How Long Does It Take to Get a Yellow Belt in BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools offer a larger number of belts to kids than they do adults. This helps to keep the kids engaged and motivated. But how long does it take to get a yellow belt in BJJ?

On average, it takes 3.33 years for BJJ students ages 15 and under to receive a yellow belt. A gray belt is below yellow, just above white, and gray has 3 levels to achieve prior to moving up to yellow.

But again, those are averages.

Some kids take longer, and some do it faster. So let’s look at the actual criteria to gauge when a student is ready for a yellow belt.

Let’s get started.

What is the order of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belts for kids?

Kids’ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belts go from white to gray to yellow to orange to green. Green is the highest belt for kids 15 and under. Once a student turns 16, they automatically move to a blue belt in the adult belt system.

And for students who were a green belt for at least 2 years before turning 16, they move to purple belt in the adult system.

There are 13 kids’ BJJ belts, including the white belt, so let’s look at each one and how long the transition between all of them takes, on average.

White belt

Everyone (kid and adult) starts their BJJ adventure with this belt. And even if your child has done a different martial art elsewhere, the expectation, generally, is that starting over at a white belt is the best way to proceed.

Grey belt

  • Belts: grey with white bar, grey, grey with black bar

The minimum age is 4 years old. The average time for promotion varies; 6 months for grey and white, another six months for grey and black, and six months for solid grey.

Your youngster will receive his or her first promotion to a grey belt with a white bar running across its length. This initial promotion should take roughly 6 months, depending on the gym.

Following that, the IBJJF recommends 8 months per belt.

Yellow belt

  • Belts included: Yellow with white bar, yellow, and yellow with black bar

The minimum age is 7. The average time to achieve yellow with white bar is about 4 years of training. The average time for each promotion is 8 months.

Orange belt

  • Belts included: orange with white bar, orange, and orange with black bar

The minimum age is 10 years. The average time to obtain an orange with white belt is 7 years of training. The average time for each promotion is 8 months.

Green belt

  • Belts included: green with white bar, green, and green + black bar

The minimum age is 13 years. Average time to receive green + white belt: 10 years of training. The average time for each promotion is 8 months.

Can kids skip belts in BJJ?

Skipping belts in BJJ is conceivable but uncommon. It usually happens only if the “skipper” comes from a high-level wrestling or Judo background or if he or she has been training significantly more than average.

Travis Stevens, an Olympic Judo silver medalist, is the most well-known example of a BJJ athlete who skipped belts.

Following his Judo career, Stevens was quickly upgraded to purple belt, and after only a year of training, he was awarded a black belt. But your child most likely isn’t training at the Olympic level in a related martial art.

But there are a lot of similarities between Judo and BJJ.

In a recent article posted on my website, I compared BJJ and Judo specifically for self-defense. BJJ is based on both Judo and traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. But there’s one key difference.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do kids’ BJJ belts work when they turn 16?

When a BJJ student turns 16, assuming they are above a white belt, they automatically move to a blue belt in the adult belt system. However, if they have spent at least 2 years as a green belt prior to turning 16, then they move to a purple belt.

It’s important to point out though, that this isn’t an exact science, and the instructor’s observations of the skill level of the student do factor in.

In other words, how much a student has learned, how motivated they are when training, and how consistently they train will be factored in.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lessons teach children several skills that they will need for the rest of their lives.

Unlike most other martial arts that have evolved over time, many BJJ schools have remained true to BJJ’s original origins. The biggest differences are that some schools focus on self-defense while others focus on sport and competition.

But is BJJ the best martial art for self-defense?

In a recent article, I compared Aikido with BJJ when used for self-defense. Aikido sometimes gets a bad rap. And it’s true it’s not used much in MMA. But there’s 1 way an Aikido fighter could trounce a BJJ practitioner.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Why is the BJJ belt progression different for kids compared to adults?

In the BJJ belt system for kids, the colors and stripes are given more often than adult belts are to ensure kids stay motivated to keep practicing. But it also recognizes that a 12-year-old, no matter how skilled, would not have the same abilities as an adult even if the belt color were the same.

But there are some other reasons too, such as:

  • Physical size – You must have the body of an adult before you can obtain your blue belt or anything higher.
  • Allowing for added years of training – Because BJJ promotes based on time, there must be a way to compensate for the extra time that children would have to put in if they were adults.
  • Accounts for less focus in class – Because children’s classes waste more time getting kids to stay focused than adult classes, less technique is learned per class.

But BJJ isn’t for everyone.

In a recent article posted on my website, I talked about the pros and cons of BJJ. I looked at each one, including the 1 con that eventually led me to start training a different martial art.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What is the best age to start BJJ?

The best age to begin training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is between the ages of 7 and 10. This helps ensure they are mature enough to learn the skills, and they will be more likely to stick with it through their teen years.

But really any age from 3 to 60 is OK to start training.

The difficulty with allowing your child to start too young is that it’s easy for them to lose interest 6 months later as they are still figuring out who they are and what they like.

By waiting, the child has started to get a sense of self and will naturally begin gravitating towards activities they truly connect with.

Our educational system has (hopefully) already ingrained in them the necessity of discipline, following directions, and positive social relationships.

It’s fine to be shy or extroverted, but a child who refuses to engage or is easily distracted may not be ready yet. Your child’s maturity has much to do with his or her performance in BJJ training.

The good news is that a skilled BJJ instructor can help you analyze your child and determine whether they are ready now or whether they require more time.

The key to your child’s success is for them to be open to suggestions and to be honest with their instructor about their abilities.

The more effectively you communicate on your child’s behalf, the closer they will be to determining the appropriate age to begin their BJJ journey.

The easiest way to find out if your youngster is ready for BJJ training is to give it a shot.

Alec’s First Taekwondo Belt Test / from White to Yellow belt


To start with, we looked at the order of the BJJ belt system for kids. We also checked if it’s possible for kids to skip belts in BJJ.

We looked at how kids’ BJJ belts work when they turn 16 and then checked why the BJJ belt progression in kids is different when compared to adults.

And then we wrapped up with what the best age to start BJJ is.

Image by YasDO from Pixabay


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