HOW DO YOU GET PROMOTED IN JIUJITSU?
How do you get promoted in Jiujitsu? This is a commonly asked question by new parents and students. Jiujitsu is unlike other martial arts when it comes to a grading system. The sport is continuously evolving so there isn’t a set system that every academy follows. Each academy will grade students and graduate them how they feel fits best. However, there is a set belt system that is used across the board. Let’s start there.
HOW DOES THE BELT SYSTEM WORK?
There are quite a few belts to get through if you begin as a child. Once you’ve completed all those you’ll go through the belts for adults. The belts for kids and teens are as follows: white, gray, yellow, orange and lastly green. For each colored belt there are three different belts. A white striped belt, a solid colored belt and a black striped belt. For example, the student would first receive a gray and white belt, then a solid gray belt and lastly a gray and black belt. One of the reasons they created this system is because kids began training at such a young age that it was taking a long time for them to graduate to the next belt. A belt promotion is viewed as a sign of improvement and an incentive to keep training so this was discouraging for both students and parents under the old belt system. So rather than being promoted once every 2-3 years kids are now being promoted every year instead.
The belt colors for adults is different. Under the IBJJF belt system which is recognized as the official belt system for jiujitsu, you are eligible for a blue belt the year you turn sixteen. If a student is a fifteen year old green belt they’d receive their blue belt next. If a person started at or after sixteen years of age they’d go from white to blue belt and not from white to grey belt. The belts for adults are: white, blue, purple, brown and lastly black. Once you’ve reached black belt you will only be promoted according to years spent active at black belt which you can read more about here in article 4. The belts then go from black belt to red and black, red and white and lastly, red belt.
As stated earlier, Jiujitsu is one of the most difficult martial arts to earn your next belt in. In arts like Kenpo, Karate and Judo it is common to see kids or teens that are black belts. That is not the case in Jiujitsu. You must be sixteen years or older to receive a blue or purple belt. Eighteen years or older to receive a brown belt and Nineteen years or older to receive your black belt. IBJJF has recently changed their graduation requirements and there are now exceptions for each belt that you can read about here in article 3, page 9. If you do not meet any of those exceptions, you must stay at blue belt for at least two years, at purple belt for one year and a half and at brown belt for one year.
There is a suggested way to conduct graduation for kids by IBJJF that you can read about here. However, it is up to the professor to decide how they want to grade and promote their student.
HOW DO YOU GET A PROMOTED AT HYBRID JIUJITSU?
There are several different ways that you are able to receive a new belt in Jiujitsu. Some academies have a required amount of classes that you must attend. Others have a list of techniques you must learn for each belt. There are also instructors that conduct tests for each belt. There are special occasions where athletes are promoted on the podium after winning a big tournament. We do have a high standard for grading at Hybrid. While we do follow the minimum time requirements by IBJJF, we also grade mainly on: Knowledge, Effectiveness, Growth and Consistency in your attendance.
Let’s talk about knowledge, effectiveness and growth. Our students are introduced to many different techniques here at Hybrid. We have two lead instructors with very different games so we teach our students a little of everything. We also teach using a system that enables our students to learn at a steady pace so we expect them to absorb(this knowledge) and effectively use these techniques while training or competing. We also look for diversity and growth in their game. What are our students doing with all of this knowledge we are sharing? If we see students doing the same techniques and not expanding their game it will likely take longer for them to be promoted. We want to know that our students have a good understanding, competence and execution of the jiujitsu we are teaching.
Lastly, we do look for consistency in attendance. If a student is only attending 1-2 classes a week or training 3-5 classes a week but taking weeks/months off at a time, it’ll take much longer for this student to be promoted. Graduation for jiujitsu is a lot like school, you can not go to the next grade level if you have exceeded your absences or missed lessons. You need to consistently attend classes and complete your lessons to be able to be promoted.
This was a lot of information to digest but I hope that it helped you better understand how to get promoted in jiujitsu. In closing, keep in mind that if you want to progress through the belt system at our academy(or yours), be consistent. Jiujitsu is a marathon and not a sprint. There will be some hard days that make you want to stop but there will be so many good days too. A new belt may seem like it’s the reward but it’s the journey that counts the most. Everything you learn, the people you meet, the changes you make within yourself on and off the mats that you’ll carry with you forever.