How jiu-jitsu was started?
Jiu-jitsu is a modern martial art experience having some traditional roots from japan as the name indicates, the word “jiu-jitsu” is derived from the Japanese “Jū” meaning “gentle” and “Jutsu” meaning “art”; essentially, jiu-jitsu is the “gentle art”. It has some similarities with other martial arts like karate and Judo but it is different from these in many aspects. If we talk about how and when it was started, it will take us 4000 years back when Buddhist monk in India, at that time they faced many threats and danger or robbery so they needed to protect themselves without inflicting any harm on their attackers, they learned some techniques very useful for self-defense. These techniques were more appreciated and learned in Japan and it was developed as hand to hand combat during the war.
Later on, in 1915, a world-famous Japanese judoka, Mitsuyo Maeda, came to Brazil and he started teaching and giving demonstrations in jiu-jitsu and judo, at that time they were not seen as separate disciplines. Three of Maeda’s first students went on to become the founders of what is now known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu named as three brothers Carlos, Helio Gracie, and Luiz França. Each of these early pioneers contributed to the development of jiu-jitsu, by maximizing the effectiveness of existing techniques and creating new ones that give rise to a distinct martial art.
Jiu-jitsu is not only a martial art but is often referred to as “human chess” in that it exercises both the body and the mind. The physical practice of jiu-jitsu is immense because jiu-jitsu presents a combination of dynamic and explosive movements with pressure-based isometric pushing, pulling, and holding techniques. It helps to develop increased strength and cardio, as well as promotes weight loss and improved muscle tone as you’re constantly responding to another person’s movements, jiu-jitsu also heightens your body awareness and improves your balance and reactive ability that is very helpful in daily life too
Many people learn jiu-jitsu to relieve the stresses of daily life. Unlike many other sports, jiu-jitsu is a unique practice that can be done by anyone. Jiu-Jitsu was designed and developed so that a smaller and weaker person can defend his or herself against, or even defeat, a larger and stronger opponent. So regardless of age, size, gender, and physical limitation, any person can utilize the techniques and principles of jiu-jitsu and can get benefits by learning these techniques.
Jiu-jitsu belt system:
The most basic belt system of jiu-jitsu is the Brazilian belt system, which is the traditional one. All other schools that are also giving services and training to jiu-jitsu also follow the same belt and ranking system with more or fewer changes, but the Brazilian belt system is considered as a standard system. Brazilian belt system resembles other martial art ranks such as Judo or karate but it varies in many aspects.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt system is followed by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) that has a mandated rule set when it comes to belt promotions based on the practitioner’s age and experience, these rules are followed by most accredited BJJ academies around the world.
So there are actually two-belt systems, one is for children (4-16) and the other one is for adults. Let’s have a look at both
IBJJF Kids Belt System
Jiu-jitsu is for all age people even a lot of children came in different jiu-jitsu schools to learn, children from 4 to 16 years are considered under these belt ranks, kids belt system has more ranks than the adult rank system because it motivates the kids to get higher rank when after three to four months they are promoted to the higher belt, they started learning different skills more efficiently. Kid’s belt system has following belt ranks from lowest to highest belt rank
- White (4-6 years)
- Yellow-White (7-9 years)
- Orange-White (10-13 years)
- Green-White (14-16 years)
There is no age or skill requirement for the white belt, after achieving the green-black belt the student is now promoted to blue belt and in Adult belt ranking, having a different skill and practice requirement than kid’s belt ranking. In kids belt ranking there are many restrictions in practicing different skills.
Even there are more divisions in each belt rank called strips, some traditional schools used to strip belts to know the exact ranking of students, which shows how many skills that particular student has learned. This is also a motivating technique that actually works very well for kids.
IBJJF Adult Belt System
In Brazilian Adult Jiu-Jitsu belts are given out based on skill and the amount of time the participant has been training. From lowest ranked to highest ranked, the belts are ordered as follows:
- White Belt
- Blue Belt
- Purple Belt
- Brown Belt
- Black Belt
- Red and Black Belt (Coral Belt)
- Red and White Belt (Coral Belt)
- Red Belt
The IBJJF has also established some rules to regulate how long a practitioner must remain at each belt before they are eligible for a promotion in a higher rank. It is important to note that, while there is no explicit time limit for white belts, it typically takes practitioners 1-2 years to get promoted to a blue belt for a person above 16 years of age. IBJJF also have some age restriction foe every belt rank such as the white belt has no age limit, Blue and purple belts must be at least 16 years of age, while brown belts must be at least 18 years old. Black belts must be at least 19.
Minimum age: No age restriction
Minimum time requirement: No requirement
It is the first belt everyone receives when he started learning jiu-jitsu. Average white belt learned only a few things but most importantly he learned to survive and self-defense. A white belt holder should learn three basic techniques that are
- Escape from low mount
- Escape from side control
- Escape from back control
It can take several months to 1-2 years for any student to get promoted to the next rank.
Minimum age: 16 years
Minimum time requirement: 2 years
Blue belt is the second belt after white belt when your actual jiu-jitsu journey begins, if someone has learned basic self-defense and how to survive, in this rank, he should have learned techniques to defend themselves against a larger, stronger opponent by using jiu-jitsu techniques. A blue belt must have finer point offensive techniques such as:
- He should be equally as effective on top and bottom
- He should know to escape from someone of roughly the same training experience at will
- He can finish the opponent.
- He should have a perfect command and knowledge of the elbow escape, hook sweep, knee slice guard pass, and back strangles techniques.
Minimum age: 16-18 years.
Minimum time requirement: 2 years but it may take 3-5 years.
Anyone in jiu-jitsu who has succeeded to get a purple jiu-jitsu belt is also recognized as a professional one, as it needs more practice and time. Anyone who has a purple belt has a basic understanding of jiu-jitsu techniques, he is a more confident one. In this rank students mostly focus to polish and fill gaps between their techniques. A purple belt holder should have command of the following skills:
- Control and submit blue belts on a regular basis.
- Is a challenge against the brown belt.
- More confident in his skills.
- Should know details including combinations and complicated positions.
- Should know how to attack back.
Minimum age: 18 years
Minimum time requirement: 2 years but may vary 3-5 years.
After reaching a brown belt in jiu-jitsu anyone is more confident in his skills and techniques that he can hone in on their skills and focus on the positions and strategies those they are good at. At this stage, he is looked up upon by lower grade students as well as gets more attention from instructors. A person with having brown belt should have the following skills:
- Brown belts should be able to dominate, control and submit purple belts.
- Practitioners combine the tools that they have learned and use them to mold their BJJ game
Minimum age: 19 -20 years
Minimum time requirement: 31- 40 years
The black belt is also known as the highest common belt within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and indicates a very high level of technical, tactical, and mental understanding of the sport. It is the most difficult goal to achieve; people having black belts are also called as “professor” as he knows all the techniques and tactics. A black belt should know all the possible self-defense tactics and techniques and effective attacks al across the body. There are some official requirements that a black belt must have:
- Official requirements to become an IBJJF certified black belt.
- Must provide first aid and CPR course certificate.
- Must be affiliated with IBJJF.
- Must attend an IBJJF referee course with a minimum score of 60%.
- Spending the minimum time at each colored belt.
- Must either be the head or assistant instructor of an IBJJF affiliated gym or practice in a gym with an IBJJF affiliation.
- Must be promoted by an IBJJF-affiliated 2nd-degree black belt instructor.
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Grades after black belt:
After receiving the initial black belt, a practitioner must hold that rank for a minimum of 3 years before earning their 1st degree, and another 3 years after that to earn their 2nd degree. In this stage, the practitioner also started teaching students Jiu-Jitsu instead of just competing.
When a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner receives their 3rd-degree black belt, the time between degrees increases from 3 to 5 years and remains this way until the 6th degree is reached. When this happens, the practitioner must wait 7 years before getting their next degree that is called a coral belt.
Red / Black (Coral) Belt
Minimum age requirement: 50 years.
Minimum time requirement: 7 years.
This coral belt stage is achieved after the black belt and it is also known as the grade 7-grade black belts, the belt at this point has red and black strips, the practitioner must hold this rank for another 7 years before receiving their 8th degree.
Red / White Belt:
Minimum age requirement: 60 year
Minimum time requirement: 7 years
This is also called as 8th degree in the jiu Jitsu belt system a practitioner must hold this rank for another 7 years before receiving their 9th degree. On this stage, they are awarded a red and white patterned coral belt similar to that of judo. Anyone having this belt has started teaching others the jiu-jitsu skills, after 8th grade finally the practitioner gets a red belt.
Minimum age requirement: 67 years
Minimum time requirement: undefined
It is the highest honor to be achieved in jiu-jitsu sport. People having this belt are generally called “grandmasters” and grandmaster’s belts are represented by a red belt with gold and white bars. Receiving a 9th-degree grandmaster belt is only possible after at least 10 years from your previous graduation mostly people don’t struggle this long for a red you would have to be a practicing black belt for 48 years hence 10th-degree red belt was only given to the founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Carlos, Oswaldo, George, Gaston, and Helio Gracie. After them, there is no one who got a red belt.
Mastering the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a great achievement in itself but achieving the black belt in BJJ requires lots of practice, patience, and commitment. It can easily take 8 to 12 years for a student to get a black belt, in some cases it takes more but some extremely hardworking and focus people achieve it in 4 to 6 years. Most of the people make it to the blue belt as per Rener Gracie.
In my opinion, achieving the belts in jiu-jitsu art is a milestone in itself but the real goal is to learn techniques and most importantly grow your self-confidence to have a better life. Another advantage you have is that you make new friends which makes your life more enjoyable.
So in my opinion Brazilian jiu-jitsu art is not just a fighting technique it also gives you self-confidence and also teaches your patience.