Tuesday, June 13, 2006


From Wikipedia

The standards for grading and belt promotions vary between schools, but the widely accepted measures of a person's skill and rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are (1) the amount of technical knowledge they can demonstrate, and (2) their performance in sparring and competition.

Technical knowledge is judged by the number of techniques a person can perform, and the level of skill with which he performs them in sparring and competition. This allows for smaller and older people to be recognized for their knowledge though they may not be the biggest and strongest fighters in the school. It is a distinctly individual sport, and practitioners are encouraged to adapt the techniques to make them work for their body type, strategy, and level of athleticism. The ultimate criterion is the ability to execute the technique successfully, and not stylistic compliance.

Competitions play an important role in the grading of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as they allow an instructor to compare the level of his students against those of the same rank in other schools. A belt promotion may be given after success in a competition, particularly at the lower belts. A promotion might also be awarded when a person can submit most people in his school of the same rank, e.g. a white belt who consistently submits most other white belts in sparring and is starting to catch blue belts.

The high level of competition between schools and its importance to belt promotion is also considered to be one of the key factors preventing instructors from lowering standards or allowing people to buy their way up the belts.

Many instructors also take the personality of the person and their behavior outside of class into account, and may refuse to promote someone if they exhibit antisocial or destructive tendencies.

It is by these and other criteria that most instructors promote their students.

Children's belts (15 and under)

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green

Adults belts (16 and over)

  • White
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black

Some schools use slightly different belt systems, such as having more colored belts before blue belt, but the above are the only widely accepted ranks as they are the standards for tournaments.

There are minimum age requirement for belt promotions. Blue belts are never awarded to anyone under the age of 16. For promotion to black belt the minimum age is 18 years old or older according to the main regulating body of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the International Federation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Stripes may be awarded to any rank below black belt, but like the belts themselves, tend to be given at the instructor's discretion, and may be in recognition of accomplishments like noticeably improving or victories in a tournament. However, not all schools award stripes, or award them consistently, so the number of stripes a person has is not necessarily a good measure of their accomplishments or time in training. When they are used it, it is standard for a student to receive 4 stripes before being promoted to the next rank.

Black belts can receive degrees for as long as they train or teach the art. At 8th , the black belt is replaced by an alternately red and black belt. At 9th & 10th degree the belt becomes solid red. Only the founding Gracie Brothers Helio,Carlos & his brothers will ever have the 10th degree red belt. The Gracie family members who are 9th degrees belt holders are Carlson Gracie, Reylson Gracie and Rorion Gracie who was promoted on October 27, 2003 by his father Helio Gracie.


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