A common question among beginners in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is how long it will take to get their first stripe.
This will vary from person to person, as this depends on how many hours they spend training, athletic ability, and the BJJ coach.
A lot of BJJ beginners want to know how many classes they need to take to get their first stripe, but this also varies widely.
We’ll cover this question below, including the factors that can affect how quickly you can earn a stripe, and how to know if you’re improving and making progress with the sport.
If you want to learn more about getting your first BJJ stripe, keep reading!
What Are BJJ Stripes?
A BJJ stripe is a white piece of cloth that is attached to your belt. These stripes display how skilled that BJJ athlete is.
For instance, a white belt with 1 stripe indicates less experience compared to a white belt with 3 stripes.
Coaches will award stripes to BJJ athletes to show how they’ve progressed in training.
You can earn a maximum of four stripes until you can progress to the following BJJ belt.
Earning different BJJ belts can take a lot of time, which is why progress stripes were made.
These ensure that students are kept motivated during their training, rather than being frustrated staying on a single belt for years.
Stripes are good for focusing on achieving shorter-term goals, while belts are better for attaining long-term ones.
BJJ stripes also help students in larger schools, as they make it easier to track the progress among many individuals.
How Many Classes Are Needed To Earn A BJJ Stripe?
It can take anywhere from 24 to 72 classes to earn a BJJ stripe, which is an average of 36 classes.
If you were to train three times a week, it would take 3 months to complete 36 classes.
Keep in mind that it’s hard to assess how many classes you’ll need to take to earn a stripe. Stripes are based on several factors, like technical proficiency.
You can take a hundred classes, but if you don’t improve, your coach won’t award you a stripe.
Everyone learns differently, but our bodies and brain need enough time to learn techniques and movements.
If you’re a beginner, it’s better to space out your sessions instead of cramming them in.
For example, training twice a day will burn you out, but you’ll learn the techniques better if you train once each day a few times a week.
How To Earn BJJ Stripes
You earn a BJJ stripe if your coach awards you one. Your BJJ coach will see whether your skill and effort have improved over time.
If they deem that your progression is sufficient enough, they will award you a stripe.
Your school might have particular standards that you must meet before you can earn a stripe, like competing or carrying out several advanced movements.
In most cases though, the decision will be up to your coach. Here are some of the factors that affect whether you will earn your first stripe:
The amount of time you’ve spent training is very important if you want to earn your first BJJ stripe.
It can take a lot of time to learn BJJ, so you’ll need to spend many hours training to progress to a beginner stripe level.
On average, it takes 54 hours of training to obtain your first stripe.
If you were to train three times a week, this would work out to three months, assuming each session lasted for 1 and a half hours.
You might take longer or shorter to complete 54 hours of training.
If you commit, you could complete 54 hours within one or two months, so you might be able to receive the first stripe earlier than other beginners.
Technical expertise is one of the most significant criteria you need to meet to earn a stripe.
This is assessed on how well you can carry out BJJ techniques when rolling and drilling.
If you want to earn your first BJJ stripe, you’ll need to perform several standard movements with good technique.
Some of these movements include:
- Roll forward and backward
- Several takedowns
- Several passing movements
- Several sweeps
- Several side control and mount escapes
- Escape from hips
If you have an athletic background, it might be easier for you to earn your first stripe compared to others without an athletic history.
For instance, if you have ever performed martial arts in the past, you might earn a stripe after a few training sessions.
BJJ has several crossovers with sports like Judo and wrestling. A Judo black belt, for instance, corresponds to a blue belt in BJJ.
Try not to be discouraged if you notice people with martial arts training earn their stripes faster.
It’s best to focus on your journey and use people on your experience level as a benchmark instead.
How To Know If You’re Progressing Enough In BJJ
Earning stripes and belts can take up a lot of time, so it can be hard to assess whether you’ve progressed enough during a particular period.
You can know whether you’re getting better at BJJ by seeing how you fare against your opponents.
Were you struggling more or less than the last time you fought a blue belt? Did you manage to beat a beginner on their white belt?
You can also see how easily certain techniques come to you.
The Bottom Line
Remember that stripes and belts are just indicators of your skill.
Focusing on the stripe can make it easy to forget about what you’re learning each session.
It’s better to be a white belt who can fight against blue belts, than a blue belt who gets beaten by several white belts.
It’s best to concentrate on performing the best you can with each session, performing the movements correctly, and having fun learning a new sport.
The time will pass soon enough, and hopefully, you’ll notice a lot more stripes on your belt compared to before!