The BJJ red belt is the highest rank a Jiu Jitsu practitioner can achieve. It takes a lifetime commitment to Jiu Jitsu in order to achieve it and is a rank 99% of practitioners will never achieve.
Here is everything you need to know about the BJJ red belt. We’ll go through everything from how long it takes to achieve and detail how hard it is to achieve this rank.
- 1 What is a BJJ Red Belt?
- 2 How Long Does it Take to Earn a BJJ Red Belt?
- 3 Is it Possible to Earn a BJJ Red Belt?
- 4 Is There a Rank Higher Than The BJJ Red Belt?
- 5 How Many Have Held The Rank of BJJ Red Belt?
- 6 Notable BJJ Red Belts
- 6.1 Carlson Gracie
- 6.2 Rorion Gracie
- 6.3 Reyson Gracie
- 6.4 Relson Gracie
- 6.5 Carley Gracie
- 6.6 Robson Gracie
- 6.7 Reylson Gracie
- 6.8 Reyson Gracie
- 6.9 Rickson Gracie
- 6.10 Pedro Hemeterio
- 6.11 Joao Alberto Barreto
- 6.12 Alvaro Barreto
- 6.13 Sergio Barreto
- 6.14 Armando Wridt
- 6.15 Pedro Valente Sr.
- 6.16 Wilson Mattos
- 6.17 Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro
- 6.18 Francisco Mansor
- 6.19 Carlos Antonio Rosado
- 6.20 Renato Paquet
- 6.21 Ricardo Murgel
- 6.22 Francisco Sa
- 6.23 Flavio Behring
- 6.24 Derval Luciano Rego
- 6.25 Marcus Soares
- 6.26 Oswaldo Paqueta
- 6.27 Geny Rebelo
- 6.28 Jose Higeno
- 6.29 Geraldo Flores
- 6.30 Crezio Chavez
- 6.31 Helio Vigio
- 6.32 Paulo Mauricio Strauch
- 6.33 Nahum Rabay
- 6.34 Deoclecio Paulo
What is a BJJ Red Belt?
A 9th degree BJJ red belt is the highest rank that a Jiu Jitsu practitioner can achieve in the martial art. It signifies that you are a master of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and know every facet of the martial art.
Less than a fraction of a fraction of grapplers will ever live to achieve this rank. Making it one of the hardest.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a BJJ Red Belt?
The time it would take to earn a BJJ red belt would really depend on how fast you got your BJJ black belt. If you begin training from the time you were a child, you would put in about ten years of training.
After that time, the years between each BJJ black belt rank usually look something like this.
- 1rst Degree BJJ Black Belt: 3 Years
- 2nd Degree BJJ Black Belt: 3 Years
- 3rd Degree BJJ Black Belt: 3 Years
- 4th Degree BJJ Black Belt: 5 Years
- 5th Degree BJJ Black Belt: 5 Years
- 6th Degree BJJ Black Belt: 5 Years
- 7th Degree BJJ Coral Belt(Red/Black): 7 Years
- 8th Degree BJJ Coral Belt(Red/White): 7 Years
- 9th Degree BJJ Red Belt: 10 Years
Total: 48 Years
To become a BJJ red belt, you would need to have trained your entire life. Also be nearly or over sixty years of age.
Is it Possible to Earn a BJJ Red Belt?
Less than a fraction, of a fraction, of grapplers will ever live to achieve this rank. Making is one of the hardest ranks to achieve within all martial arts with a belt ranking system.
To have the best shot at earning a BJJ red belt, you would need to practice BJJ all of your life. Earning your first degree BJJ black belt before the age of twenty would be ideal to make this goal a possibility.
Then if you’re lucky enough to live in good health to live beyond 60 years old. This is why most practitioners don’t humor the idea of earning a 9th degree BJJ red belt.
Most grapplers are just content with being able to train throughout their lifetime. Being lucky enough to live to see old age and being able to stay on the mats training.
Is There a Rank Higher Than The BJJ Red Belt?
Yes, after the 9th degree red belt rank, there is the 10th degree rank, but it isn’t achievable. The 10th degree rank in BJJ is strictly reserved for those that first developed the martial art.
There are only seven practitioners in the history of Jiu Jitsu that hold this rank, which include:
- Carlos Gracie Sr.
- Helio Gracie
- George Gracie
- Gastao Gracie
- Oswald Gracie
- Luiz Franca Filho(Posthumously Awarded)
- Oswaldo Fadda(Posthumously Awarded)
How Many Have Held The Rank of BJJ Red Belt?
There have been over 30 Jiu Jitsu practitioners that have been able to reach the 9th degree rank. All of which were students of the original BJJ grandmasters that created the martial art.
Notable BJJ Red Belts
You should know the names of the few grapplers that were given the honor of being 9th degree red belts. Here is a list of the Jiu Jitsu practitioners that had the honor of earning their BJJ red belts.
The son of Carlos Gracie Sr. who was a champion BJJ and Vale Tudo fighter. Carlson is most known for founding the Carlson Gracie affiliation. An affiliation that produced some of the greatest BJJ athletes of all time.
Rorion Gracie is one of the most famous of Helio’s sons that is known for co-founding the UFC. Also establishing the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in the US.
The third son of Carlos Sr, who helped bring Jiu Jitsu to the Amazon region of Brazil. Particularly the Brazilian state of Bahia.
Helios’s son, who was a BJJ champion for 22 years straight. Relson now lives in Brazil and runs his own affiliation called the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Carley Gracie was the very first of the Gracie’s to introduce the martial art into the US. He runs his own school in California and is the son of omoplata master Clark Gracie.
Robson Gracie fought in Vale Tudo for two decades before becoming a political prisoner in the 1960s. He is currently the president of the Jiu Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro.
Reylson Gracie was one of the first of the Gracie brothers’ sons to open their own academy in 1974. He is also famous for naming numerous techniques used in the martial art, which includes, the mata leao.(Rear-Naked-Choke)
Reyson Gracie was an undefeated Vale Tudo fighter and Jiu Jitsu champion. He is most credited with introducing BJJ to the Brazilian state of Amazonas.
Rickson Gracie is considered to be the best fighter within the Gracie family that was never defeated in competition. He was the last BJJ practitioner to be awarded with a BJJ red belt.
Pedro Hemeterio was the very first student of Helio Gracie. After earning his black belt, Hemeterio would spend three decades teaching at the Sao Paulo State University.
Joao Alberto Barreto
One of the famous Barreto brothers was one of Helio Gracie’s very first BJJ students. During his younger years, Barreto fought in Vale Tudo before spending the rest of his life teaching.
Alvaro Barreto was one of the best non-Gracie BJJ athletes during the 1950s. He helped his brothers found Equipe Barreto. One of the first non-Gracie Jiu Jitsu schools along with Oswaldo Fadda.
Sergio Barreto is the youngest of the three Barreto brothers that helped found the Barreto Jiu Jitsu school and affiliation.
Armando Wridt was an undefeated Vale Tudo fighter during the 1950s. He is only one of seven red belts to be given this rank by Helio Gracie.
Pedro Valente Sr.
A good friend of Helio Gracie that began training under him in 1953. Valente Sr. was also a veteran and famous plastic surgeon within Brazil.
One of the oldest students of Oswaldo Fadda, who was able to reach the rank of 9th degree red belt. Wilson has been running his own school Equipe Mestre Wilson since the 1970s and has affiliated schools worldwide.
Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro
One of the first black belts under Oswaldo Fadda, taught self defense to the police in Rio de Janeiro for decades.
One of the few students of Helio Gracie to earn his red belt from the martial art’s grandmaster. Mansor would open the famous Kioto BJJ academy that would produce numerous Jiu Jitsu champions.
Carlos Antonio Rosado
The only student of the late Carlson Gracie to be awarded a BJJ red belt personally from Carlson himself. Rosado is also the youngest practitioner to ever receive this rank.
Renato Paquet was an all around sportsman along with being a Jiu Jitsu red belt. He was also a boxing champion and Judo black belt.
A BJJ red belt under fellow BJJ red belt Flavio Behring.
Francisco Sa is credited with bringing Jiu Jitsu to the Ceara region within northern Brazil. He traveled to the region and opened his own Jiu Jitsu school in the 1960s.
A former Jiu Jistu champion that is famous for opening the powerful Behring Jiu Jitsu affiliation.
Derval Luciano Rego
Lucian Rego or Master Morcego as he’s known helped co-found the CBJJ and later IBJJF with Carlos Gracie Jr.
Marcus Soares is a student of Carlson Gracie that helped introduce Jiu Jitsu to the country of Canada.
Oswaldo Paqueta was one of Carlson Gracie’s best friends and has practiced Jiu Jitsu since the 1950s.
Geny Rebelo is a student of Helio Gracie that is known for opening the highly respected Serrana Academy.
A student of Master Aderbal Baptista of the Oswaldo Fadda lineage. During his younger years, Higeno was a Valet Tudo fighter that would later create his own fight promotion.
Geraldo Flores is a student of the Oswaldo Fadda lineage that helped establish BJJ in northern Rio de Janeiro.
Crezio Chavez was a Gracie Jiu Jitsu student, who was an undefeated fighter during the 1950s. Chavez is responsible for establishing Jiu Jitsu within the city of Petropolis within the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Helio Vigio was a Gracie Jiu Jitsu student that fought in Vale Tudo during the 1950s. Vigio would later go on to be one of the most famous referees within Brazil.
Paulo Mauricio Strauch
Paulo Mauricio Strauch is one of the original students of Reylson Gracie. Strauch has been teaching for five decades and taught everyone from Caio Terra to Alexandre Vieira.
Raby was a student of 10th degree red belt George Gracie and is known for being a famous Brazilian musician.
Master Deo Paulo had been practicing Jiu Jitsu since the 1940s. He is one of the original students from the Oswaldo Fadda lineage.