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Green and Yellow Belt BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly popular and interesting Martial Art that dates back to the early 1900's. Since the Gracie's have taught this self defense Martial Art, many students have joined the ranks of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Over the years the Martial Art has evolved considerably thanks to athletes like Royce Gracie, John Daniher, Roger Gracie, Leo Vieira, Pedro Sauer and the Mendes brothers. In this day and age Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has detoured from the old traditional self defense systems into a more sports orientated Martial Art. Although many practitioners still practise the traditional way there is a mainstream popularity in the sporting aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

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What This Article Covers:

    Nowadays BJJ practitioners are heavily involved in competing at high profile tournaments, and with the rise of IBJJF and ADCC events, athletes are aiming to win world championships and other prestigious tournaments. Traditionally, wearing the Gi was always the right of passage for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete, but in more recent times there has been an exponential rise in NoGi competition. ADCC is huge for this as the famous Abu Dhabi competition has gained some significant momentum with the birth of NoGi Jiu Jitsu,  and the popularity of the more open ruleset.

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    WHAT DO THE DIFFERENT BELTS MEAN IN BJJ 

    WHITE BELT

    In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there are many different coloured belts, each of the belts have different bjj belt meanings. Like the white belt is the first belt in the series of kids Jiu Jitsu belts, it is also the first belt an adult beginner will wear. As a beginner, students will learn a vast array of techniques and concepts, like how to control an opponent by applying pressure and taking away their space. They will also learn how to create space underneath an opponent in order to escape positions and set up sweeps or submissions. Navigating their way through the white belt phase can be a lengthy process for some, while others will burn through and earn promotions rather quickly.

    BLUE BELT

    The bjj blue belt is an entirely different matter, as practitioners will earn the right of passage and become in tune with the flow of Jiu Jitsu. A blue belt is starting to learn leadership qualities as they will often gravitate towards white belts in their academy to show them the more basic fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu. Blue belts are also starting to show some significant skills within their technical application, as they will often become more aggressive in terms of submission attack systems. Mastering the blue belt phase is not just about their technical proficiency it is also about how they show their character inside the gym. Showing humility and integrity are substantial qualities that a practitioner at level two should be showcasing. 

    PURPLE BELT

    At the purple belt bjj level is where practitioners begin their coaching journey, as they will often help their instructors with assistance or even taking the reins of an adult or kids class. The purple level or otherwise known as the middle child is the halfway point in a practitioner's learning, this is the level where they will learn how to get a black belt in bjj. Learning how to teach is extremely important for the growth of a student, it is how most practitioners begin to truly break down the art in a way they can understand. Purple belts should have an outstanding knowledge of techniques, and they should also be evolving many of the concepts they have learnt to fit into their gamestyles. It is an exciting period in the evolution of a student and even though many purple belts are happy to stay at that level, a handful will go on to take the next step.

    BROWN BELT

    The brown belt level can be comprehensively hard to achieve, as a lot of students struggle with either consistency or injuries after nearly a decade in the sport. For the students that do take the next step, it is the stepping stone towards becoming a prestigious black belt. Brown belts will become exceptional teachers, as their knowledge and technical proficiency is highly regarded amongst their black belt coaches. As they head towards their black belt promotion they will refine all of their technical systems and master their submission chains. Brown belts will often be extremely formidable inside their academy mats as they are hungry for promotion. Most brown belts will use the competition process as a way to fast track towards the next level, it is also a great way to test themselves so they know their skills will stack up when they inevitably join the black belt bjj level.

    BLACK BELT

    The black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most prestigious belts that any practitioner can earn. Most students will take anywhere from ten to twenty years to achieve this upgrade. Becoming a black belt is a lifelong achievement, and as they step into the new role they can often feel like they are back to square one. It is quite common to hear black belts say "now you are a black belt you realise how little you know". Even though a black belt has an incredible wealth of knowledge and an exceptional technical proficiency, they will now become the small fish in a larger pond. It is extremely humbling to be promoted to the black belt level, and now their coaching journey will really begin as all students in a BJJ academy will look to them for guidance and leadership.

    CORAL BELT AND RED BELT

    The coral belt bjj level is largely unattainable, as to qualify for this promotion it takes over thirty years as a black belt. After receiving a black belt, the practitioner must train and coach for three years before they can earn their first degree. The second and third degree also takes three years per degree, before spending five years per each of their next three degrees, meaning it takes a minimum of twenty four years to become a sixth degree black belt. The next step is the red and black coral belt which takes seven years and is awarded with seven degrees on it. Another seven years later and the practitioner is awarded a red and white coral belt with eight degrees on it. The next step is highly unlikely for most BJJ practitioners, the red belt bjj level is awarded with nine degrees and is only available after spending ten years as an eighth degree coral belt. Another ten years and a tenth degree is added, it is a significantly long time for practitioners as it takes nearly sixty years as a black belt to receive the honour of Grandmaster. This is a belt that is rarely handed out and is reserved for only the highest honoured pioneers of the Martial Art. 

    IS THERE A YELLOW BELT IN JIU-JITSU

    Indeed, there is a yellow belt in the hierarchy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but its usage varies depending on the region and age group of practitioners. While for adult practitioners, the belt progression typically begins with white and then transitions to blue, purple, brown, and black, for children, there's an additional set of belt rankings. This unique progression includes white, grey, yellow, orange, and green belts before transitioning to the standard adult ranks. The yellow belt in this context signifies a level of progression for younger practitioners.

    The yellow belt is generally designed for children between the ages of 7 and 15, acting as an intermediate level to prepare them for more advanced techniques and concepts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Children at this level are typically taught a broader range of styles, strategies, and BJJ principles, allowing them to expand their skills and understanding of the sport. They also start learning about more complicated aspects of BJJ, such as advanced sweeps, submissions and escapes. This unique belt system for children aims to keep young practitioners motivated and engaged, while gradually and safely developing their skills before transitioning to the adult ranking system.

    GREEN AND YELLOW BELT

    The green and yellow belt is not an official belt rank in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, instead it is a belt used to differentiate between competitors at tournaments. When two competitors are stepping up to the competition mats, one of them is required to tie the green and yellow belt around their waist over their ranking belt. This is important so that the referee can distinguish between both fighters, and when the referee awards points there is no mix up. Usually the belt is used if two competitors are wearing the same coloured Gi, the belt is not always needed if both competitors have different coloured Gi's on making it easy for the referee to distinguish, but it is at the referee's discretion. When two competitors are competing in a NoGi division it is quite common to see one of them having to wear a coloured strap around their ankle, this is so the points are given to the correct competitor.

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    WHITE YELLOW BELT

    The concept of a white-yellow belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is particularly relevant within the youth ranks. After starting with a white belt, young practitioners usually progress to a grey belt, and subsequently, to a white-yellow belt. This belt signifies a transitional phase between the white and full yellow belt, indicating the young grappler's growth in skills and knowledge.

    The white-yellow belt is an important milestone in a young practitioner's journey, demonstrating their hard work, commitment, and understanding of basic BJJ techniques and principles. At this level, the young student is expected to show improvement in their ability to execute essential techniques such as escapes, basic submissions, and guard retention strategies, while also demonstrating a grasp of key BJJ values such as respect, discipline, and sportsmanship. It's important to note that the introduction of these transitional belts like the white-yellow belt can vary depending on the academy's specific curriculum and progression system.

    YELLOW JIU JITSU GI

    When it comes to choosing a Gi for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, many practitioners often gravitate towards traditional colors like white, blue, or black. However, the use of a yellow Jiu-Jitsu Gi can be an exciting and vibrant alternative, often standing out on the mat due to its unique color.

    A yellow Jiu-Jitsu Gi does not indicate a specific rank or level within the sport but is rather a personal choice of style and aesthetics. It's an excellent way for practitioners to express their unique personalities while participating in martial art. Despite the uncommon color, these Gis meet the same quality and design standards as their more traditionally colored counterparts. They are crafted to withstand the rigors of intense grappling, including takedowns, submissions, and guard passing drills. So, if you're looking to differentiate yourself or add a bit of flair to your BJJ wardrobe, a yellow Jiu-Jitsu Gi might just be the perfect fit. Remember, however, to check with your academy's dress code, as some may require specific Gi colors for training and competition.

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    IS THERE A DISADVANTAGE TO WEARING THE GREEN AND YELLOW BELT

    Wearing the green and yellow belt can be advantageous and has disadvantages too, one thing is for sure it is an IBJJF condition to wear it and it must be adhered to, especially at the more high profile tournaments like the World Championships, the Brazilian Nationals and the European Championships.

    ADVANTAGES 

    Wearing the second belt tied over another belt will make it extremely tough for an opponent to open the lapel. With the evolution of Jiu Jitsu many practitioners are utilising the lapel game, where they will pull out their opponents lapel and use it to wrap up their limbs or their neck in order to achieve sweeps or submissions. If their opponent is wearing the extra belt it becomes significantly harder to execute their techniques, making the belt an advantage to the wearer. 

    DISADVANTAGES 

    There are significant disadvantages associated with wearing the competition belt. Wearing two belts can become stifling during a heated battle on the competition mats, it can also work as an extra handle for their opponent. Some guard players like to utilise a belt grip in order to sweep their opponents, so if their opponent has two belts on it can make it an easier handle for the sweeper. It can also be a disadvantage as someone trying to pass their guard can access a greater handle in order to pass.

    DO ALL COMPETITIONS USE THE GREEN AND YELLOW BELT 

    What you might find is that the smaller competitions may not utilise the green and yellow belt. Sometimes referees are highly experienced and are able to easily distinguish between competitors. When we are talking about the upper echelon of prestigious events like the IBJJF World Championships and other high profile events, there is a need for the green and yellow belt. When it comes to a world title a referee cannot afford to make a simple error like giving the wrong competitor the points, so it becomes imperative that a clear distinction can be made. That is why the green and yellow belt has become significantly important.

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    DO KIDS HAVE TO WEAR THE GREEN AND YELLOW BELT 

    In the case of children it is not very common to see a referee make the kids wear the belt, especially while they are very young. Kids at the younger age are far easier to track while they are competing due to their inexperience with significant movements. When kids grow over the age of ten and begin climbing into the ranks of orange and green, then it becomes more frequent to see those kids made to wear the green and yellow belt. It really comes down to the referee's discretion as to whether or not they need to wear the belt. Extremely experienced referee's might feel they have the match under control and therefore decide to leave the belt out of the fight. 

    SHOULD THEY SCRAP THE GREEN AND YELLOW BELT

    This is a really good topic open for discussion, as there are good arguments for both sides of the equation. Some would argue that the belt is more of a hindrance to the practitioner wearing the belt, and if their opponent was able to use the belt to win that could be deemed unfair. Others will argue that if the belt is not worn then it could become confusing for the referee to adjudicate the match and therefore result in time wasting or an incorrect winner of the match.

    Some practitioners have called for the belt to be scrapped from the rulebook, so there is an even and fair match between both competitors. Others have said that if a competitor wears the belt then they should be allowed to take off their ranked belt. The problem that lies here is that many would argue that taking off your belt rank is disrespectful towards the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. So it's a tough debate as arguments on both sides have relevant points, but for the immediate future the green and yellow belt is here to stay.

    All and all wearing an extra belt is a small price to pay to be allowed to step onto the competition mats. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly respected Martial Art and the traditions involved should be protected by all of its practitioners.

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