Getting Your First Stripe In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a popular martial art that is loved and trained by millions of people all over the world.

It is known for being a martial art that takes a bit longer to progress through the belts and because of this, it has fewer belts than other martial arts.

Getting Your First Stripe In Brazillian Jiu Jitsu

Aside from progressing through the belts, you can also get stripes to add to your belts… but what exactly are stripes, and how long does it take to get your first one?

In this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about getting your first stripe and what stripes mean in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your First Stripe?

You cant get your first stripe until you’ve earned your first belt, and your first belt will be white.

It takes on average about 3 to 6 months to get your white belt, so you’ll be looking at that sort of time range/just a few months longer than that before you get your first stripe.

You’ll have to depend on your ability to learn techniques, you’re previous experience, athletic ability, and how frequently you actually attend your classes.

When you have a good mix of these things going on, you’re guaranteed to progress to your first stripes faster.

What Does A Stripe Mean In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

If you’re new to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you might be wondering what a stripe on your belt even means.

Stripes are a way to measure your progress in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There are usually 4 stripes you need to earn before you progress to the next belt.

The only exception is the black belt, where the ranking changes up a little bit.

The reason the black belt is different is that instead of four stripes, you’ll periodically earn six. They are referred to as ranks at this point.

It takes considerably longer to earn your black belt stripes though.

To get the first stripe or rank, you have to have been a black belt for a minimum of three years before you’re even eligible.

It is important to note though that some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies don’t even use the stripe system. It purely depends on each academy.

You’ll have to do your own research on individual academies to work out if they use the stripe system.

The Criteria For Getting Your First Stripe

In order to get your first stripe, there are a couple of things you need to do to make sure you’ve done or achieved before you can even be considered for it.

Make sure you meet these criteria before you go for your first stripes.

Athletic Ability

Athletic Ability

Though you can build up your athletic ability as you train more, if you already have an athletic background before you start training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it will work to your advantage.

Those who already have the athletic ability will progress through their stripes faster than those who are starting from the beginning.

Demonstrating Techniques

In order to receive your first stripe, you will need to know certain techniques. Without these techniques, you cannot hope to achieve your first stripe.

Once you have mastered these techniques, you will be required to demonstrate them.

Spend A Lot Of Time On The Mats

It might seem like this wouldn’t help, but the more time you spend training on the mats and in your classes, the faster you’re likely to earn your stripes.

Your teacher will notice if you’re putting more time and effort into your training, they are more likely to put you up for your first stripe.

Having Previous Experience From Other Sports

Though this isn’t essential if you’ve already got experience in other sports or activities such as yoga, wrestling, or football, those skills will help you progress faster towards earning your first stripe.

But even if you don’t have previous sports experience, getting your first stripe is extremely achievable, it just might take you slightly longer.

How You’ll Know You’re Getting Close To Your First Stripe

You don’t have to be completely in the dark about when you’re close to getting your first stripe.

A good way of noticing if you’re close to getting your first stripe is if you notice yourself starting to use basic techniques in certain positions and rolls.

You’ll also notice that you’re getting closer to earning your first stripe when your movements and drills become more fluid and you’ve got more confidence in remembering and performing them.

Basically, if you notice that you’re truly improving on the basic skills, techniques, and drills and you’re starting to get good at them, it will be a strong indicator that you’re close to earning your first stripe.

So if you do notice this, don’t lose your momentum and keep going!

Don’t Chase Your First Stripe

The biggest thing you need to make sure of when you’re looking to gain your first stripe is to remember not to chase it.

There’s no point obsessing over it or putting yourself in a position where you can disappoint yourself because you haven’t got it yet.

Everyone progresses at a different rate, so if you’ve been training about the same amount of time as someone else and they get their first stripe before you do, it just means you need more time.

This also doesn’t mean that you’re not as good as them!

This is why it’s better to just focus on honing your skills rather than chasing the first stripe, because when it does come, you’ll be nothing but happy and proud of yourself.


Getting your first stripe on your white belt is quite the accomplishment that all white belt practitioners look forward to.

It shows that you are progressing in your training and you’re starting to build up your skills.

While it will take you a few months to achieve, it will be worth the wait and energy you put into it.

Just be patient and put the work in that you need to and you’ll have your first stripe in no time!

Christopher Anderson
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