You probably know about the adult Jiu Jitsu belt rankings, but not much about the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings. The kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings is a whole different system that goes by a different grading process.
If you’re a parent wanting their kid to try BJJ or even just curious, this write up is for you. This is everything you need to know about the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings.
Going through why the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings were created and going through each belt in the system. We’ll also compare the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings to the adult rankings and answer common questions about the ranking system.
- 1 Who invented belt rankings and why?
- 2 Why were kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings invented?
- 3 The differences between kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings and adult rankings
- 4 What are the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings?
- 5 What are the age brackets of the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings?
- 6 When do kids move up from the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings to the adult rankings?
- 7 Are kids as good as adults in BJJ?
- 8 Were the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings a success?
Who invented belt rankings and why?
Before we break down the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings, we have to go back to who invented belt rankings. This will answer the question of why martial arts like BJJ use a ranking system.
Modern belt rankings were created by Grandmaster Jigoro Kano, who was the founder of Judo. At first, Kano just used white belts for students and black belts for teachers and later brown belts were added.
But many of Kano’s black belt students still saw flaws in their master’s belt ranking system.
Not all of the students were on the same level as they didn’t all have the same experience and skill. It also made it harder for them to grade their students and for them to see the progress they were making.
Judo master Gunji Koizumi would add the six color belts into Judo in the year 1926. Master Mikonosuke Kawaishi would introduce colored belts into Rance and create a teaching system for western students.
This system became the standard that all Judo teachers use to grade their students’ progress. Judo exploded in popularity as more students gained confidence from the introduction to colored belts. They could see their progress, which encouraged them to continue training.
Shotokan Karate founder and personal friend of Jigoro Kano, Gichin Funakoshi would adopt the colored belt system. Pretty soon all martial arts, including BJJ would develop their colored belt ranking systems.
Why were kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings invented?
Kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings were developed for a few different reasons. The biggest being to ensure the legitimacy of the martial art.
A martial art like BJJ would be taken less seriously if kids shared the same colored belts as adults who train. Jiu Jitsu would also run into the same problem that Karate and Taekwondo deal with.
There will be teenagers under the age of 16 that will start earning the rank of black belt in BJJ. This would hurt the integrity of the martial art, which is why the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings were implemented.
The differences between kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings and adult rankings
There is one big difference between the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings and the adult ranking systems. The kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings have more belts than the adult belt ranking system.
Compared to the 5 belts in adult rankings, the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings include 13 different belts. Originally it also just 5 like the adult belt rankings, but the kids belt rankings were later updated to 13.
The reason for this addition of belts was to reward kids more often for their progression and keep them training. To keep most kids interested in anything they have to be awarded frequently for the progress they make.
This is why more belts were added in the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings and why they get stripes more often. It has increased the number of kids that stay in BJJ and continue to train.
What are the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings?
The kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings are as followed below:
- White Belt
- Gray w/ White Stripe
- Gray w/ Black Stripe
- Yellow w/ White Stripe
- Yellow w/ Black Stripe
- Orange w/ White Stripe
- Orange w/ Black Stripe
- Green w/ White Stripe
- Green w/ Black Stripe
What are the age brackets of the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings?
Each block of belts in the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings not only signify rank, but also age. Below is an explanation of each kid’s belt below.
The BJJ white belt is the first belt in both the adults and kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings. The IBJJF belt rankings chart indicates that the white belt is kids at the age of 4 to adults at any age.
The gray belts were designed for kids from the ages of 4-15. This belt is similar to what a blue belt is for adult BJJ students.
If a kid trains consistently, they should graduate through each gray belt at around 6-8 months. Once you go through the gray belts you graduate to the yellow belts.
BJJ yellow belts were designed for kids from the ages of 7 to 16. If your kid starts training at the age of 4, they will reach the yellow belt ranking by the age of 7.
For a kid to get to the yellow belt level, they will need to have trained at least 3 years. At this point, they’re starting to get pretty good at Jiu Jitsu.
The green belts are the highest ranking of the kids Jiu Jitsu belt ranking system. If a kid started training at an early age and got their green belt w/ black stripe, they’re really good.
Basically at the level of a competitive blue belt or good purple belt. They can really give some adults some problems with the skills they have developed.
When do kids move up from the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings to the adult rankings?
BJJ kids usually graduate from the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings at the age of 16. Their graduation is usually signified by their graduation to the rank of blue belt. Once they reach the rank of blue belt, they move up to train in the adult classes.
Are kids as good as adults in BJJ?
If a kid starts training at the age of 4 and joins an adult class at around 15 or 16, they are an incredibly skilled grappler. That means they have put at least 10 years into their training before reaching the adult belts.
Going through the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings made them incredibly sharp with their technique. They will earn their BJJ black belt by their early 20s.
Were the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings a success?
Adding the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings was an incredibly successful move in the martial art. Not only did it increase the legitimacy of BJJ, but also made the kids that train incredibly good.
The kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings have created some monster grapplers that are now adult world champions. Probably the best example of the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings being a success is Mike Musumeci.
Mike started training at the age of 5 and hasn’t stopped training for the last 20 years. His dedication has led him to winning 4 IBJJF World Championship titles.
Thanks to the kids Jiu Jitsu belt rankings, the martial art has been able to evolve rapidly. The technique will continue to be innovated and the BJJ athletes are only going to keep getting better.