The BJJ Belt System Explained

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a form of martial art that is mainly focused on grappling and ground fighting.

The ranking system of BJJ is unlike any other martial arts in the world. It takes a lot of patience, time and determination to progress to the next level.

Each belt colour earned signifies a person with a new set of knowledge and skills about BJJ.

Curious to know how this strict but rewarding belt system works? Read further as I give you an easy guide on how each colour is achieved throughout your BJJ training.

White Belt

A beginner in Brazilian Jitsu automatically qualifies for a white belt.

Usually, the training will be about fighting from inferior positions with an emphasis on defensive positioning and escape.

A newbie is also expected to develop a skill set that includes offensive moves like guard passes and submissions.

This is the stage where you will learn about the names and functions of the basic positions.

This stage might sound easy but it will usually take years of hardships before you can move to the next level.

Blue Belt

This is the second adult rank in BJJ. This stage involves learning a wider scope of technical knowledge and improving the basic techniques you’ve learned previously.

It’s mostly about developing solid escapes, improving guard techniques and building your defense game.

It usually takes hundreds of hours of mat time to enhance these techniques but it’s all going to be worth it in the end.

The IBJJF requires a minimum of two years before an adult can progress to a purple belt.

For some, it may take up to five years before they get to the next level for the blue belt stage is known to be one of the hardest parts in BJJ.

Purple Belt

This is considered as the intermediate stage in BJJ.

This stage is where your styles will be more defined and where you will be able to attack the opponent using good timing and movement.

Purple belt holders are better in executing a combination of techniques and presenting improved guard, submission, offensive and defensive strategies than the previous ranks.

Brown Belt

Earning a brown belt means you are now a refined fighter.

This rank is all about being an aggressive fighter who has mastered the art of shifting from defense to attack.

You now have a set of signature moves and technique variations. A brown belt fighter is one that has built a solid foundation of offense, defense and control.

Brown belt and purple belt rank is where you will also be teaching fighters from lower ranks.

A minimum of 18 months as a purple belt holder is required for a student to progress to brown belt.

Black Belt

This is the highest common belt in BJJ training and it is where you will reap the fruit of success.

Holding a black belt and being addressed as “professor” signifies expertise in all the technical and practical skills in BJJ.

Beyond Black Belt in BJJ

Coral belt (red and black) is awarded to 8th-degree black belt holders while 9th and 10th-degree black belt holders receive the well-renowned red belt and the title “grandmaster.”


Earning a belt in BJJ requires hard work and dedication but the experience and learning make all the pain worthwhile.

As you progress towards each level, it’s important to stay humble and maintain a high level of energy and motivation.