Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Grading
The first point to note in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that its grading system differs to most martial arts in repect to the time periods it takes to obtain each belt. Usually, each belt in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grading system requires 2 years of training to obtain it (with the exception of the white belt, which is given to a beginner). Some of the higher belts can take up to 5 years depending on the ability of the student. This means it takes much longer than any other martial arts style to obtain a high ranked belt.
The belt rankings are split into children (under 16) and adult colors as follows:
BJJ Children grades: White, Yellow, Orange, Green
BJJ Adult grades: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black, Red*
*There is some argument whether the red belt should be included in possible rankings, as this can only be obtained at the discretion of the Gracie family. At 7th degree black belt, one can obtain a mixed black and red belt. At 9th & 10th degree, a complete solid red belt can be obtained. Even until today, the only practitioners to receive 9th degree status are: Carlson Gracie, Relson Gracie, and Rorion Gracie.
Although the grading system shown above is common across many schools, some associations / federations of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also account for a grey belt within children ranks. This is included within the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation grading rules.
The age of the student in respect to the maximum BJJ belt rank is illustrated below.
BJJ belts / grading syllabus
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grading system does not have a set specific syllabus for each belt.
So how is grading acheived? Students of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are graded based upon their skill. Most clubs do not have set grading days, instead the instructor normally promotes the student to the belt they deserve based entirely on their ability. In this respect, this style differs from many other martial arts. However it must be noted that clubs do adhere to time guidelines set by the IBJJF whereby a belt can acheived after a certain time period of continious training has passed.:
Notes on IBJJF time periods:
To grade as a purple belt at 16 years of age it is required that the student has spent at least 2 years as a green belt
To grade as a purple belt at 17 years of age it is required that the student has spent at least 1 year as a green belt and 1 year as blue belt
To grade directly from green belt to purple belt, the minimum time required before he/she can be awarded the brown belt is 2 years
In order to be graded black belt at 19 years of age it is required that the student has spent at least 1 year as a brown belt
Grading from blue to purple has a minimum time period of 2 years
Grading from purple to brown has a minimum time period of 18 months
A minimum of 1 year is required to grade from brown to black and a student has to be over 19 years old.
Some schools may award stripes, or tags for each belt (except black). These are given based on performance in gradings and also at the instructors discretion of your performance and skills over the course of your training. Examples of this are showing dedication, being able to carry out the techniques fluidly or even achievements in tournaments. It is very common for a student to receive 4 stripes before obtaining the next belt.
A typical BJJ syllabus