Is It Okay To Ask Your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor When You Will Be Promoted?

Belt Promotions

Reader Question: What do I do if my school only stripes at promotions or seminars? I work on the weekend when these go on and can’t make it!!! Spoke with instructor and he does not and will not stripe in class ?

The Jiu-Jitsu Times: The first thing I thought of when I read your question was “I bet there is another reason behind this.”

At the last two academies I trained at, new belts and stripes were typically awarded at club photo days, usually following major tournaments or at the end of the calendar year.

Like your own situation, due to family or work commitments, not 100% of the students were able to attend. In the following next couple of weeks, the instructor would award a new stripe or belt to the student who missed the belt promotion day and everyone was happy.

In your situation, my best guess is that your instructor didn’t like being directly asked about a stripe promotion. It is considered poor form in the martial arts community for a student to ask the instructor about a promotion.

It is considered poor form in the martial arts community for a student to ask the instructor about a promotion.

It has been rare, but I have witnessed occasions where a student approached an instructor and asked when they were going to get a belt or why they had been passed over for a promotion. The result is never a positive reaction from the instructor.

The tradition in jiu-jitsu is that it is entirely at the judgement of your head instructor when promotions are given out. Most BJJ practitioners would consider it very bad manners to ask “Hey Professor Joe, when am I going to get my blue belt?”

* Face palm *

Without knowing your instructor or your skill level, my best guess is that you directly questioning your instructor about your stripe promotion was interpreted as a breach of BJJ etiquette and he reacted negatively by telling you no.

My advice would be to drop the topic with your instructor and keep training and improving your jiu-jitsu. I believe the stripe will be awarded outside of the weekend promotion day. Just don’t ask your instructor about when you will receive a rank.

Do Jiu-Jitsu Times readers think it is okay for a student to ask their instructor about a promotion?


  1. I think that a lot of people that feel like they deserve a stripe or a belt have no clue about their all around game and knowledge. They maybe do well in sparring(meaning submiting opponent), but don’t see the way they got to it. They don’t have good passing game, good guard, but somehow they sweep or get to side/mount/back and submit. During sparring they go to autopilot mode instead of thinking about their moves.
    Be humble and patient. Stripes only matter to white belts… Go to the class to learn, not to get the promotion.


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