Can You Get Belts In No-Gi BJJ?

Can You Get Belts In No-Gi BJJ

No-Gi BJJ is as popular as Gi BJJ. It has a different ruleset and techniques which make it different from the other type. If you want to transition to MMA, then No-Gi BJJ is the best for you as it focuses more on submission wrestling.

1. What is No-Gi BJJ?

There are two types of BJJ, Gi BJJ and No-Gi BJJ. No-Gi BJJ involves grappling without wearing the traditional uniform, BJJ Gi or Kimono. Practitioners wear rash guards, compression shirts, spats, and shorts during training and competing.

No-Gi BJJ focuses on the same principles and techniques as traditional BJJ, including takedowns, positional control, submissions, and escapes, but with a greater emphasis on speed, agility, and athleticism. Without the added friction and control provided by the Gi, practitioners must rely more on body positioning, leverage, and timing to control their opponents.

No-Gi BJJ is more beneficial and closer to the mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, where the absence of the gi allows practitioners to focus on their grip strengthstamina, and techniques. It is also a popular form of training for wrestlers, judokas, and other martial artists who want to improve their grappling skills.

2. History of No-Gi BJJ

No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has its roots in the traditional Gi-based style of BJJ that was developed in Brazil in the early 20th century. The earliest practitioners of BJJ trained primarily in the Gi, which was seen as an important part of the uniform and provided an effective tool for controlling opponents.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners began to explore the possibilities of training without the traditional BJJ Gi. It was quite helpful in MMA because there wasn’t and still isn’t any concept of the Gi in it. Fighters can easily transition from No-Gi BJJ to MMA.

One of the pioneers of No-Gi BJJ was John Machado, (late) who was a 7th-degree Coral Belt in BJJ, and began experimenting with No-Gi techniques in the early 1990s. Other notable practitioners who helped to popularize No-Gi BJJ include Eddie Bravo, who developed the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu system, known as Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) and Marcelo Garcia, who is known for HIS highly successful No-Gi grappling career.

Today, No-Gi BJJ is a popular and highly respected martial art discipline with a growing number of competitions and competitors. Many top-level MMA fighters and submission grapplers, such as George St-Pierre and Gordon Ryan are renowned successful No-Gi competitors.

3. Concept of Belts in No-Gi BJJ

In No-Gi BJJ belts are used to signify the ranks of the practitioners. They are not worn during training sessions or competitions. They are only worn when instructors promote their students to the next belt level. It is a proper ceremony, especially for Black Belt promotion, where all the students of the gym gather and the instructor rewards the ones who have made it to the Black Belt.

No-Gi BJJ is a variation of traditional BJJ that is practiced without the traditional uniform (Gi) and its associated belt. Instead, practitioners typically wear rash guards, shorts, or spats, which do not have any belt loops.

However, some No-Gi BJJ schools may use a belt ranking system to recognize students' progress and promote them to the next belt level. In such cases, belts may be awarded based on a student's performance and technical knowledge.

It is worth noticing that not all No-Gi BJJ schools use a belt ranking system, and some prefer to focus on skill development rather than belt promotions. Ultimately, the decision to use belts in No-Gi BJJ is up to the policies of BJJ institutions.

The only significance that belts hold in No-Gi BJJ is to denote the rank of the practitioner.

4. Juvenile No-Gi Belt Ranking System

Juvenile belt ranking system differs from the adult ones. There is a certain age for awarding juvenile belts to kids. The age ranges from 4 to 15.

Belt Minimum Age Requirement
White Belt (No Age Requirement)
Grey / White Belt 4-15
Solid Gray 5-15
Gray / Black 6-15
Yellow / White 7-15
Solid Yellow 8-15
Yellow / Black 9-15
Orange / White 10-15
Solid Orange 11-15
Orange / Black 12-15
Green / White 13-15
Solid Green 14-15
Green / Black 15-15

4.1. White Belt

White belt is for basic movements such sweeps and shrimping (bridging).

4.2. Grey Belt

Grey belt is awarded to those children who have learned basic submissions, sweeps, and takedowns.

4.3. Yellow Belt

At the yellow belt level, practitioners are expected to have a good understanding of basic positions, techniques such as guard, RNC, side control, and their defenses, and to be able to perform fundamental techniques, escapes, and submissions with reasonable proficiency.

4.4. Orange Belt

At the Orange belt level, practitioners are considered advanced. They are expected to have knowledge of complicated techniques.

4.5. Green Belt

At the Green belt level, kids must have developed extensive knowledge of takedowns and several BJJ techniques. It is the last belt in the juvenile belt category.

5. Adult Belt Ranking System of No-Gi BJJ

5.1. White Belt

White is the first adult belt rank. White belt training focuses on escapes and defensive techniques.

Level Beginner
Minimum Age No Fixed Age
Stripes 4
Time Between Stripes More than 4 Months

5.2. Blue Belt

Blue Belt is the second adult rank. At the Blue Belt level, practitioners have technical knowledge of BJJ techniques.

Level Intermediate
Minimum Age 16 Years
Stripes 4
Time Between Stripes More Than 6 Months

5.3. Purple Belt

Purple Belt is the advanced adult rank. At this belt level, practitioners can instruct lower-belt students. According to the IBJJF, a practitioner must remain a Purple Belt for 1.5 years.

Level Advanced
Minimum Age 16 Years or Older
Stripes 4
Time Between Stripes More than 6 Months

5.4. Brown Belt

Brown Belt is considered the expert belt level. According to IBJJF, a practitioner must be a Brown Belt for at least 1 year.

Level Expert
Minimum Age 17 Years or Older
Stripes 4
Time Between Stripes More than 6 Months

5.5. Black Belt

Black Belt is the highest rank in BJJ. It denotes that the practitioner is an expert in BJJ with a high level of technical skills. Some BJJ schools address Black Belts as Professors while some reserve the title for more senior degree belt holders.

Level Expert
Minimum Age 18 Years or Older
Stripes 6
Time Between Stripes 3 years on 1st, 2nd & 3rd and 5 years on 4th, 5th & 6th degree

There are other higher ranks after the Black Belt which are termed as degrees of Black Belt.

6. Degrees of Black Belt

Belt Degree Title
6th-Degree Black Belt Master
7th-Degree Black Belt or Red / Black Coral Belt Holder Master
8th-Degree Black Belt or Red / White Coral Belt Holder Master
9th & 10th-Degree Black Belt or Red Belt Holder Grandmaster

Red & Black (Coral) Belt

Level Master
Minimum Age 50 Years
Stripes 7

Red & White (Coral) Belt

Level Master
Minimum Age 57 Years
Stripes 8

Red Belt

Level Grandmaster
Minimum Age 67 Years
Stripes 10

7. Benefits of No-Gi BJJ

There are several benefits to training in No-Gi BJJ:

Improved Athleticism: No-Gi BJJ places a greater emphasis on speed, agility, and explosiveness, which can help to improve your overall athleticism and fitness.

Increased Focus on Body Positioning: Without the grips and controls provided by the Gi, No-Gi BJJ requires greater emphasis on body positioning, leverage, and timing to control your opponent.

You can Transition to Other Combat Sports: No-Gi BJJ techniques are often used in mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions and can be useful for wrestlers, judokas, and other martial artists looking to improve their grappling skills.

Opportunity to Compete: No-Gi BJJ competitions have grown in popularity in recent years, offering practitioners the opportunity to test their skills against a range of opponents from different backgrounds and styles.

More Dynamic and Fast-Paced Training: No-Gi BJJ can be a great way to mix up your training and challenge yourself in new ways. It is often faster-paced and more dynamic than Gi-based training, making it a great way to develop your reflexes and reaction time.

Overall, No-Gi BJJ can be a fun and challenging form of training that offers many benefits for practitioners of all levels and backgrounds.

8. FAQs

8.1. Is No-Gi BJJ Better than Gi BJJ?

No-Gi BJJ focuses on brute strength while in Gi BJJ, fighters have leverage due to the presence of Gi. In the end, it all depends on you which type of BJJ suits you.

8.2. How Many Degrees of Black Belt are there?

There are 5 degrees of BJJ that are awarded to the masters of the art. The title of Grandmaster is reserved for Red Belt practitioners.

8.3. Is ADCC a No-Gi Tournament?

ADCC is a No-Gi invitation-only tournament that has a distinctive ruleset. It is famous for its big cash prizes.

9. Conclusion

No-Gi BJJ is as important as Gi BJJ. It is a grappling sport that focuses on grip strength without the presence of Gi. Belts are used in No-Gi BJJ to signify the rank of the practitioner, otherwise, Gi and belts are not worn by No-Gi fighters. No-Gi BJJ specifically pays attention to fighters’ athletic performance and explosiveness.

Related Readings

Reading next

Felipe “Preguica” Pena - Multiple Times World Champion
Luanna Alzuguir - IBJJF Hall of Famer and Founder of AVIV JJ Schoo

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.