Interest in Brazillian jiu jitsu was strong from the beginning, and it continues to gain popularity in modern society. If you are searching for martial arts near me with an idea of taking a few classes, it may help to know a bit about jiu jitsu. There are many levels, and they can take years of hard work to attain. This is an easy guide to see what the levels are, what each one encompasses on a general level, and a ranking of the top five all-time sports figures who have mastered them for a bit of inspiration.
From White Belt to Black Belt: The BJJ Belt Order
Perhaps owing to the exotic nature of the country of Brazil, the BJJ belt colors are far from boring. They begin with a white belt that signifies a person has yet to learn more than a few basic moves, and they go all the way through four different red belts which surpass even the famous black belt of jiu jitsu and other martial arts.
Once you learn to master the first moves of a novice with a white belt, the blue belt is the next step. It is followed by the purple belt, and then the brown belt comes after that.
Mastering many different techniques will take years of adult martial arts classes, but mastery of this level will lead you straight to the famed black belt lauded in many modern martial arts.
Unlike other arts of this type, the BJJ belt categories do not stop at the black belt level. There are four levels of red belts, and three of them are attainable with more work, study, teaching, and accomplishments. Unlike other arts, the last level of red belts is reserved for the five founding members of Brazillian jiu jitsu.
What Are the Different BJJ Belts Capable of Doing
Students attending jiu jitsu schools begin with a white belt, and they will learn in their first adult martial arts classes that survival is a key element of this sport. Their goal is to master the guard position, how to move into and out of it to make strikes, and how to escape a larger or stronger opponent.
The blue belt is next, and you will find it means mastering more complex moves. The typical student at this level will begin to learn how to fight off a larger and stronger opponent with their own aggressive moves. These can include throws combined with escape moves in the form of sweeps and twists. Exploration of what works for you is also an important component.
Moving up to the level of the purple belt comes with a heightened level of learning for those who originally chose to search for martial arts near me. They are now between two belt levels where it is important to be able to use the techniques they have learned against opponents in the categories above and below them. A sense of confidence must be gained, and it should come from mentoring and working with those at the blue level. They will be expected to use their combination moves to help them challenge those at the brown belt level before attaining it.
The step just before black belt is brown, and it can take years of mastery before a student is ready to move up once again. Control over students at a lower belt rank is important, and dominance in competition is the definition of this level. When you attain it in jiu jitsu schools, it can take as little as a year or two to master and move forward.
The black belt level is for those students dedicated to both the continued study of the sport and teaching. At this level, professional teaching begins, and it is required that first aid and CPR courses are passed before teaching. There is also a referee course to pass, and affiliation with an IBJJF gym as an instructor is a must.
The red belt levels are considered the highest attainment in this sport, and they are mastered over a series of years. They consist of teaching, further study of the art, expanding and creating new moves.
Top Five BJJ Fighters Ranked
It can take many years before attaining mastery of Brazilian jiu jitsu, and yet it is a journey well worth the effort. As a student just starting out, you may find it a bit overwhelming to contemplate ever becoming a fighter or a champion. These five men have mastered their sport, and they have attained their goals along with the respect and admiration of their peers.
From fifth to third, the top ranked fighters are Alexandre Ribeiro, Marcelo Garcia and Saulo Ribeiro. All three of these celebrated fighters have attained the highest rankings possible within the belts, and they have won countless matches and championships. Many of them are respected for the innovation and drive they have brought to jiu jitsu over the years.
The top two fighters of all time are often dependent upon the person citing them, and they seem to be almost equally matched in their abilities to win championships. Further, each of these men have their own followings due to their teachings, their ambitious goals, and their ability to further the spirit of competition while adhering to the rules and objectives of the BJJ. They are Roger Gracie of the original Gracie family, and his equal in first or second place within the all-time rankings is Marcus Almeida. He does not have quite the same family history, but his connection with the sport and the ability to inspire his followers due to his competitive success and teachings has earned him the top spot according to many.