Like most martial arts, Jiu-Jitsu uses a belt ranking system to indicate skill level and experience. As a beginner, a practitioner will start off as a white belt, but what is the highest belt in Jiu-Jitsu?
The Highest Belt in Jiu-Jitsu
The highest belt in Jiu-Jitsu is a tenth degree red belt. However, there is a catch. There is no possible way to achieve this rank as it’s reserved for the founding members of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Carlos, Oswaldo, George, Gaston and Helio Gracie.
The next highest rank is a ninth degree red belt. To achieve this rank, a practitioner would need to spend at least 48 years training AFTER they have received their black belt. Meaning, if you were to receive a black belt at 21 years old, the YOUNGEST age you could receive a ninth degree red belt would be 69 years old.
According to Renzo and Royler Gracie, the ninth degree red belt is:
“Reserved for those whose influence and fame takes them to the pinnacle of art.”
It’s an extremely rare achievement and is not given out very often. The holder is frequently referred to as a “Grandmaster”.
Every Jiu-Jitsu Belt Rank
The Jiu-Jitsu belt ranking system is designed to denote the skill level of the wearer. For most promotions between belt levels there is no “official” criteria. Instead, it is something that’s decided by the gym instructor or black belt practitioner.
Here is a list of every belt that is achievable for adults Jiu-Jitsu in order:
- White Belt
- Blue Belt
- Purple Belt
- Brown Belt
- Black Belt
- Red and Black Belt (Coral Belt)
- Red and White Belt (Coral Belt)
- Red Belt
Each of these belts has their own level of knowledge, experience and skill attached. However, there is a bigger gap between some promotions when compared to others.
There are also age requirements and minimum time required for holding a belt before promotion can be obtained.
For example, a purple belt practitioner will need to hold his or her belt for at least 18 months before being considered for promotion to brown belt. They are also required to be at least 16 years old.
The IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) recently changed the rules in 2022 to allow practitioners to rank up quicker than the minimum timeline – provided they are successful at world championship level.