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Kids Jiu Jitsu Belt System Explained

Kids jiu jitsu belts are different than the adult belt system in Brazilian jiu jitsu. As a brown belt in bjj I currently teach some of the kid’s classes at my gym so maybe I can help shed some light on them:

BeltAvg Cumulative Yrs.
grey/white6 months
solid grey1 year
grey/black2 years
yellow/white3 years
solid yellow4 years
yellow/black5 years
orange/white6 years
solid orange7 years
orange/black8 years
green/white9 years
solid green10 years
green/black11 years

Quick Note: Not all gyms will follow the same jiu jitsu belts for kids however most follow the colored belts and their order shown below.

White >
Gray (with white stripe) > Plain Gray > Gray (with black stripe) >
Yellow (with white stripe) > Plain Yellow > Yellow (with black stripe) >
Orange (with white stripe) > Plain Orange > Orange (with black stripe) >
Green (with white stripe) > Plain Green > Green (with black stripe)

What Is the Order of Jiu-Jitsu Belts for Kids?

So lets take a look at the belt color order – for kids younger than 16, the following is bjj belt progression timeline for youth levels:

BeltAvg Yrs.
grey/white6 months
solid grey1 year
grey/black2 years
yellow/white3 years
solid yellow4 years
yellow/black5 years
orange/white6 years
solid orange7 years
orange/black8 years
green/white9 years
solid green10 years
green/black11 years

kids bjj belts

Kids BJJ Belts Basics

White >
Gray (with white stripe) > Plain Gray > Gray (with black stripe) >
Yellow (with white stripe) > Plain Yellow > Yellow (with black stripe) >
Orange (with white stripe) > Plain Orange > Orange (with black stripe) >
Green (with white stripe) > Plain Green > Green (with black stripe)

Here’s a table describing the belt levels in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for kids and what they should try to learn at each level.
*Keep in mind that this will likely change depending on each gym, teacher, and student but should hopefully give you a general idea*:

Belt LevelFocus
White Belt 1Basic movements, including forward and backward rolls, shrimping, and technical stand-up.
Grey Belt Level 1-3Become familiar with common positions in jiu jitsu, learn basic submissions, work on basic sweeps and takedowns
Yellow Belt Level 1-3Ability to execute common submission from dominant positions, know which positions are dangerous and how to escape them
Green Belt Level 1-3Gain a deeper understanding of positions, techniques, and submission mechanics

Jiu Jitsu is a great way for kids to get active, learn self-defense, and have fun. But when you’re first starting out, the belt system can be confusing.

Most jiu-jitsu practitioners are familiar with the adult belt system, which goes from white to black. The kid’s jiu-jitsu belt system is a little different, however.

In this blog post, we’ll explain the kid’s Jiu-Jitsu belt system so you can be better prepared for your child’s journey.

How many belts does Jiu-Jitsu have for kids?

There are 5 belt colors for children (white, gray, yellow, orange, green). However for the gray, yellow, orange, and green belts there are three phases each. The three phases are belt with white stripe, plain belt, belt with a black stripe:

Here is that color breakdown once more:

White >
Gray (with white stripe) > Plain Gray > Gray (with black stripe) >
Yellow (with white stripe) > Plain Yellow > Yellow (with black stripe) >
Orange (with white stripe) > Plain Orange > Orange (with black stripe) >
Green (with white stripe) > Plain Green > Green (with black stripe)

After 3 phases at each colored belt they are promoted to their next junior jiu jitsu belt

How Long Does It Take for a Kid to Go through the Belt Ranks?

With kids bjj belts, there are requirements for them to be a certain age in order to reach the next belt.

This age breakdown requirements are shown below:

Belt ColorMinimum Age Requirement
White(no age requirement)
solid grey5-15
solid yellow8-15
solid orange11-15
solid green14-15

At age 16, if the child has enough experience they may be promoted directly to an adult blue belt and begin their climb through the adult bjj ranks which on average it will take ~10+ years of consistent training to achieve a black belt.

What Is the Minimum Amount of Time Required at Each Kids Jiu Jitsu Belt?

While the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) does not have a strict time requirement for kids’ belts, some organizations, like the North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (NABJJF), require children to spend at least eight months at each rank.

On average, children can expect to be promoted every year with consistent training.

Again, this timeline will vary gym to gym and coach to coach, but one thing to keep in mind that as a child approaches the higher kids belts they can expect to spend more time at each belt.

How Are Kids Jiu Jitsu Belts Transitioned into Adult Belts?

When children turn 16, they transition to adult belts.

According to the IBJJF:

Athletes who turn 16 are integrated into the adult belt system:

  • White Belt holders continue as White Belts.
  • Grey, Yellow, and Orange Belt holders may be elevated to Blue Belt.
  • Green Belt holders may be promoted to Blue or Purple Belt, at the instructor’s discretion.

However, even though your child may have been training for 5+ years generally you shouldn’t expect them to be promoted to higher than an adult blue belt. Remember jiu jitsu belts are based on experience and skill and not time spent at each belt.

Can Kids Get a Blue Belt in BJJ?

Yes, children can earn a blue belt in BJJ, but only after they transition to the adult ranking system at the age of 16.

When transitioning, children who hold grey, yellow, or orange belts can possibly be promoted to a blue belt, while those who have earned a green belt will likely be promoted to a belt, depending on their skills and experience.

How Long Should a Kids BJJ belt be?

In terms of how long should a kids bjj belt be – when kids bjj belt is tied should be around ~8 inches/ 20 cm on both sides of the knot.

Kids BJJ belt sizes typically range from M0 (for the youngest and smallest practitioners) to M4 (for larger and older children).

Depending on the size you buy, there are a variety of lengths you can purchase for kids belts.

Below is the breakdown in inches from KO Sports Gear based on their sizes:

M0 – 75
M1 – 80
M2 – 85
M3 – 90
M4 – 95
A0 – 98
A1 – 104
A2 – 110
A3 – 116
A4 – 122
A5 – 128
A6 – 136

How to Tie a BJJ Belt for Kids

Below are some basic steps for how to tie a bjj belt on your child – we’ve also included a video for reference:

To tie a BJJ belt for kids, follow these steps:

  1. Start by folding the belt in half and finding its center.
  2. Place the center of the belt on the child’s front waist, wrapping it around their waist twice.
  3. Bring both ends to the front, making sure one end is on top of the other.
  4. Tuck the top end under both layers of the belt and pull both ends to tighten.
  5. Fold the bottom end over the top end and pull it through the loop created.
  6. Pull both ends tightly to secure the knot.

Jiu-Jitsu Belts Order (Adult BJJ Belt System):

jiu jitsu belts

When transitioning from a kid’s Jiu-Jitsu belt to an adult Jiu-Jitsu belt, it is important to keep in mind that the ranking system is different for adults.

In the adult system, there are 9 ranks: white, blue, purple, brown, black, red/black, 7th-degree black, 8th-degree black, and 9th-degree black. 

In order to be promoted from one rank to the next in the adult system, you must first achieve a specific level of mastery over the techniques associated with that rank.

At the age of 16, kids are expected to start wearing adult belts. Practitioners at the white belt level remain at the white belt level.

Then, the coach has the option of changing a student’s belt color from grey, yellow, or orange to white or blue in the adult belt system.

In terms of green belt kids, it’s also up to the coach’s decision whether or not he/she will be upgraded to a white, blue, or purple belt (the highest belt a transitioning kid can get).

Remember, when you transition to the adult belt system, the time spent on each belt has a prerequisite.

BJJ Black Belt System Explained

Here’s a table breaking down the black belt levels and beyond in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

Here’s the information organized into a table format:

Belt TypeDegreeDescriptionMinimum AgeMinimum Time Required
Black Belt1st to 6thExpert level of technical and practical skill in BJJ. Titles such as “professor” or “coach” may be used for senior black belt instructors.191 year as a brown belt, then 3 years per degree for the first 3 degrees, 5 years for the subsequent degrees.
Coral Belt (Red/Black)7thAlso known as a coral belt, awarded for reaching the seventh degree. Practitioners are often recognized for their significant impact on BJJ and may be called “master.”50 (and up)7 years of training and teaching at the black and red belt level.
Coral Belt (Red/White)8thAwarded for reaching the eighth degree, this belt is the red and white belt. Practitioners continue to make contributions to the art at a high level.57 (and up)10 years of teaching and training at the red and white belt level.
Red Belt9th and 10thReserved for those who have greatly influenced BJJ and reached the pinnacle of the art, often referred to as “grandmaster.” The 10th degree is reserved for the founders of BJJ.67 (and up)Earliest to receive a 9th degree red belt would be at age 67.

The table above summarizes the general framework for belt progression as it pertains to higher degrees within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu based on the IBJJF system.

Please note that while the IBJJF provides guidelines, there is variation in the standards and practices between different academies and organizations.

Some other quick notes:

  • The 10th-degree black belt is often reserved for the founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is rarely awarded.
  • The Red belt is a recognition of lifetime contribution to the art and is not commonly attained.

BJJ Stripes Explained

In terms of stripes, after the plain white belt, kids need to go through 4 more belt colors, with each belt color consisting of three distinct stripes across them (white stripe, plain color – no stripe, and black stripe).

Each belt color starts off with a white stripe, then to a plain color-no stripe, and lastly, with a black stripe before proceeding to the next belt color.

Of course, all of these progressions will still rely on the instructor’s assessment of the kid’s abilities and knowledge.

How Often Do Kids Bet Promoted in Jiu-Jitsu?

The hierarchy mentioned provides lots and lots of motivation for kids and allows for promotions to be held way more often.

With consistent training, on average, you can expect your child to be promoted to the next belt color almost every year as long as the age requirements are met.

In this way, children are able to see how quickly they may advance in a given area through their own efforts. It’s all very logical once you know why there are so many belts and stripes.

In general, we can say that the belt color that a child would be wearing (white, grey, yellow, orange, and green) would depend on their age and how long they have been training.

From there, they would move to an adult belt system when they turn 16 years old.

Grey Belt – BJJ Grey Belt Requirements

Grey belts are ranked above white belts but are still considered beginners for their age group. They have learned more techniques and begun to develop a better understanding of Jiu-Jitsu. 

The requirements of bjj grey belts are based around your child becoming familiar with common positions in jiu jitsu, learning basic submissions, as well as working on basic sweeps and take downs.

This again will depend upon your gym and instructor.

Grey belts are usually obtained at the age of 4 and have three different variations in order: Grey/White, Solid Grey, and Grey/Black.

Yellow Belt

Yellow belts are ranked above gray belts. They are also considered intermediate students for their age group.

They have mastered the basics of Jiu-Jitsu and are starting to learn more advanced techniques. Yellow belts are usually obtained at the age of 7. Also, it has three different variations in order: Yellow/White, Solid Yellow, and Yellow/Black.

Orange Belt

Orange belts are ranked above yellow belts and are considered advanced students for their age group. They have mastered many advanced techniques and continue to refine their skills. 

Additionally, orange belts are usually obtained at the age of 10 and have three different variations in order: Orange/White, Solid Orange, and Orange/Black. 

Green Belt

Green belts are ranked above orange belts and are considered experts for their age group. They have mastered all aspects of Jiu-Jitsu and are considered to be very skilled.

Green belts are usually obtained at the age of 13 and have three different variations in order: Green/White, Solid Green, and Green/Black.

BJJ Belt Progression Timeline

While this is the standard that all BJJ gyms follow in terms of jiu jitsu belts order, its not uncommon for practitioners to move through the belt ranks at different times.

Especially, if a bjj student has prior grappling experience (such as that with judo or wrestling) or is very athletic, its not unheard of to reach their blue belt within six months.

You will be promoted to the next jiu jitsu belt by your head coach and generally, they will promote based on

  • knowledge
  • skill
  • consistency
  • (possibly) competition performance

Who Can Promote BJJ Students to the Next Belt?

Following the guidelines set out by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation, only black belts can promote children to the next belt.

However, in many gyms you may see an adult purple belt in bjj teaching the children’s class and awarding stripes and belts to the kids who attend (usually with the approval of the head instructor or black belt).

A with many things in Brazilian jiu jitsu, there isn’t a strict rule set as to who can or cannot promote a child to a higher belt or aware degrees. In the case that a gym has no black belt instructor, belts as low as purple belts are able to promote students.

Does a Belt Promotion Cost Anything?

A bjj belt promotion should not cost anything.

At the start of jiu jitsu, there are of course expenses, such as the gi, no gi apparel, and other beneficial gear, however, usually, the gym will pay for the colored belts that are awarded to its students throughout the ranks. So no, a promotion should not cost anything.

Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids

There are many benefits of martial arts for kids.

Mental Benefits:

  1. Confidence: Jiu Jitsu empowers children with the confidence to defend themselves and their loved ones if necessary. By teaching them how to remain calm under pressure and think before acting, BJJ helps develop invaluable life skills.
  2. Socialization: Enrolling your child in a jiu-jitsu program is an excellent way to help them develop social skills early on. They’ll meet other kids their age and learn how to work together as a team, which is crucial for their future personal and professional growth.
  3. Discipline: Beyond physical fitness, BJJ is also a fantastic way for kids to develop discipline. They learn how to control their bodies, emotions, and set goals, and work hard to achieve them. This discipline will benefit them throughout their lives.
  4. Increased Focus: Jiu Jitsu training requires concentration and focus, helping children combat the shorter attention spans common today. This type of focus can translate into other areas of their lives, making them more successful in various endeavors.
  5. Promotes Respect: BJJ instills respect for opponents, training partners, rules, and referees. This essential lesson can help children in other aspects of their lives, leading to more harmonious relationships and interactions.
  6. Goal Setting: Setting goals is an integral part of Jiu Jitsu, keeping kids motivated and focused on their training. Examples of good Jiu Jitsu goals include attending classes regularly, participating in tournaments, learning new techniques, and advancing to the next belt level.
  7. Learning How to Deal with Failure: Jiu Jitsu teaches kids that failure is not the end of the world but a part of the journey. They learn to overcome challenges, helping them develop resilience and adaptability.

Physical Benefits:

  1. Fitness Benefits: BJJ is an excellent form of physical exercise that helps children maintain a healthy body weight, boost energy levels, and strengthen bones and muscles.
  2. Stamina: Yes, Jiu-Jitsu can significantly boost a child’s stamina and endurance. BJJ training involves various physically demanding activities, such as sparring, drilling techniques, and conditioning exercises, which help improve cardiovascular endurance and overall physical fitness.
  3. Coordination: Improved Motor Skills and Body Awareness Jiu Jitsu improves coordination by requiring the use of both gross and fine motor skills. This improved muscle control can lead to better performance in other physical activities and increase spatial awareness, useful in everyday situations.
  4. Self-Defense: Prevents Against Bullying BJJ is an effective way to prevent bullying by building confidence, teaching self-control and discipline, and promoting respect for others. These skills make children less likely to be targeted by bullies and better equipped to handle such situations.

What Is the Ideal Age for Kids to Start Jiu-Jitsu?

Children can start practicing BJJ as young as four years old.

While it may be possible for kids younger than four years old to start training, your child must be able to listen and follow basic instruction.

If they are not able to follow along with the instructor, it is quite unlikely that they will be able to start jiu jitsu training.

What Are Junior Black Belts?

In other martial arts you may have heard of “Junior Black belts”. However, don’t expect this to be the case in Brazilian jiu jitsu. There are no junior black belts in bjj.

This helps to keep jiu jitsu and the belt ranking legitimate and based purely on experience, knowledge, and skill.

BJJ Kids Belts – Conclusion

It is important to remember that the belt system in BJJ is not about winning and losing. The belts represent a student’s journey and progress in learning the art. The goal is to eventually reach the black belt, which symbolizes mastery of the art.

Moreover, the kid’s Jiu-Jitsu belt system is a great way to track a child’s progress and give them a sense of accomplishment as they move up the ranks. It is also a great motivator for kids to keep training and progressing in their skills.