BJJ 101: The Differences Between the Belts

A handy guide that every white belt should read.

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Getting started in Jiu-Jitsu is exciting, but it can also be intimidating. When you look out on the mats for the first time and see a bunch of different belts, it can be hard to know what to make of each of them. Fortunately, once you learn more about the sport, you realize that the color of someone’s belt becomes a valuable tool that can tell you a lot about them. Here’s what to expect from each of the different belt levels in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

White

The lowest of the low. They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they don’t know. Truly the kind of person you would have nothing to do with if you had your druthers. Avoid these animals at all costs.

This is you.

Grey / Yellow / Orange / Green

Your coach does not like this person. These are belts for children, not for forty-three-year-old accountants. You do not know what they have done to deserve this belt, but pray that you never make the same mistake.

Alternatively, an actual child. They will tap you 17 times on your first roll together.

Blue

These are the wise sages, those who have been to the top of the mountain. It is natural to be in awe of their near limitless knowledge and understanding of the various positions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. To roll with a blue belt is to experience true mastery of the craft. To receive technical advice from a blue belt in the neighbouring group, especially when you did not ask for it, a gift.

Purple

Don’t expect to see them for any warmups LOLOLOLOLOLOLMAOTFLMFAOTHISISHIGHCOMEDYLOLOLOLOLšŸ¤£šŸ˜‚šŸ¤£šŸ˜‚šŸ¤£šŸ˜‚šŸ¤£šŸ˜‚šŸ¤£

Brown

Holders of all the technical knowledge required to completely and utterly embarrass you on the mats, without the piece of fabric that allows you to rationalize, “well, at least it was a black belt who kicked my ass.”

Black

In every practical sense of the word, an entirely different species from you. Whatever you are doing against them that you think is going well, it is not. They are just being nice, or more troublingly, they are just being mean and you haven’t realized how yet.

Black with Teaching Bars

The same as above, only now they expect you to call them professor and they are not joking.

Coral

Almost certainly a fascist.

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