Does anyone know how the stripe system works in BJJ?

Inside sources have told me that as a black belt you get your stripes automatically. The first three stripes come every 3 years. However, you have to be active for the entire 3 year year period, so you can't train for a year then take two years off and put an additional stripe on your belt, you must be active for the full 3 years. The stripes that follow come automatically every four years, and again the being active rule applies.

Now don't hold me to this, but I think a red belt applies after 9 stripes. If anyone has more accurate information then I humbly stand corrected.


I was was of the understanding that B/Belt stripes or dans were given for every 5 years of teaching.

Not sure about the stripes on coloured belts - seems to be more of a local/American thing than Brasilian?

Cisemek you almost had it right. I took the following from "Lords of the Amazon" (worth a read if you can find it):

Like many martial artists, when establishing his territory the BJJ Black Belt seeks to differentiate himself from his competitors, most commonly through employing a dazzling array of stripes on his belt. As you imagine, the more Black Belts concerntrated in a particular area, the greater number of stripes employed in an effort to attract prospective students.

Sometimes such flashy rituals attract not only mates, sorry students, but other fighters as well. Even so, in a similar manner to TKD Black Belts, nature compels them to perform their stripe display contest. One must pity the Black Belt who, resplendant in his immaculately maintained belt (often referred to as the Barcode) but dull-witted and flabby due to lack of hard training, is unable to defend his territory from such ruthless predators. Alas, such is the circle of life.

Dutch Law - What did I get wrong?

Stripes on a coloured belts appear to be an association specific thing. The only constant is the coloured belts.

I've heard the same thing regarding the 3yrs for a stripe, but I thought they still needed to be awarded to you. Not entirely sure. Someone should check out the CBJJ web site and see if there is any info there.


I've been training for a couple of years now, and what I can say for certain about belts and stripes is that my being unco. on the very highest level possible will never see me wearing a blue belt much less a black, but still it would be good to know the exact formalities for black belts getting their stripes.

Unless I'm mistaken, I think the most senior of the BJJBB's here in Australia that post on this forum is Paulo. So Paulo if you read this, maybe you can give the rest of us some insight RDP's question.

How many stripes do the Black Belts in Australia have?

JBW = ?
and all the rest ect ect ...

RDP - Coach was just in Perth doing a seminar, didn't you look at his belt and count how many stripes were on it?

I believe John Will has three stripes on his belt. You have to be careful, the red bar on the belt (where the stripes go) is borded top and bottom by a white stripe. If you're not careful you could count that in accidently as a stripe.

I believe Paulo has atleast one on his belt though the picture on his website shows none.

Checked out the Extreme website and interestingly enough there was only one picture of JD in a gi. Everything else was casual wear. No pictures to be able to determine stripes.


Three stripes on JW's belt is impressive. If the automatic rule is correct, this would mean that JW has been a black belt for at least 9 years. I've always been an Extreme student so I don't know much about JW. How long has he had his BB for?


nice post dutch , good to seeintellegent humour on here!

Rigan gave John his 3rd Degree Black belt earlier this year.

Anyone know what rank PdB is? Anyone had a chance to ask JD?


But Benny, you said you're girlfriend is a Brasilian? I would have figured that the 'landing strip' would have been removed to allow for easier taxi'ing on the runway, and entry to the hanger? :)

As long as there is no control tower sticking up it's all good.

LOL Steve, you are all class!

You must have had a Crying Game incident, huh?

"Three stripes on JW's belt is impressive. If the automatic rule is correct, this would mean that JW has been a black belt for at least 9 years. I've always been an Extreme student so I don't know much about JW. How long has he had his BB for?"

Yep Cisemek, not sure how that works as he got his Black belt in 1998 so if it's three years of teaching as a black belt then JBW shouldn't have three stripes until 2007? Weird.

Like I said earlier, I don't too much about JW, but I was always under the impression that he's had his BB for much longer than 6 years. Coach Donehue has also had his BB since 1998. I guess in the end it doesn't really matter how many stripes JW or any of the BB's have on their belts. If their students are happy with the instruction that they're receiving then that is what matter's most.