The IBJJF has awarded Yvone Duarte and Patricia Lage the sixth degree on their Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts in a history-making promotion, according to BJJ Heroes.
The rank was bestowed upon both practitioners this year, with Duarte earning hers in January and Lage earning hers in April.
BJJ Heroes’ extensive research led to the 2014 conclusion that Duarte was the first-ever female BJJ black belt, earning the rank in October of 1990. Lage, who was originally thought to be the first female black belt, earned hers five years later. The sixth degree on their belts make both women the highest-ranked female IBJJF-recognized Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world.
Both athletes have helped women make enormous strides in the sport. Duarte, in particular, was instrumental in creating more opportunities for female BJJ practitioners, having organized the first-ever BJJ competition with female participants 35 years ago. Duarte was also the first woman known to have formed her own team, according to BJJ Heroes. She is also set to become the first female BJJ coral belt based on her time as a black belt.