In just about any martial art, there is a belt system to signify a student’s progress. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not any different. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, ranking up a belt level is a very big deal.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that Adult BJJ Belt Ranking and Kids BJJ Belt Ranking are much different from each other. In this guide, we breakdown everything you need to know about how kids BJJ belt rankings work.
Difference Between BJJ Adults and Kids Belt Rankings
In BJJ, there needed to be a ranking system separate for kids. You can’t rank kids on the same level as adults. Kids need to be graded on a different curve before moving to the adult ranking system.
The main difference is kids have to go through 5 different belt groups. They are also graded on their discipline. If they conduct themselves in the correct manner during class, then this also goes into if they advance.
Why Can't Kids Have Adult Belts?
One thing that may come to mind is why can’t kids have adult belts? Well, that can be explained by one of two reasons. First one might be that they simply aren’t on that level yet. Though they might be on a high level competing against kids their age, but how can they handle a larger adult? A second reason that comes to mind is that promoting an underage kid delegitimizes Jiu Jitsu.
If younger teens are given a high adult BJJ ranking, then Jiu Jitsu will have the same problem as Karate. The martial art would be less respected if there are 14 year old kids walking around with BJJ black belts.
The Belts Levels for Kids
Here are the 5 belt levels that kids advance through before going to the adult. Kids go from white, grey, yellow, orange, and green. In between each belt, they go through variations of the belts with different colors and stripes during their advancement.
The reason there’s so many belt variations is to make kids feel like they are progressing. In BJJ, traditionally ranking from one belt to the next is a very long process. Kids need to be rewarded for their work and to keep interested in BJJ. It can real discouraging if no signs of progress has been awarded for long periods of time!
These belts take around 10 years to advance through. Once you are 16, you are considered an adult and can move on to start the adult ranking system.
White Belt Group
Just like with adults, this the beginning of a kid’s journey into BJJ. They are brand new and eager to learn BJJ.
A white belt for kids is quite different than a white belt for adults. White belt adults spend their time learning BJJ basics, while kids learn more self defense concepts.
They learn 1-2 very simple self defense concepts per class and work on how to escape bad positions. Most of their time in class will be doing this and doing basic BJJ drills.
Kids will usually stay at white belt for 6 months to a year. During this time they earn stripes and after 4, they’re eligible for the next group of belts.
Grey Belt Group
After white belt, kids go through the grey belt group. These belts go from grey/white, grey, and grey/black.
When a kid reaches the grey belts this means they have reached an intermediate level. They learned to defend themselves at white and are now ready to start being offensive.
Each belt in this group should take around 6-8 months to learn if the kid averages 2 classes per week. Grey belt is the first set in the intermediate belt groups.
Yellow Belt Group
This is the last level of the intermediate belts and is basically a high level blue belt for kids. Belts for this group go yellow/white, yellow, and yellow/black.
To earn these belts a kid would need to have trained around 3 years or so. At this time they have started to develop their own game.
They know quite a few techniques and have a few they are really good at. The kids at this level are able to chain moves together and strategize a plan for each roll.
Orange Belt Group
At this point the kids have rolled for quite some time and have gotten pretty good. This belt group is the equivalent of a high purple belt to a new brown belt in adults. These belts go from orange/white, orange, and orange/black.
At this point the kids know Jiu Jitsu. They’ve been training 5 or more years and most likely actively compete.
The reason that they are similar to a purple belt is because they’re good, but need refinement. They have some of the skills of a green belt, but they need to sharpen aspects of their BJJ game.
Green Belt Group
As a kid this is the highest rank of belts you can achieve. Earning this belt means a kid has put years of training in at this point. In Karate, they have junior black belts and in BJJ green belts are basically junior blue belts.
The green belt group goes from green/white, green, and green/black. To be eligible for this belt group a kid needs to be between 14 and 16 years old.
These kids are good. Basically, they are just waiting until they are around 16, when their coach decides they are blue belt worthy. They are just as good as most adult blue belts if not better.
Don't Take These Kids Lightly
Under no circumstances should you take the higher level kids lightly. Orange and green belts have been rolling for 5-10 years and they’ll tap you with the quickness. The good ones are better than most adults that have been training for a couple years. Don’t let their size fool you. These little ninjas will tap you with ease!
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic martial art for kids to pick up. The younger they can start, the better.
By starting young and growing a passion for it, they will have their entire life to enjoy BJJ. Jiu Jitsu is a journey that never ends and it can be a special part of a kid’s life. Truth is there are ton of benefits for doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and there are so many reasons why kids should do BJJ.
Every adult kicks themselves for not starting BJJ when they were younger, so kids should definitely take the opportunity. They will grow to love the sport, make a lot of great friends, and be a more confident and happy kid in the process!