your blue belt stage, students hone and sharpen jiu-jitsu fundamentals so that they can gain mastery over the basics. In essence, a blue belt is when you begin speaking the language. 

Blue belts begin to learn the rationale and thought processes behind the drills and moves they’ve been learning. This is when students start going out of their way to drill weaknesses in their game.  

The Purple Belt

Having a purple belt in the jiu-jitsu belt system is a lot like having a black belt in other disciplines. This is a testament to how difficult it is to progress through the belts system. 

Receiving this is when you become advanced at the art and have learned most of the concepts and techniques that you need to get your black belt. This is a milestone of jiu-jitsu that very few reach and should be celebrated.  

The Brown Belt

There’s so much nuance and so many levels in jiu-jitsu, and the brown belt is definitely a milestone. It’s when you’ve almost reached mastery but need to clean up the details as you progress toward your black belt. 

Brown belts develop a better understanding of using their body and opponent’s momentum. They’re also often called upon to teach, similar to a graduate or PhD student. 

By teaching others, brown belts learn more about the finer points of the art and shape and solidify their thought processes surrounding it.  

The Black Belt

This is the level that everyone has been striving toward since their first day on the mat. 

When you’re a black belt, you are not only a master at the art, but you’re someone respected and revered by everyone else on the mat. Other students now call you professor, and you’ll definitely be asked to fill in and teach classes. 

Black belt mastery refers to someone highly proficient at offence and defence, along with an understanding of the psychology that comes with the territory.  

Higher Level Black Belts

When you start your jiu-jitsu journey, the first thing that you learn is that it’s never ending. You can always get better. You can continually deepen your understanding. You can always add more creativity and personality to your game. 

Black belts often refer to their belt as a white belt that just got darkened based on the years of sparring and training. 

You get other versions of black belts with more time and experience. These include six different degrees, each of which requires 3-year waiting periods. After that, a very select few go on to reach their red belt after several decades of training. 

A red belt is still in the black belt category and is the peak level of mastery you can achieve while studying jiu-jitsu. 

How to Practice Martial Arts Safely and for Mastery

The tips above teach you all about the ranks you’ll climb on your jiu-jitsu journey. You’ll gain proficiency and mastery with the skills and learn how to practice martial arts safely. 

When you give dedication to martial arts, it teaches you about life in general.
We’re happy to help bridge that gap for you. 

Start with these words of advice and contact us when you need to shop around for gi’s, belts, rash guards, and any other BJJ equipment.