Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Belt System (FULL GUIDE)

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of those sports, that reward athletes with cool belt colors.

There are 5 main belt colors in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. On average, it takes around 10 years of training to achieve the black belt, which is usually the highest point people will reach by training. On top of the regular 5 belts, there are also a coral belt and a red belt.

Let’s dive deeper into the belt colors, belt order, and time to achieve each belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu!

How does the Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt system work?

In BJJ, there are 5 main belt colors and on top of those, 2 after the black belt. However, the 5 main colors are the most common and the two latter are very rare. The colors and order of Brazilian jiu-jitsu belts are:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Red & Black
  • Red

We will focus more on the first 5 in this post since the red & black and red are not so relevant to everybody. It’s still good to know that there are belts even after a blackbelt. However, for most people, a black belt is as far as they will get. Don’t get me wrong, a black belt is still a very nice achievement.

Your BJJ journey starts off with a white belt. There are really no requirements to getting a white belt more than signing on for a gym membership. Let’s dive into how long it takes to get each belt.

How long to get each belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

As I mentioned above, the amount of time it takes to achieve different belts depends on so many factors. So, in this calculation, we will use achievable averages to calculate, how long it would take on average.

Let’s do the calculations based on 4 hours per week of training. If you train more, you can adjust the calculations based on your numbers. You can also train less and adjust downwards. Keep in mind that these are not rules, just estimates to give you some kind of image of how long it would take to get each belt.

4 hours a week might sound like a lot, and for some, 2 hours would be more realistic. Again, it all depends on you how fast you can progress, but these are averages based on stats I found online after doing some research.

There can also be differences between different gyms on how fast they hand out promotions. Even though it is supposed to be universal, there are differences.

How long to get a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

To get a blue belt in BJJ, you need an average of 400 hours of mat time which translates to around two years of training time. This means everything from training in new techniques to sparring and such.

How long to get a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Getting a purple belt in BJJ takes around 1000 hours of training since the white belt. This translates to 5 years of training, 4 hours per week.

From blue belt to purple belt, it takes around 600 hours, which equals to 3 years of training, 4 hours per week on average.

How long to get a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

To get a brown belt in BJJ, you need around 1600 hours of training since starting BJJ. This equals to 8 years of training since the beginning.

Going from purple belt to brown belt requires an average of 600 hours of mat time, taking somewhere around 3 years based on 4 hours of training per week.

How long to get a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Getting a black belt in BJJ takes around 2200 hours of training from the beginning. With 4 hours of training a week, it would take around 11 years to get a black belt. Usually, it is said, that it takes around 10 years of continuous training to get a black belt.

Going from brown belt to black belt takes on average 600 hours of training, which translates to 3 years of training, 4 hours per week.

How does the stripe system work in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Some BJJ gyms use stripe systems in addition to belt colors. My BJJ gym used this as well. Some might not. There are 4 stripes between belt colors as additional checkpoints.

In short, the stripe system shows progress in each belt color before the next. If you go from white to blue, you first get your first stripe to your white belt, then another, then the third, then the fourth, and after the fourth, you get promoted to blue belt.

The belts have the black bar in them; that is where the stripes usually come in. You don’t need to buy a new belt for each stripe. It will be added to your current belt.

More about the stripes, requirements, and timelines in this post.

What things impact how fast you upgrade your BJJ belt?

A lot of things matter when talking about belt colors and achieving higher colors. These factors might be:

  • Time on mat
  • Age
  • How athletic are you
  • Injuries/breaks
  • Your instructors

Starting with the time spent on the mat training. This is probably the biggest factor; it is simply up to you how much time you can spend training. Using the 4 hours per week average, as we did on the calculations on how long it would take to achieve each belt, that can be too little for someone, too much for another. Find balance in what is the best place for you.

Age is another thing that plays a role and it can matter in ways such as you have other things to do, meaning you have less time to dedicate to training or you are not as athletic as you could be. You can train BJJ at any age. You are not too young or too old to start BJJ.

How athletic you are is another factor. If you are in better shape, you can train more efficiently and therefore potentially progress faster.

Injuries are part of the sport as well. You might have to miss a week or two from training due to injury or just simply take a vacation. These things can impact your belt progress as well.

Instructors play a big part as well. Depending on how skilled they are and how well they can teach everything matters as well. If someone is bad at teaching, it is harder to learn. It is that simple. With good instructors, you might progress faster.

Final thoughts

These were the BJJ belts.

You can get a black belt a lot faster than in 10 years. That takes a lot of dedication. Some people have achieved black belts in 3 years or so, but it is not common. It could also take you 20 years and that would be fine as well.

You should only compare yourself to what you were yesterday. If someone manages to get a black belt in 7 years, nice! You don’t have to do that as well. Progress and train the way it suits you the best.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not all about belts. They sure are a nice indicator of your progress over time, but there is a lot more to it. The competitions, the time spent training, all the techniques you learn, and the belt color just come along with it. Don’t put too much pressure on your belt color, but rather focus on your progress in the sport overall.

Here is the guide for junior belts in BJJ.

Other BJJ-related posts can be found here.

Hopefully this was helpful to you, have a nice day.

What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that focuses on ground fighting. This means it focuses on taking the fight to the ground and finishing the fight with joint locks or chokeholds. Brazilian jiu-jitsu was developed around 1920’s, and was modified from judo. Nowadays, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an essential martial art for MMA.

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