What Do The Various Belts Mean?

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the progression through different belts indicates a level of competency for the student with a mastery of both technical knowledge and demonstrated ability when sparring.  It can take many students years to make it all of the way to a black belt.  The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu system is unique in that the requirements are often strict and necessitate tremendous amount of practice.

White Belt – this is the first step in your Jiu Jitsu journey.  Everyone begins the program as a white belt.  The primary expectation for people at this level is to begin to learn the fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu.  In order to move beyond this level most instructors will require students to demonstrate a competency in moves from various ground positions, escapes from the bottom, and specific mechanics to certain moves.

Blue Belt – this is the phase where most students begin to find their personal style of Jiu Jitsu.  Students now have a pretty solid understanding of a variety of basic positions and techniques and will start to determine which guard type and submission position best suits them.  We encourage blue belt students to focus on defense.  Before moving to the next level students should be able to escape from all of the major positions and classic submissions relatively easily.

Purple Belt – this is the level where students really become masters of their skills.  Many hours will be spent sparring in order to move past this level.  You should have a solid understanding of what your game is and now be ready to start developing combination attacks and setups. You will focus on using your momentum, and that of your opponents, to achieve your goals. This is also the time to work closely with your instructor to identify your areas of weakness and really focus on improving them.

Brown Belt – this is the time to shift focus from defense to offense.  At this point your defensive skills should be so strong that you feel confident in your ability to handle attacks. You will begin to be aggressive in pursuing submissions, sweeps, and passes.   There should be very few situations that present to you at this point that you are unfamiliar with.  You have now been exposed to every potential situation.  During this phase every skill that you’ve acquired from the very beginning to now should be refined to the highest level.

Black Belt – this is often called “the belt of mastery”. Most black belts have mastered all of the most basic and advanced techniques and are now focused on executing with efficiency and precision. They have mastery of their techniques from both the right and left side. Most black belts are incredibly in tune with their body and are able to spar primarily from intuition.

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