How Many Stripes Are There On A BJJ Belt? (Meaning Explained)

Have you recently started BJJ training and want to know how many stripes there are on a belt? Perhaps you have earned your first stripe and want to know how many more you can get?

Or are you curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!

How Many Stripes Are There On A BJJ Belt?

Understanding how the BJJ belt and its stripes work can be tricky, especially if you are new to the sport.

The martial art and combat sport involves getting your opponent to the ground and keeping them there through a series of techniques including joint locks and chokeholds.

That is clear enough to understand, but how many stripes are there on a BJJ belt? That question can send us into a tizzy, and with no one giving us a straight answer, we can be overwhelmed before we know it! 

But no more! Today, we are here with the answers that you need. Just keep reading to find out how many stripes there are on a BJJ belt and everything else you need to know! 

What Is A BJJ Belt?

Before we get into today’s article, let’s have a quick recap for those that need it! A BJJ belt is a belt tied around a fighter’s waist.

The belts are used to signify someone’s ranking in the sport. This is done with colors primarily. The lowest ranking is white, with the highest being black. Other colors include blue, purple, brown, and red. 

Each time a person moves up a rank, they get a new belt. Moving up rankings is done through exams which fighters can usually take at their local class.

These fighters will also often compete in competitions with other fighters of the same rank to help them improve their techniques and put their skills into practice. 

The belt is an integral part of the BJJ uniform, just like we see in other martial arts like Karate and Judo. 

What Do The Stripes Mean On A BJJ Belt?

The stripes on a BJJ student’s belt indicate their level within the rank. So along with the color rankings, there are levels within each rank. The more stripes the student has, the higher level in the ranking they are. 

Once they have received the maximum stripes, they can be considered to move up a ranking. At this point, they receive a new colored belt without any stripes and the process to begin earning stripes starts again. 

How these stripes are earned does vary from school to school, so be sure to speak to your instructor to find out more about how you can earn your stripes.

Typically, instructors will look at how you execute techniques, how long you have been training, and the number of classes you have attended.

What Do The Stripes Mean On A BJJ Belt?

You might also qualify for a stripe after successfully competing in fights, or having shown excellent improvement in your training sessions. 

For those on a white belt, you can usually earn your first stripe within your first three to six months of training.

This does vary for everyone, of course, so don’t feel disheartened if you have not yet earned any stripes!

Speak to your trainer or instructor to see what their reasoning is and what you can do to get closer to earning your stripes! 

Often, stripes are given to the lower-ranking students, helping to boost their confidence and show that their hard work is being recognized.

But for higher rankings, sometimes the stripes aren’t awarded. Instead, students will continue training and competing in competitions until they are ready to move up a level.

This does vary from school to school, so be sure to ask your instructor how things work where you are training! 

How Many Stripes Are There On A BJJ Belt?

So how many stripes can you get on a BJJ belt? Well, the most stripes on a BJJ belt is four. Once you have received four stripes on your belt, the next step is to move up a ranking.

You can speak to your instructor about how you can do this and when they feel the time is right for you to move up a level. 

For most beginners, this can take a year or so, especially if it takes you a few months to earn your first stripe.

Instead of focusing on moving up the rankings, you will want to focus on improving your technique and learning new moves where possible.

BJJ belts can have no stripes if a student is new, or has just moved up a ranking. They will then train and practice to earn one stripe.

This first stripe shows that they are no longer a beginner or at the bottom of the ranking. As you continue to progress, more stripes are added to your belt until you hit a maximum of four. 

As everyone trains and develops at a different pace, most people in your BJJ class will likely have a different number of stripes on their belts.

Although you will train with those in the same ranking as you, you might have two stripes, whereas your opponent might not have any!

This is pretty common in larger classes and is a good way for instructors to differentiate between students and their abilities. 

Although it is worth knowing how many stripes you can have and how they work, we think it’s best not to focus on this during your training.

Instead of comparing yourself to others and the number of stripes on their belts, focus on your training and how you can improve. After all, the only person worth competing with is yourself! 

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it, there can be anywhere from zero to four stripes on a BJJ belt depending on the students’ ability and how stripes are awarded by their instructor.

Make sure to speak to your instructor to find out how they award stripes and what you can do to work towards your next stripe! 

Christopher Anderson
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