Promotions, Gradings, Belts and Stripes explained.......
A BLACK BELT IS JUST A WHITE BELT THAT DIDN'T QUIT!!
To make it very clear, I speak for Combat Base UK group only, I appreciate that the IBJJF have published guidelines for promotions, however these are just guidelines as other groups do things differently; some have graduation days and ceremonies, some use the green belt between white and blue for adults etc a variety of alternative things. This is how we roll.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt structure and requirements come from our head coach Chris Haueter who has used this way for years and worked with various groups in helping to structure their grading models and comprises the following for adults:
White belt + a maximum of 3 stripes
Blue belt + a maximum of 3 stripes
Purple belt + a maximum of 3 stripes
Brown belt + a maximum of 3 stripes
Black belt plus degrees for active teaching, coaching, competing and contributing to the art.
To be honest, we don't tend to use the stripe system very much after promotion to blue belt but the structure is there to use them if desired.
WHO CAN AWARD BELTS?
To award a black belt you must be at least a 2nd degree black belt (have been an active black belt for at least 6 years) or be a 1st degree black belt and have the blessing of the chief instructor.
To award a brown belt you must be at least a black belt and be one of the club instructors
To award a purple belt you must be at least a black belt and be one of the club instructors
To award a blue belt you must be at least a black belt and be one of the club instructors
To award stripes to a white belt you must be at least a purple belt and be one of the club instructors.
In special cases belts may be able to be awarded by a brown belt on behalf of the black belts with their blessing.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR PROMOTIONS?
Combat Base head coach Chris Haueter sums it up as "if you can technically perform to the level of anyone in your peer group you are that level" So basically if you can make it a match with pretty much anyone you own gender, age, weight and experience level whilst executing technical Jiu Jitsu without having to rely on attributes then you are that grade.
Other requirements involve age and time served at a grade.
The IBJJF recommend:
1. Remain at brown belt for at least 1 year before becoming eligible to become a black belt.
2. Remain at purple belt for at least 1 1/2 years before becoming eligible to become a brown belt.
3. Remain at blue belt for at least 2 years before becoming eligible to become a purple belt.
HOW DO YOU GET PROMOTED?
Combat Base employs a ‘traditional’ grading system, on the surface it looks like you train your butt off then someone just throws a belt at you and hence, you are promoted.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grading system does not have a set specific syllabus for each belt but don't let this fool you into thinking that there is no structure.
Because all promotions are carried out on a continuous assessment basis, the club instructor will know exactly what each of the students can and can't do. When someone gets close to being promoted the instructor may set the student a task before considering them for the next grade.
For example, personally speaking, if someone was promoted to blue belt primarily for using guard then before being considered for purple they must have a top game. If the blue belt continues to play guard then I will emphasise the importance of being able to play top too. If they choose to ignore my suggestions and continue to play guard it shows that they are not ready for the next step up. This is just one of many considerations when looking to promote someone which is why most promotions are based on a 'feeling', if the instructor feels that a student is ready to be promoted then so be it. Again don't mistake this for no structure.
Performance in competition can be used to evaluate the student but is not absolutely necessary. This is the case because when you compete it puts you into your peer group so you compete against same age, weight and belt level. This is by no means fool proof though as some people stay at a particular grade longer than others.
Finally, to grade in BJJ at any of the Combat Base gyms you must do some gi.
WHAT COST IS INVOLVED?
The total cost is not measured in £ or $ but in effort, dedication, discipline, determination, teamwork, patience, positive mental attitude, endurance, being able to listen and being coachable. As my coach always says "it's not who's best it's who's left"
COMBAT BASE JUNIORS
The Junior Jiu Jitsu classes follow the same format as the adult classes but use a different belt system that follows the IBJJF guidelines.
This way the junior student could potentially earn a stripe every 3 months at the discretion of the instructor ensuring criteria has been met and would warrant a different belt colour every year.
Colours as below:
Start at white, + up to 3 stripes then change to grey and white belt.
Grey and white belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to grey belt.
Grey belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to grey and black belt.
Grey and black belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to yellow and white belt.
Yellow and white belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to yellow belt.
Yellow belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to yellow and black belt.
Yellow and black belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to orange and white belt.
Orange and white belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to orange.
Orange belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to orange and black belt.
Orange and black belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to green and white belt.
Green and white belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to green belt.
Green belt, + up to 3 stripes then change to green and black belt.
Please note that green and black belt is the highest possible junior grade.
Tags can be awarded for every 3 months of training completed providing there has been good attendance, good attitude and an increase in their performance. Please note that the promotions are at our discretion, it is only a minimum requirement. When they have all 3 stripes then the coach knows that they are almost ready to be promoted and will take time to watch them spar with the other students and promote them to the next belt colour when applicable.
This will usually take place in a regular class and will be of no extra charge. I have completely complied with the guidelines of minimum age at a certain colour so if the juniors went to an IBJJF tourney they would be in the right division.
Combat Base has produced many juniors athletes over the years, we attend competitions and always give excellent performances that will help to give the juniors confidence to keep training and keep competing. The potential that is there is awesome, if nurtured right then these same juniors will go on to much bigger things.
The individual club instructor(s) can award junior grades based on the criteria above only with express permission from Combat Base black belts.