How to Install Stripes on a Jiu Jitsu Belt

Written by dom tsui
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How to Install Stripes on a Jiu Jitsu Belt
Stripes on your belt signify experience and ability. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Like many martial arts, Jiu Jitsu uses a system of coloured belts to show the rank and skill of its practitioners. Belts typically range from a white belt for beginners, to black belt for those with an advanced level of skill and knowledge. Some schools of Jiu Jitsu, most noticeably the grappling focused off shoot known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which typically requires practitioners to spend years with the same coloured belt, also use a system of stripes to distinguish between differing levels of skill and experience within the same belt rank. The more stripes you have, the higher your skill and experience.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Earn your stripe from your instructor. In Jiu Jitsu, especially in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, your instructor is the only person who can issue you with stripes and attach them onto your belt. You can earn your stripes through time spent practicing, or through showing ability, even if you are not yet ready for your next belt promotion.

  2. 2

    Give your belt to your instructor, who will normally attach the stripe himself. Some instructors will do this ceremoniously at the end of a class, while others will do this without the fuss. You will need a special belt which differs from normal martial arts belts, as they will have a black cloth section at one end specifically for this purpose.

  3. 3

    Attach the stripe. Jiu jitsu stripes are typically white on the black patch of your belt -- which is there specifically to hold stripes in place. They can be as formal as a strip of white cloth sewn to the belt, or as simple as a strip of white tape wrapped around the belt. You will normally receive up to five white stripes around your belt, before you are eligible for promotion to the next belt rank.

Tips and warnings

  • You may have to wait a long time between earning stripes, while they can also be a less than complete indicator of your level of ability, so there is no need to get disheartened if you feel you are not getting a stripe that you deserve.

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