Does the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt expire, or can it be demoted to lower belt levels if the person does not practice actively?
In general, if you achieve a black belt once in BJJ, you are a black belt for life. However, there have been situations, where black belt returning to BJJ after a long break has demoted themselves to a more suitable belt level according to their skills.
We go through more about black belts, and whether they can be demoted or expired in this post. Let’s begin.
Does the BJJ black belt expire?
BJJ black belt does not expire, meaning if you once achieve the black belt, you can hold it for life. It is more about status, rather than the actual skill level. Especially if you take a longer break from training, you can still have your black belt, even though your skills have declined.
However, if someone who acquired a black belt a long time ago returns to BJJ mats, they might demote themselves to a more suitable belt level.
Belt colors in martial arts are more about status. They are rewards for achieving a certain skill level.
If you are an Olympic-level runner, you win the gold medal once, you are still an Olympic gold medalist, even though you retire from running.
The same applies to martial arts. The belts are achievements of skill at a given time.
Your skills in BJJ are not always the same as your belt color.
It can also depend on the gym you got your black belt. If they require you to “renew” your black belt every now and then, it’s up to them.
However, I like to see a black belt more like a trophy, like a gold medal. Once you get it, you are a gold medalist for life.
Can you have your BJJ black belt taken away?
Officially, if you acquire the black belt in BJJ once, you are a black belt for life. It is like a trophy for accomplishing a high skill level in BJJ. It can not be revoked.
To get a black belt in BJJ, you have to truly be a skilled BJJ practitioner. Even if you got banned for life from the gym, you still have your skills.
Therefore, you are still a black belt based on your skill level. That can not be taken away from you.
What to do if you are a black belt, but have taken a long break
If you are a former black/brown/purple belt in BJJ and want to return to training, just talk with your instructor.
You might be able to continue from where you left off, considering you still can learn the previously taught stuff pretty quickly.
On the other hand, you can come to an agreement that if you were a black belt previously, you start to climb up from a brown belt, or even a purple belt if it has been really long time since you last practiced BJJ and have forgotten a lot of the techniques.
Having a conversation about your belt with the instructor of the gym can help to clear things out.
How rare is BJJ’s black belt?
It is estimated that only 1% or less of people who make it to the blue belt, will continue training until they get a black belt.
Therefore, a black belt is really rare, and not many people have it. It takes a lot of time and dedication to accomplish.
Here is a post about how many BJJ black belts are there in the world.
In conclusion, BJJ black belt is like a gold medal, it’s an accomplishment and the title can not be taken away.
Black belts are not given to everybody. To achieve black belt status in BJJ, you really have to be a maste r of the art.
Nothing can take that skill away from you.
Even if you took a break from BJJ and your skills declined, you still have the title of a black belt.
I hope this was helpful, have a nice day.