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What is the Price of a BJJ Belt Promotion?

What is the Price of a BJJ Belt Promotion?

A BJJ belt promotion provides extra revenue for the school and instructors. It is sometimes seen as a business tactic. Tests are conducted by instructors at the belt promotion ceremony and students are later promoted. BJJ students are required to pay testing fees to appear in the belt promotion exams. Additionally, some schools charge participation fees for various seminars and workshops that are integral to the BJJ belt promotion process. However, not every BJJ school conducts a belt promotion ceremony. Some schools just award a new belt to their deserving students without any ceremony or fees. This article provides complete insight into the price of a BJJ belt promotion.

1. How Are BJJ Belt Promotions Helpful BJJ Academies to Generate Revenue?

BJJ belt promotions greatly help BJJ academies generate more revenue. Revenue collection by BJJ academies is not inherently negative. Many academies use the revenue collected to improve the facilities offered, increase the mat space, organize different local competitions, register the academies in various IBJJF competitions, and create a fitness center within the academy. The only problem is that some academies do not inform about the additional belt charges at the time of admission. Hence, it is important to know how academies use BJJ belt promotions to earn more.

1.1. Testing Fees

In many BJJ academies, belt promotions are contingent upon successfully completing an examination. To take this exam, students are required to pay a fee that ranges from $100-$250 based on the belt rank for which they are taking the exam.

1.2. Belt & Gi Charges

Many BJJ academies include Gi and belt charges in the admission package. When a student is promoted to a higher rank, he is required to pay for the belt awarded to him by the instructor.

1.3. Competition Fees

Many BJJ academies make it mandatory for students to participate in in-house and other local BJJ competitions to demonstrate their skills. To participate in these competitions, students are required to pay a specified fee. If a student chooses to participate in multiple divisions, such as his own weight class and absolute division, he is charged more.

1.4. Special Events

Some academies convert the BJJ belt promotion ceremonies into a festive event. By selling entrance tickets and merchandise, academies generate revenue. Families and friends can attend the ceremony and participate in different activities. Sometimes famous BJJ black belts are invited for speeches or demonstrations to attract a larger audience. The generated revenue can be used to arrange a special dinner for the guests and promoted students. Pay for the guest’s airline ticket, or advertise the event to attract more BJJ aspirants.

1.5. Costs of BJJ Belt Promotion

BJJ belt rankings define the status of a practitioner in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It describes the skills and expertise of a practitioner. There is a certain time required for belt promotion at every level. The instructors are judges when it comes to belt promotion. They evaluate the tests that are necessary for belt promotion of their students. It is the measure of any practitioner's progress.

1.6. Belt Promotion Ceremony

A BJJ belt promotion ceremony is conducted by your instructor at your BJJ school or gym. Getting awarded a black belt from your instructor is a great achievement for practitioners. Often some famous black belts are invited at the ceremony for seminars. These seminars are a new opportunity for practitioners to network and learn from the masters of BJJ.

2. Belt by Belt Price of a BJJ Belt Promotion

The cost of a BJJ belt promotion varies at each belt level. Initially, the fee is less, but as the practitioner progresses towards higher belt levels, the price also elevates. Sometimes the price for every belt promotion is $100 to $200. Sometimes the charges differ according to the seniority of the belt.

2.1. White Belt

There is neither a minimum time nor the age required for a white belt promotion. The charges for a white belt promotion vary depending on the school, location, facilities offered at the academy, and events included in the promotion process. Any practitioner who joins a BJJ academy automatically gets a white belt. Hence, it is not a promotion, but rather a declaration that you have joined a BJJ academy. The white belt package usually includes the gym fee. Some academies also provide BJJ Gi and a white belt for additional charges.

2.2. Blue Belt

For a blue belt promotion, a practitioner has to pay around $150. The minimum age for a blue belt is 16 years, and the time required for blue belt promotion is at least 2 years. The cost of blue belt promotion may cover testing and the cost of the blue belt itself. As for BJJ blue belt training, the academies typically charge students on a monthly basis. Some academies may charge you based on the number of classes you attend in a week.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: White To Blue

2.3. Purple Belt

The minimum age for a purple belt is 16 and it takes 1.5 years for a blue belt to get his/her purple belt promotion. It costs $200 for a blue belt to get a purple belt promotion.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: Blue to Purple

2.4. Brown Belt

Brown belt promotion fee is $300. The minimum age for brown belt is 18 years and it takes one year for a purple belt to get promoted.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: Purple to Brown

2.5. Black Belt

The charges for black belt promotion are the highest. $400 is charged by the BJJ instructor to promote their brown belts to black. It takes one year for a brown belt to get a black belt promotion.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Rank Up Your BJJ Belt: Brown to Black

3. The Culture of BJJ Belt Promotion

The culture of BJJ belt promotion sounds a little absurd when there is no rule from the main governing body about charging its students for belt promotion. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is the official governing body for BJJ competitions all over the world. The price which BJJ practitioners pay to get promoted is solely at the discretion of their instructor, IBJJF has nothing to do with it.

3.1. Mandatory Seminar and Belt Promotion Fee

Practitioners are charged a seminar fee in order to get promoted. These seminars are sometimes conducted at the belt promotion ceremony. Famous and accomplished BJJ practitioners are invited in these seminars for a workshop, class, or speech. Students are often charged more whenever special guests are invited to these seminars and belt promotion ceremonies.

However, if your BJJ academy conducts tests for belt promotion, it is important for you to pay for the fee. Such practises are of common knowledge and practitioners are made aware of it when they are joining the academy. Even if the tests are conducted at some other time, other than the normal class time, it is appropriate to pay for the fee as your instructor is working overtime for your benefit.

3.2. Surprise Belt Promotion Fee

Sometimes BJJ practitioners are asked to pay a surprise belt promotion fee. The students are told beforehand about these expenses and when the time arrives for their promotions, gyms ask them to pay $100 to $200. This is seen as a shady practice which most academies do not support.

3.3. Supporting Your BJJ Organization in the Past

In the past when BJJ academies were stabilized, practitioners were asked to pay for belt promotion in order to support their academies. It was a common practice in Japan that later arrived in Brazil when Jiu-Jitsu arrived in Brazil.

3.4. Attendance Based Belt Promotion

Some academies promote their students on the basis of attendance. It means that a practitioner who is present for every class will most likely get a promotion early than the ones that skip. Although this only happens in a few academies, it is despised all over the world.

4. Unethical Ways BJJ Academies Charge for Belt Promotions

BJJ belt promotion fees are nothing new. However, some academies charge excessive amounts for BJJ promotions and employ unethical tactics to make you pay more than necessary.

4.1. Uninformed Price Hikes

Some academies charge higher belt promotion fees than what they inform students at the time of admission without any prior notice.

4.2. Referrals

Some BJJ academies compel students to bring referrals for discounts on BJJ belt promotions. The academies claim to offer discounts on training sessions and belt promotions. However, in reality, they unethically exploit their students to promote their business. Oftentimes, the promised discounts are not provided as stated; instead, hidden costs are added. 

4.3. Compulsory Event Participation

Some BJJ academies make it compulsory for all students to pay for an event or seminar regardless of their participation or promotion.

4.4. Frequent Promotions

Some BJJ academies promote their students frequently who pay hefty amounts. Instructors also make a bonus or commission by promoting more students each year even if the students lack the necessary skills required for a particular belt rank.

4.5. Promotion Testing Pressure

Some BJJ academies compel their students to undergo belt promotion tests even if they don’t feel adequately trained for it. Usually, instructors are well aware of their students’ abilities and whether they are ready for the promotional exam, yet they insist that the students take these exams. Failing students then becomes an opportunity to generate additional income through retake fees.

4.6. Creating a False Urgency

Sometimes academies urge students to secure their belt promotion tests the earliest possible by depositing the specified fee even though there are no time constraints. In addition, students are charged extra for not keeping up with the false deadline provided for belt promotion.

4.7. Forcing Students to Buy Academy Specific Gi

To generate more revenue, many academies make it mandatory for students to pay for the belt and also purchase the academy-branded Gi for belt promotion ceremony. 

5. FAQs

5.1. Is Belt Promotion Fee a Sign of Getting Ripped Off?

In some BJJ schools there is no concept of a belt promotion fee whereas some schools require extra charges from their students. Some practitioners are of the view that gym fees and other charges are already enough so there shouldn’t be any fee charges for belt promotion.

5.2. What are McDojos?

McDojo is a term used for BJJ schools that pay more attention to fee charges and awarding black belts rather than martial art techniques.

5.3. Is Attendance-Based Belt Promotion a Money Trap?

Though it happens in a few schools, it is present in the BJJ community. Those schools are termed as money-oriented. The greater the attendance of the students, the earlier they will be eligible for a belt promotion.

6. Conclusion

A BJJ belt progression is a sign of progress in the martial art. Practitioners strive hard to learn BJJ skills and are later tested to promote them to a new belt rank. BJJ schools charge their students a BJJ belt promotion fee. The price of the fee varies from belt to belt and also if there is a seminar on the belt promotion ceremony where famous black belts are invited to conduct the ceremony. Sometimes this belt promotion is attendance-based and sometimes students are charged with surprise promotion fees. This surprise promotion fee is not disclosed to the students at the time of their enrollment in the gym. However, IBJJF has nothing to do with the promotion fee. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly research a BJJ academy before enrolling. Ask the students who are training at a BJJ school for the belt promotion process. You can also seek advice from the BJJ community by joining different social media pages and forums. From training to tournaments and belt promotions, nothing comes free in the BJJ world. However, you should avoid the BJJ academies that are solely focused on making money rather than helping in your development as a seasoned BJJ black belt.

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