The journey to black belt at a reputable school can take anywhere from 8-13 years depending upon how frequently a person trains, whether they take an extended period of time off, etc. Below we have included a basic outline of the requirements for each belt. In general, a person taking two classes per week will probably take about ten years to get to black belt. A more full-time student seeing 6-8 hours of training per week can reach black belt in around eight years. In the Pedro Sauer Association, a good rule of thumb is that a person training consistently can move up one belt level every two years. Keep in mind that the blue belt rank can often be achieved in one year or less, which means three years can be spent at blue belt.
Progression through the jiu-jitsu ranks involves both belts and stripes. Each belt has a black bar sewn onto the end where white promotional stripes are placed. For white belt, stripes are awarded after every 20 hours of training. Once a person has four stripes on their white belt and a minimum of 100 hours of mat time, they are eligible to test for blue belt. For blue, purple and brown belt, a stripe is placed on the bar every 100 hours. A color belt must have four stripes and a minimum of two years of consistent training to be promoted to their next belt.
Children have a separate belt ranking system that takes them through green belt. They can not achieve blue belt rank until age 16.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system
White belt is the beginning rank for all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students. White belt is the lowest ranking belt within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is the rank held by any practitioner new to the art and has no prerequisite. It is the rank immediately preceding the blue belt. Some instructors and other high-level practitioners feel that white belt is the rank where most of the student’s training emphasis should be placed on escaping and defensive positioning, as it can be argued that a white belt will do much of his or her fighting from inferior positions (especially when training with higher belts). While this may be largely true, and forms a solid training base for belts to come, most academies will require a prospective blue belt to show a well-rounded skill-set, with a knowledge of not only survival techniques, but basic offensive moves, such as common submissions and guard passes.
A general estimate of the time required to obtain a blue belt in most academies is 1 to 2 years. Blue belt is the second lowest adult rank within the most commonly accepted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grading system, bridging the way between the beginner rank of white belt and the intermediate rank of purple belt. To progress to a purple belt, a blue belt level student must acquire a vast technical knowledge regarding all aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and hundreds of hours of mat-time to know how to implement these moves efficiently. Perhaps because of this, blue belt is often known as a rank where a student collects a large number of techniques. The IBJJF requires that a practitioner be at least 16 years old to receive a blue belt (thereby officially entering into the adult belt system).
A general estimate of the time required to progress from blue belt to purple belt in most academies is 2 to 3 years. Purple belt is the intermediate adult ranking within the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, coming after the rank of blue belt and before brown belt. It is often considered one of the longer held ranks, and typically takes at least 3 years of dedicated training as a blue belt to achieve (total training time of 4-5 years from white belt). Even as an “intermediate” rank, the purple belt level practitioner holds a formidable amount of knowledge, and purple belts are generally considered qualified to instruct lower belts. In other martial arts, students with a similar amount of time and effort invested would often be ranked as a black (instructor) level belt. The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 16 years old and have spent a minimum of 2 years ranked as a blue belt to be eligible to receive a purple belt (with slightly different requirements for those transitioning straight from the youth belts).
A general estimate of the time required to progress from purple belt to brown belt in most academies is 2 to 3 years. Aside from the exceptional belts awarded at the highest levels, brown belt is the highest “color” belt rank within the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, providing a transition between the intermediate purple belt rank and the elite black belt. Brown belt is arguably the beginning of the elite ranks in and of itself, typically taking at least 5 years of dedicated training to achieve. As a transitional rank, it is often thought of as a time for refining rather than accumulation, where a practitioner hones already acquired technical and practical skills until they reach a black belt level. The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 18 years old and have spent a minimum of 1.5 years ranked as a purple belt to be eligible to receive a brown belt.
A general estimate of the time required to progress from brown belt to black belt in most academies is 2 to 3 years. As with many other martial arts, the black belt is the highest common belt within the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, denoting an expert level of technical and practical skill. Estimates vary on the time required to achieve the rank, with 10 years total (or more) an often heard estimate. No matter how many actual years are required, every Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt will have undoubtedly invested thousands of hours of mat time (randori) into the art and hold a skill-set that demonstrably reflects such. The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 19 years old and have spent a minimum of 1 year ranked as a brown belt to be eligible to receive a black belt.