How do Jiu Jitsu belts levels and colors work and what do they mean?

Discover the rich history of the Jiu jitsu belt colors and levels system and what it represents today.

Jiu-Jitsu belt colors 101: Understanding the ranking system and its significance

Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that originated in Japan and has been popularized in recent years due to its effectiveness in mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions. The art is characterized by its use of leverage and submission holds, allowing practitioners to defeat opponents who are larger and stronger.

One of the defining features of Jiu-Jitsu is its ranking system, which is based on a series of colored belts. The ranking system is used to indicate a practitioner’s level of skill and experience, with the white belt being the lowest rank and the black belt being the highest.

The ranking system for Jiu-Jitsu has several belt levels, each with its own distinct color:

Jiu Jitsu Belt Colors

jiu jitsu belt colors explained

Jiu-Jitsu White belt:

  • The starting rank for all new practitioners. It is a symbol of innocence and represents a blank slate, as the practitioner has no knowledge or experience of the art.

Jiu-Jitsu Blue belt:

  • The first rank after the white belt, it represents the beginning of one’s journey in the art. The blue belt is the first level where practitioners are expected to have a good understanding of the basics and begin to develop their own style.

Jiu-Jitsu Purple belt:

  • The purple belt is considered an advanced rank, and indicates that the practitioner has a good understanding of the techniques and is able to apply them in sparring. At this level, the practitioner is expected to be able to teach and help lower-ranked students.
    The purple belt signifies a major milestone in the student’s journey, representing a point where they have the skills and knowledge to begin passing on the art to others.

Jiu-Jitsu Brown belt:

  • The brown belt is considered an expert level rank, and is often used as a stepping stone to the black belt. Brown belts are expected to have a deep understanding of the art and be able to teach it to others effectively. They have a much more nuanced understanding of the art and have developed their own unique style. The brown belt is a symbol of mastery, representing a point where the student has truly honed their skills and knowledge to a high level.

Jiu-Jitsu Black belt:

  • The black belt is the highest rank in Jiu-Jitsu, and symbolizes mastery of the art. Black belts are expected to be able to teach and lead others, and have a deep understanding of the technical and philosophical aspects of the art. The black belt is a symbol of the ultimate goal of a practitioner: to become a true master of the art. Beyond that, it is also a symbol of dedication, perseverance, and self-improvement, that’s why receiving a black belt is usually a significant achievement.

Jiu Jitsu Belts colors with stripes in Jiu-Jitsu:

Each belt also has a certain number of stripes that can be earned as the practitioner progresses to the next level. This is a way to show their progress and their time spent on the certain belt level.

The history of the colored belt system in Jiu-Jitsu can be traced back to the early 20th century. The founder of the Kodokan Judo, Jigoro Kano, wanted to create a clear and objective way to measure the progress of his students. Kano developed a ranking system based on colored belts, with white as the lowest rank and black as the highest. The other colors were gradually added later as the system evolved.

Jiu jitsu belt colors & levels overview:

Belt Color Meaning
White Innocence and represents a blank slate,
Yellow it represents the continuation of the journey in the art.
Blue represents the beginning of one’s journey in the art
Purple Purple
Brown Stepping stone to the black belt
Black Black

This is just a brief overview of the belts and ranking system in Jiu-Jitsu, and there is much more to learn and explore in this deep and fascinating art. This also doesn’t cover all the variations that different organization, gym or even countries may have. But generally this is the standard ranking system that is used.

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