THE ULTIMATE BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU BELT GUIDE
SO MANY BELTS, SO MANY CHOICES!
As you have probably seen, there are a lot of different belts from a lot of different brands but what is the difference between the belts from different brands? This is something difficult to see or feel when you are behind your computer buying your new BJJ Fightgear... I will try to give you an idea about the differences per belt from a distance.We used all the different brands of belts we sell on BJJ Fightgear for this review. There are belts in different price ranges.The differences in each belt lie in thickness and knot abilities. How strong is each belt? What kind of structure does it have? How difficult is it to knot the belt and how well does the belt stay knotted? Here are some of the notable differences:
- The Tatami belts are pretty thick, the stiffness will disappear in a couple of weeks. The structure of the belts material is feeling soft but firm.
- The Ground Game belts overrule Tatami in thickness, the structure of the material seems to be tougher and a bit harder than the Tatami belts.
- The Fuji belts on the other hand are thinner and softer but very firm, thinner means also that they will stay knotted easier than a thicker belt. The advantage of a thinner belt is, they wear out a little faster. Something practical about the Fuji Blue Belt: The Fuji blue belt is made of a lighter colour of blue than the blue belts from all the other brands, so instead of the darker, deep kind of blue you mostly see in gyms it is a light shade of blue.
- The Gameness belt does not feel like it is made of very rough material, it feels a little less compact than for example the Scramble or the Hyperfly belts, you can squeeze it in a little bit. The structure of the material is not as rough as the Ground Game belt.
- Then we also have Hyperfly belts, this belt looks pretty sleek, with the blue belt, the stitching is just another colour than the deep blue of the belt, it feels strong yet flexible and compact which is a nice thing. The design looks good, with the blue Hyperfly logo in the same colour as the blue belt, this is different from the Ground Game belt, where the colour of the Ground Game logo is a lighter shade than the belt itself.
- The last, but not least is the Scramble belt, this belt feels, directly out of the package, already flexible and smooth. Very different from the other belts which are mostly (very) stiff taken out of the package. The Scramble belt feels like Scramble used something rubberish woven into the material to immediately make it feel more flexible – but they didn’t… the belt feels really nice and soft but strong at the same time, the Scramble BJJ belt is reinforced with six rows of stitching. I would say the Scramble BJJ belt is really worth the extra 10 euro’s.
BUYING A NEW BELT
There are some things you need to keep in mind while buying your new BJJ belt, for example; you will use the belt for a lot of years, definitely when you are in possession of a higher ranked belt! When you are just starting there is nothing wrong with a cheaper kind of belt, they are perfect for the two years (approximately) you’ll have your white belt, with the low range Gis, the ones around 75 euros, you get a free white belt, these belts are usually a bit thinner than the ones you buy separately. There is nothing wrong with spending a little extra on a belt, it is important to have BJJ gear of high quality, don’t hold back with investing in good fight gear, you will use it for years!
JUST STARTING BJJ?
When you just started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you probably don’t know much about the sport since it is, well, not a very known sport (yet!). It is very common to be a bit nerves going to your first class, sooo… here are a couple of things to help you survive your first time tying your belt:
- When you buy a new belt it is important to buy a belt in the same size as your BJJ Gi. In some sports it is common to have a belt reaching all the way to your knees, in BJJ it is NOT, your BJJ belt should be sticking out around 20 cm on both sides of the knot in your belt. (after it is wrapped around your waste two times of course). Make sure the black part on the belt, for your ranking stripes, is completely out of the knot.
- NOTE; if you pack a little extra weight around the waste, you might want to consider buying a larger size belt than the Gi you are wearing...
- It is recommended to practice the reef-knot or flat knot, you don’t want one side of your belt sticking up like a one leafed palm tree… if you don’t know if your belt is knotted the right way, check with the other guys, just ask for help if you need any.
- Also, when buying a new BJJ belt, wash your belt a couple of times in the washing machine, knead it a little and, of course, a lot of rolling works wonders for softening! When your belt is softened to your liking, it is not really common to wash it a lot anymore – apart from when it gets real smelly of course – this way, your stripes will keep sticking and it will become visible if you’re training a lot (or not).
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF EACH DIFFERENT COLOUR?
The white belt is the first belt, when wearing a white belt you are a complete beginner. The thing you will mostly be doing is figuring out how techniques work. Help of higher belts is very important in this learning stage. The most difficult thing about being a white belt is the frustration about everything, the things that do not work, and you getting tapped a lot. You might experience a feeling of drowning and everything being to much since what you think you learned is not even working the way you want it to. On the other hand, during your white belt period you will feel the fastest development, everything you see and do is new, everything you learn will be a revelation. The white belt is really the belt where you will start to fall in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The second belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. A blue belt is more than just a different coloured belt around your waist. When you receive your blue belt you will know a decent defence and you will know how to escape from all major positions. You know how to correct the (big) mistakes you still make. Though your attacks will be good, your techniques are still lacking the smoothness of high purple belts and brown belts. One of the things you are keep able of is developing your skills more independent, since your understanding of Jiu Jitsu is much deeper. Something not too weird after 2 to 3 years of training… The frustrations in blue belt will mostly be about one day being unstoppable and the next day your game will be destroyed by everyone. You will have to deal with some emotions, highs and lows, another part of the BJJ journey. But, stay humble, don’t think that, now you have your blue belt you might be able to submit guys with a higher belt. This might make you feel more secure about your game but this can be a false sense of security.
As a purple belt, the third belt in BJJ, you will get more responsibilities. You will have to keep up the reputation of your sport and your gym, help new students and make sure they feel welcome. As a purple belt you will get to understand the benefits of using movement and momentum. Your game will be smooth and you will discover how to use your opponents weight to create momentum in your advantage. Your will perfect your defence and know all the different kind of guards. You will also learn to train more in depended. You’ll be developing a different relationship with your coach where you will be exchanging ideas more than just the coach talking and explaining.
When you finally reach your brown belt there will be little positions you don’t know yet, a good brown belt can give BJJ classes. You will be able to look ahead some steps of the lower ranked guys in your gym. Your top position and bottom will be very good around now, you will have developed your own style and probably be recognized as a top-, bottom-, or all-around player. And you will have some “signature” techniques which work on almost anybody.
When you get to your black belt you will be a master grappler. You are a highly efficient martial artist and not only that, your Jiu Jitsu will also look really good. When you get to black belt the years you’ve spend on the mat show. The road to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt is a very long but highly rewarding one.
“JIU JITSU FOR EVERYONE”
I would really like to point out something Averi Clements said - a blue belt under Andre Oliveira - about the opinion on new white belts in the gym. For many higher ranked and even more by advanced white belts, new white belts are somehow seen as fresh meat, tapping the new guys over and over during their first sparring sessions in their first BJJ class is something that occurs regularly… what people often say is that we should not “baby” new white belts. They have to immediately know what they’ve signed up for. - Of course you need to be tough for BJJ, it still is a sport that involves choking and joint locks and the occasional drop of sweat into an open eyeball. - But that way you are not building a good reputation for your gym and giving a horrible first impression of your sport to someone who is just starting out. People really need to remember the mantra “jiu-jitsu is for everyone.” The sport has the nickname ‘the gentle art’. the only thing standing in the way of benefitting more people than just you is, your ego. Instead of rolling your eyes at everything the new guys think is hard and difficult, help them improve their Jiu Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is hard. Encourage your new teammates, instead of pushing them down, So, like Averi Clements said; “kindly tie your ego up outside, so it stops peeing on the mats.” Thanks guys.