When people start taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lessons, one thing they want to know is how long it takes to become a Black Belt. The belt graduation system in BJJ is much different than other martial arts, like Tae Kwon Do.
The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s belt graduation system is the standard for most schools. Here is a chart from the IBJJF website that details the minimum age requirements and hierarchy. Click to enlarge the graphic.
How Long Does it Take to Get a BJJ Black Belt?
What’s important to remember is that those are only guidelines with minimum age requirements. Jeff Curran, the MMA fighter and coach who is a BJJ black belt under Pedro Sauer, never gives a timetable when his students ask the black belt question.
“I tell students it took me 12 years during a different time. But ultimately, a black belt is just a white belt that didn’t quit.”
2014 Pan Am champion Renato Tavares commented about the IBJJF guidelines on his Facebook a while back.
“Is funny now people ask to be promote by time just because IBJJF put minimum time for each belt. Don’t forget is minimum, NOT maximum. If you ask me for belt because you already pass your minimum time in your belt you going to double your minimum time. Promotion for me is about understand what each belt means, NOT time. At Carlson Gracie Academy if you asked about promotion you got at least a big ‘Are you Crazy? Go training and when I see you care more about BJJ lifestyle than the color of your belt you going to be promoted.”
So the answer about how long it takes to get a black belt in BJJ? A long time. But black belts will tell you that it’s not just about the end result, but about the journey, the quest for continual self-improvement and lifelong learning.