The Gracie belt ranking system was developed to signify growth within the art. Compared to most other martial arts, Gracie jiu-jitsu has far fewer belt ranks and places much less emphasis upon constant advancement.
The belt is simply a way for the instructor and other schools to recognize the student’s level of ability. The jiu-jitsu student should be able to train in any other school in the world and be competitive with the other students of the same rank.
Each colored belt has four stripes (or tips) before the next level. The ultimate goal of course is to reach the coveted black belt. Generally speaking, it can take between 6-15 years to reach this level.
This is the beginning of your study of the art. Here, you learn the fundamentals of balance, movement and leverage, as well as the basic positions and techniques. With so much new material, at first you may be a collector of techniques. This is alright for now, the overall strategy ofjiu–jitsu will become clearer as you progress.
You have a basic knowledge of all positions and most of the techniques, and you have started to put these together into a game plan. You are a more formidable opponent on the mat, and you have begun to develop a personal style.
You are a well-rounded fighter with a fluid and sophisticated game plan. You show strong techniques and transitions from any position, you anticipate and counter the techniques of less-experienced opponents, and you are better able to execute your preferred attacks, often by using several techniques in combination.
The brown belt is a transition stage to the black belt. Here you are developing your timing and fine-tuning your overall game to get ready for the final level of advancement.
The pinnacle of most martial arts is the black belt, but in jiu-jitsu, it is just the beginning of your understanding of the art. With a deeper knowledge of the techniques, you develop an understanding of “why” they work and not just “how.”
Remember, everyone starts in the same place. “A black belt is just a white belt that never quit.”