The Jiu Jitsu belt system was developed to show the students progression throughout the sport, giving a visual representation of their skills. Belts and stripes can only be given by black belt instructors that have typically watched the student grow over the years.
Jiu Jitsu has 8 Belts in total for adults with 4 other belts for kids under the age of 16. This belt system has been in place for generations and is the foundation of your progress through Jiu Jitsu.
White belt is where every Jiu Jitsu practitioner begins. It is not only the first belt in the Jiu Jitsu system, but also a symbolic marker of the journey that every student goes through at some point in their journey.
The blue belt is the 2nd Rank in Jiu Jitsu and marks hundreds of hours on the mats, but also shows that the student understands all the fundamentals and understand how to apply these techniques properly. The average blue belt is said to be able to easily take down a larger untrained opponent.
The purple belt shows the Jiu Jitsu practitioner has refined their skills to an expert level, which often leads them to instructing. Purple belt still takes many years of training, at an average of 4-6 years of mat experience to reach this level.
Brown belt requires between 5-8 years of experience and is typically a time when the practitioner works to refine their skills. This practitioner typically is working on the small details that a lesser belt may not be able to identify, but also gaining valuable experience.
Like most martial arts, black belt is the highest belt that is typically awarded. Black belt shows advanced mastery of Jiu Jitsu, not only in execution, but also in instruction. The rank of Black Belt can take more than a decade, but shows great dedication to the art.
This is awarded when the jiu jitsu black belt reaches his 7th degree.
This is awarded when the jiu jitsu black belt reaches his 8th degree.
Royler and Renzo Gracie described the red belt as one of the greatest honors in Jiu Jitsu and is reserved for the practitioners that have influenced the sport and pushed the limits. This can be done either by their fame & accomplishments, techniques, or any other relevant contribution they have made to the sport.
Stripes are markers in your journey that signify where you are within that belt rank. Each stripe brings you closer to the next belt, but also signifies that you are progressing within that belt rank. Typically, there are 4 stripes and at the 5th stripe earned students would be promoted to the next belt level.
Additionally, stripes help keep students motivated in their journey as well as letting them know they are progressing. The jiu jitsu journey takes many years, and it is helpful to have these markers in place to show the path as well as motivate others around the student to work for the same goal.
Just like with the adults, all students no matter the age start at white belt. This is the most common belt in Jiu Jitsu and signifies the journey the student is about to embark on.
Grey Belt is an intermediate belt, with typically a year or more of training. This belt shows that the child is understanding fundamentals and has a commitment to jiu jitsu.
Yellow belt is the middle of the pack when it comes to kids jiu jitsu. This belt shows the student has a strong understanding of fundamentals but also has the ability to chain attacks and defense together.
Orange belt is the first of the advanced belt in children’s jiu jitsu belts. The orange belt shows strong technique and typically is reserved for kids that are active in competitions as well as many hours on the mats.
Green belt is the highest belt for kids under the age of 16. This shows that the student understands the technique, is active in competition and is ready for the next level once age permits.
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Is Jiu-Jitsu considered a Sport?
Jiu-Jitsu is gaining popularity worldwide ever since the Gracie’s entered into the UFC. Many people have not seen it as a sport in the past due to its technical movements and the inability to understand what is happening. However, with the UFC and many other mixed martial arts competitions, Jiu-Jitsu has become more of a household familiarity.
Let us take a second and break down a few of the reasons people tend to be misled.
At the highest levels Jiu Jitsu takes extreme athletic ability and strategy, this alone would lead one to believe it would be considered a sport of its own. However, with the lack of understanding of the sport to the mainstream audience we can see how it could be overlooked.
As competitions grow around the globe, and MMA gains in popularity, the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu is evident. People have a tendency to look at Jiu Jitsu during an MMA match as boring, when a grounded fighter is controlling the pace, but not striking, when in reality you have 2 world class athletes in a combat situation, where the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is in control.
In most professional sports a strategy playing upon your strengths is always praised, however, as Jiu-Jitsu is not always as flashy as striking it can be off putting to some spectators.
Many mixed martial arts fans tend to look down upon certain jiu-jitsu techniques as they are specific to the sport and not applied directly to MMA. For example, you would not compare the game of Cricket to the game of Baseball and expect the players to be able to transfer sports. Sure, the players could have some success based on athletic abilities, but that is where the abilities would stop. It is essentially apples to oranges or Jiu-Jitsu to Karate, they simply are not the same.
Jiu-Jitsu is an artform in itself, and a sport of its own, as there is no other combat sport that you can live drill at 100% without damaging your opponent. As Jiu-Jitsu grows it is important for the spectators to understand what is happening, and just like any sport there are highs and lows. In Jiu-Jitsu it is not uncommon in competition for athletes to play for points over submission.
These points focused tournaments are becoming less and less as time goes along, and promoters realized that it may not be the most interesting event for the novice spectator. With the invention of Sub Only and EBI rulesets this greatly expanded the excitement and gave jiu-jitsu competitions more of an edge that was once previously lacking in traditional IBJJF ruleset competitions.
In conclusion, lets face it, Jiu Jitsu is a sport of its own, and hopefully one day we see it in the Olympics. Not only are the athletes at a world class level who cross train and occasionally transition to MMA, but as a global sport it is growing more and more each day.
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