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The Best Way to Tie Your Jiu Jitsu Belt
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The Best Way to Tie Your Jiu Jitsu Belt

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Congratulations. If you’re reading this you have most likely made one of the best decisions of your life, to start your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey.  Taking the first step to promote yourself to your first belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is probably one of the hardest you will take.  The challenges and rewards that await you as you progress through the ranks and begin to understand the BJJ belts meaning are immeasurable.

For more on getting started with BJJ, check out Bernardo Faria's Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

how to tie jiu jitsu belt

One can assume that you’ve already done your homework and checked out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies in your area and scheduled your introduction and first classes.  The coaches and instructors will be glad to be your first source for information on techniques and protocols around the classes.

The average BJJ class is typically an hour or so in length and begins with a warmup that may include some light calisthenics or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu movement drills to prepare your body for the harder work to come.  The instructor of the class will then most likely demonstrate a few techniques, giving the students time in between to drill them with a training partner or fellow student.

At the close of class, many academies will allow students to train “live” or spar with each other.  This is the time when jiu jitsu students are encourage to begin implementing the techniques they’ve been learning on an opponent who is resisting what is happening.

All in all, a good jiu jitsu class will leave you feeling both physically and mentally drained as you reflect back upon the techniques and how you were able to implement them.  There’s no secret to getting good at jiu jitsu other than to attend classes consistently and to focus your attention while you’re there to help assimilate the material.

Now that we have a bit of general understanding about the typical Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, let’s talk about some other details like uniforms and such.  In traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, you will wear a kimono or Gi which is a thick martial arts uniform made up of a jacket and pants.  The jacket is typically held closed by a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt which is dyed in a series of colors that signify your rank with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The BJJ belts are markers that show your progress on the way to black belt.  Mos schools also use a stripe system signified by up to 4 pieces of tape on your while belt which tracks your progress through white belt to blue belt in BJJ and beyond.

Brand new students use a white belt to signify the fact that they are just starting out.  Once a student has begun to absorb techniques and become relatively proficient, they can be awarded their next belt which is blue.  The journey to blue belt typically lasts anywhere from 6-18 months depending on a number of factors like attendance and ability to become proficient. The next belt is the purple belt and this usually signifies a student who is becoming very proficient and is well on their way to the black belt.  The journey to purple belt can take as long as 2-5 years depending on the school and individual. How long it takes to get a purple belt in BJJ is dependent upon a number of factors, namely consistency and willingness to learn. 

After a few more years of diligent training, the purple belt can become eligible for their brown belt which is the final step before black.  The brown belt typically represents a seasoned student who has invested 7 or more years to their training.  Again, the nature of how long to get the brown belt in BJJ is up to your instructor and can be influenced by your class attendance and commitment to the art.  And finally, when the instructor has deemed the long-standing student deserving, they can be given one of the highest honors one can achieve in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is the black belt. 

The BJJ belt meanings can sometimes vary slightly between academies, but in simplest terms, the white belt signifies the beginner.  The blue belt signifies someone who has begun to accrue knowledge, but perhaps struggles to enact their game plan on opponents. The purple belt is the first of the more advanced belts and signifies someone who has begun creating their own game and is seeing some success in making it work.  The brown belt in BJJ typically signifies someone who is getting very good at all aspects of the sport.  Finally, when the instructor deems the timing is right, they will confer the black belt on the long time student who has persevered and become quite knowledgeable about the techniques and more importantly begins to help other students advance.  Don't get too hung up on what is the best BJJ belt, just enjoy your journey.

How to Tie A Jiu Jitsu Belt

Now that you’ve got a good background on a typical class and how the belt progression works, let’s get into an aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that some people learn once and never change and that others will spend their entire journey trying to perfect, tying a BJJ belt.

There are a number of ways of tying a BJJ belt, each with their own unique pros and cons.  We are going to describe one of the easiest and most common methods to accomplish the BJJ belt tie and get on with your class or competition.

Step One in how to tie my BJJ Gi belt

Find the center of your belt by folding it in the middle making sure the two ends are of equal length.  Just like any technique in jiu jitsu, finding the middle as well as you can will make the process of how to put on a jiu jitsu belt much easier and make all of the other steps of tying the belt fall into place.

Step Two In the BJJ Belt Tie Process

Now that you have found the middle of the belt, place that middle point at your belly button.  It goes without saying that you should have the two sides of your jacket closed in front of you.  Once you placed the middle of the belt at your belly button, let each of your hands go out in each direction holding the belt and wrapping it around your waist and back.  The two ends will cross at your back and you will bring them to the front.  Note:  You may need to make a few minor length adjustments at this point to ensure that you have equal portions of BJJ belt in either hand.

Step Three to Tie The Jiu Jitsu Belt

Once the two ends have been equalized, you can begin to make tension adjustments for comfort.  You want the belt to be relatively tight to maintain your Gi, but since Jiu Jitsu is a strenuous activity you don’t want any constriction of your midsection or core by the belt.  You will now take one end of the belt and cross over top of the other end.  You will direct the tip towards you and under the entire BJJ belt package pulling it upwards to tighten it further.

Step Four To Tying the Jiu Jitsu Belt

You now have two ends of the belt, one directly upwards and other directed downwards.  You will the portion in your right hand which is the portion pointed upwards and cross over the other portion and tie the jiu jitsu belt knot.  This will allow you to finish with a basic square knot.  This is not a tutorial in the tying of the jiu jitsu super-lock but it will allow you to create a sufficient belt knot that will stay tied during most classes.  When it comes to live training or sparring and competition, there is a high likelihood that this belt knot will come loose meaning you will possibly need to tie the belt again out of preference or if directed by a tournament official, but those precious moments when you are retying your belt can also be moments to gather your thoughts and your breath in order to fight on.

As stated earlier, this is by no means meant to be the ONLY way to tie your belt.  It is one of many different ways to tie a jiu jitsu belt.  The reason we think it is the best is that it is the simplest way to keep your belt tied while giving you a moment to mentally prepare for the class and tasks at hand.  Much like any BJJ technique you learn, you will find that there are different variations to the same move depending on a number of factors, with personal preference being one element.  If you want a fancier way to tie the belt, look around as there are plenty of examples out there and your teammates and coaches may be able to share a few to try. 

Just don’t get too hung up on the belt that’s probably going to come untied during a hard training session. Find the way that works best for you. Enjoy those few seconds to catch your breath, get your belt tied and get back to the more exciting aspects of your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.

Get more tips and tricks to get started on the right foot with BJJ with Bernardo Faria's Foundations of BJJ.

how to tie bjj belt

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