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BJJ Belt System: Everything to Know

One of the most distinguished parts about martial arts is earning belts as you level up your skills. One of the most well known belt systems in martial arts belongs to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. When you participate in BJJ with a Gi, you will earn up to 5 belts as you progress: white, blue, purple, brown and finally black. Each colored belt represents the skills and knowledge one should have at that level. In some more traditional gyms, the belts also help determine the order people participate in drills and exercises. Certain schools will also only allow you to coach or train when you hit a certain belt level. In this guide we’ll go in depth to every belt color in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What Order do BJJ Belts Go In?

The BJJ belts system has 5 main levels and 1 special level that only a handful of practitioners have ever achieved. The five main levels and special level belt includes:

  • White belt
  • Blue belt
  • Purple belt
  • Brown belt
  • Black belt
  • Red and White (coral) belt
A graphic showing the different belts in the bjj belt system for adults. White belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and black belt
BJJ belts & stripes, white, blue, purple, brown and black

How Does the Belt System in BJJ Work?

The BJJ belt system is a merit-based system that relies on promotions handed out by coaches and masters of a gym. There is no official “test” or way to detemrine when someone should be promoted and is at the discretion of your coach. Coach’s will have varying philosophies on when they deem someone ready for the next belt.

Some professors may use a period of time to determine. For example, after 2 years a white belt may be ready for a promotion to blue belt. Other professors may use competition as a benchmark. For example, competing and doing well at your belt level may give your coach confidence you’re ready for the next belt.Most coaches will use a combination of both time and skill to determine when you are ready for your promotion.


To denote progress being made within a belt, coaches will usually hand out stripes. For the most part, there will be 4 stripes between each belt. Depending on the belt in question, the time between stripes can be a few months or even a few years. Stripes are generally handed out with the same criteria as belts, mainly time and skill level.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Blue Belt?

The blue belt is one of the most coveted belts in the BJJ belt system because it is the first belt in the promotion ladder. It signifies a white belt is no longer a novice at the sport and ready to challenge more experienced competitors. One of the most frequent questions white belts will ask though is ‘how long does it take to get their blue belt’. The answer according to this survey is 2 years and 7 months for the average white belt. In my own personal experience, I was promoted to blue belt after year and 2 months and have known most white belts to get their blue belt within 18 months.

This can depend on a lot of factors however and thus why the average is around 2 years and 7 months . Generally if a white belt can train 3-4x per week for a year to 18 months, you should be able to get your blue belt within that time frame. However if you are unable to train that much, perhaps 1-2x per week you are going to progress a lot slower. Injuries (or a global pandemic) can also impact how long it takes you to get your blue belt.

Changing schools as a white belt can also impact how long it takes to get a blue belt. When you change schools and professors, it may take a while for your new professor to assess your skills and determine when you should be promoted. Unless absolutely necessary, I would recommend staying at your school until you are promoted.

Do You Need to Compete to Get a Blue Belt?

Some schools will require you to compete to get your next belt but most won’t. Even if your gym doesn’t require it, competing in local tournaments is a great way to speed up your development as a jiu jitsu practitioner and thus speed up how long it takes for you to get stripes and belts.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Purple Belt in BJJ?

According to that same survey above, the average blue belt will get promoted to purple after 3 years and 4 months. The journey from blue to purple belt tends to be a longer journey than the one from white belt to blue. A challenge when moving from blue to purple belt is the wide range of skills you will encounter along the wya. An experienced blue belt may have upwards of 4 years total experience while a new blue belt may have 2 years or less total experience. Many blue belts will also quitor st or stop coming to class when achieving their blue belt – a phenomenon call ‘blue belt blues’.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Brown Belt in BJJ?

The time from purple belt to brown belt is of similar length as the journey from blue to purple belt – around 3 years which means it takes around 8-9 years of consistent practice and jiu jitsu mat time to get your brown belt. Very few jiu jitsu practitioners will go on to achieve their brown belt. It requires a high level of commitment and dedication. Some luck to not get injuries. As well as the time to be able to find mat time and train.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Black Belt in BJJ?

The ultimate goal in jiu jitsu is getting your black belt, which generally takes 12 years on average from the moment you get your white belt. The journey from borwn belt to black belt generally takes around 3 years. Becoming a black belt in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu requires a mix of lots of determination and skill. You should be able to point to some success in competition and a demonstrated history of high level skills.

Can You Get a Black Belt in a Few Years?

Demain Maia received his black belt after 4 years of training and is considered amongst the greatest grapplers in UFC history

It is possible (and it happens all the time) to receive a black belt in less than 10-12 years. That is considered average. Those who are highly committed ot the sport and able to train 5-6 times per week could receive a black belt in 6 to 8 years.

Those with exceptional talent and can compete in high level competition (IBJJF national tournaments) can even earn a black belt in as short as 5 years. Famed and legendary UFC fighter Demian Maia received his black belt after 4 years of training. If you are reading this however, most likely you are not Damien Maia and should not expect to achieve a black belt in 3 or 4 years.

What is After Black Belt?

Many black belts will actually say their BJJ journey only began when they got their black belt. The color belts stop after getting your black ( with exception of the red belt) but the stripes a black belt earns can basically be considered belts as they take many years to achieve. A black belt can earn up to 6 stripes before they would be promoted to a red belt. Each stripe takes about 3 years of practice to earn. Each stripe gives a black belt another “degree”. So a black belt with 3 stripes is considered a 3rd degree black belt.

Red and Black Belt and Coral Belt

When it comes time to earning a 7th degree and eight degree black belt (which would take on average 30-40 years!!) you are instead promoted to a red and black belt. When you go for your 9th degree black belt you are given a corral belt aka red belt. There are only a handful of red belts in the world and they are considered “grand masters” of the sport.

Kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Belts

In children’s BJJ, the belt system is slightly different. The traditional adult belt system goes white belt to blue belt promotion. Adults. In kid’s BJJ, they will go from a white belt to a gray belt. From a gray belt they be promoted to yellow and then orange and finally green belt before they resume onto blue belt after they turn 16 years old.

Kids will only usually go through the entire spectrum of kid’s belts if they start very young (around ages 4-6). If your child starts BJJ at 14 years old for example, they will likely only progress from white belt to gray belt and then be able to skip to blue belt as soon as they turn 16 years old. A 15 year old green belt who has been practicing BJJ for 5 or so years will have around the same proficiency as an adult purple belt (minus any differences in size and maturity).

What is the Hardest Belt to Get in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

There is no such thing as the “hardest” belt to get in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Each rank comes with its own set of challenges. Some practitioners may experience an injury or a delay in their training between two belts, thus making that the hardest belt for them to achieve. A blue belt may experience the blue belt blues and may say the promotion from blue to purple belt was the hardest. It all depends on the person.

BJJ Belt System vs Other Systems

The BJJ colors and order are unique to the sport. Tae Kwon Do and Judo are also two martial arts that have belt systems. Tae Kwon Do however has more colors. Judo is similar to Jiu Jitsu but the color order is different and there is a greater emphasis on the degrees or Dans after getting a black belt which is more equivalent to a purple or brown belt in BJJ.


How Many Belts are There in BJJ?

There are 5 belts (white, blue, purple, brown, black) in adult BJJ and 5 belts (white, gray, yellow, orange, green) in kids BJJ

What Belt is Joe Rogan?

Joe Rogan is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

What Order Do BJJ Belts Go In?

White, blue, purple, brown and black

How Long Does it Take to Get a Belt in BJJ

The average time is 2-3 years between belts depending on your school and level of training