BJJ Black Belt Vs. Judo Black Belt

Judo and Brazilian jiu jitsu, or BJJ, are both practices that evolved from traditional Japanese jiu jitsu. Stylistically, judo uses more standing and grappling poses while BJJ tends to focus on ground fighting. Because they are different systems, the route to securing a coveted black belt is slightly different for each martial art.

The black belt in both BJJ and judo indicates experience and knowledge. (Image: Milenko Bokan/iStock/Getty Images)

Getting the BJJ Black Belt

The progression from white belt to black belt in BJJ varies according to the age you start training at, according to the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation. Early starters, say from four years of age, have no minimum period of stay in each belt color. Students starting at age 18 or older take about five to six years to get from white to black belt. Graduation is very much at the discretion of the teacher. To gain a black belt, the student must be a member of the IBJJF, have a First Aid or CPR certificate and have attended an IBJJF referee course within the 12 months before the belt is awarded.

The Judo Dans

Judo's student ranks have colored belts followed by ten black belt "dans," from shodan to judan. The judo black belt wearer must have developed one or more "tokui waza," which are match-winning throws. In judo, achieving the first dan in black belt is just the beginning of becoming a serious judo athlete, and within the world of judo does not signify that the student is an expert. The minimum age for shodan is 14 years, according to the United States Judo Federation rulebook.

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