Jiu-Jitsu Belts: It don’t matter if you’re Blue or White!!

I’m going to hit on this topic just because it only gets hit on once a day at the least!  Belt rank….. Does the color of your belt matter?  I read an article by another writer for Jiu Jitsu Times and in the article it says “Rank is mostly only necessary because people are immature and require validation”.  Which pretty much states that, the ever lasting topic, the belt doesn’t make you better, it only raises your ego!

I absolutely, 100% disagree with this statement!  Let me tell you why.  The whole time I was a white belt I asked my coach, “What do I need to work on?”.  His answer, which always aggravated the crap out of me was, “Jiu Jitsu”.  Always the same answer, didn’t matter how it was worded!  “What should I know in order to receive my blue belt?” “Jiu Jitsu” he’d say!!  Then I sat for almost a year with 3 stripes on my white belt.  Every day wondering, what am I doing wrong and why won’t he tell me how to fix it! All the while my coach says, “You’re doing fine”. Then I hit rock bottom! I honestly contemplated quitting, I had a horrible night of rolling, nothing seemed to feel good at all, and I was mad!!  But then he says to me, “You’re being too hard on yourself, just relax and have fun”.  This was like the flickering lightbulb that miraculously started getting brighter!

I still thought about that dreaded 4th stripe all the way until he gave me my blue belt!  That’s right, he tricked me, No 4th stripe for me straight to blue belt.  What a jerk! (Love you coach lol) Instantly I felt better, like I had finally beaten that stupid white belt!  So much so that when I was given my blue belt I slammed my white belt to the mat in complete satisfaction (but quickly picked it up, thou shalt not anger the Jiu Jitsu Gods).  It felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted and I could finally breathe!  My rolls that day, I honestly don’t have the slightest clue what or how I did.  I didn’t care at that point.  Then the hype died down and we go out as a team to celebrate promotions and have a discussion that will forever be on my mind.  My coach says, “People can say whatever they want. They can say that the belt doesn’t matter and that it doesn’t change things, they are wrong!  It’s just a belt, yes, but when you get that belt you get better, it just happens, it always happens.”

I’ve thought about this a lot.  It’s true, not only do you have to know how to move, but the technical aspect of many basic moves have to flow like gravy.  You also have to fight off the hungry wolves, white belts that want to prove something!  This makes you better!  White belts push harder on blue belts because they are trying to prove themselves worthy!  Blue belts hunger for that because they want to establish their dominance!  Its natural Jiu Jitsu evolution!  This is what makes Jiu Jitsu so amazing!

So see, although it’s just a belt, it does improve your game.  85% of Jiu Jitsu is mental, 10% skill, and the last 5% is pure luck.  The belt tied around your waste says, “I’ve got this” then all your fears are lowered and you just roll!  The belt is just a color and an earned achievement, not a validation, it’s self confidence!  Self confidence is the strongest emotion one can have, or the weakest downfall to someone.  That colored belt lifts us up more and more each time we put it on!  Royce Gracie once said, “The belt only covers 2 inches of your ass, you have to cover the rest”.  Well you are 85% there with that 2 inches!!


  1. I have to disagree.

    In the beginning there were only 2 belts, white and black, for a long time you would go to a Gracie school and find all those monsters with a white belt! for years!!!

    I believe that if you are rolling because you want to prove as a white belt you can tap a blue belt, you are rolling for the tap and not to learn, and that slows your learning experience actually doing the other way, is true higher belts roll harder on you but they should be rolling on you based on your technique not your belt if you can handle the pressure they should step it up not wait until you get a belt to step it up, they are effectively sandbagging you if they do that.

    I have to confess that to this day I have no stripes, I keep taking them off and my professor and huge friend keeps on putting them on as a gag, he knows I need no stripes, nor belts, I can be a white belt forever .. I just like rolling and jiu jitsu, think about it, in the old days it wasn’t uncommon to have a white belt tap a black one, as they were only 2 colors 🙂 then again times have changed.

    You can be naturally athletic, you can be born with all the advantages, but toughness is earned … 🙂 OSS!!!!!!!

    PS Love the website thus my comment (I never comment anywhere)

  2. I would probably add to this that with the belt comes a sense of responsibility and accountability to the black belt that promotes you; the team you represent; and to yourself. As far as wondering when you’ll be promoted just be patient it’ll come and when it does you won’t think you’re ready and then you’ll start seeing that you were ready.

  3. Well…word from one white belt (4stripes).
    Now I am waiting for the blue in end of the July 2016. What I see, after one year of training, is that belt is simbol of experience. Simbol of our progres. Reward of our victory over ourself. In some sense also level of our bjj.
    Do we realy need belts? I will sey 100% YES. Why? Because with belts you know how much you progres, what is your level, do you progres at all. We get diploma for finiching primary, high school, university, magistry, doctor… can we say this diplomas are not matter? Can we say exams are useles in terms of prooving your knowledge? I will never give money to doctor without diploma to operate me nor to bjj gay to learn me without black belt.

    Every stripe is good feeling because you felt that you develop, that you achive victory over your self. Beacuse of that it is worth celebrating.
    I know, more then belt, it is important that you earn experience and learn…but without belts it hard to look in yourself and see where are you. Belt is also proof from the master that you have experience and learn…

    Sory for my bad english. I am from Serbia.


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