I remember reading a long while ago (when BJJ was first hitting popularity) about how they had different colour tips (or sheaths as they seem to be known) for their black belts (white and red from memory) where the stripes go. One colour was for fighters and one was for instructors.

Is this still the case or is it not just a black belt is a black belt?

If it is still the case, what is the process for crossing over from one to the other? So if someone got to be a 3rd Dan fighter rank but then wanted to go more in to teaching, do they just get a 4th Dan instructor rank on their next test or do they have to start again from 1st Dan instructor rank?

  • 2
    I've never heard of this. That's not to say it's not true in some organization or lineage, of course, but to my knowledge there's no fighter/instructor difference. Dec 15, 2014 at 14:59
  • There are some comments about it from 2010 here - jiujitsuforums.com/discussion/26540/ranking-bar-end-stripes-/p1. However, as I said, it hasn't been talked about (anywhere I've been) recently so maybe it was a rare thing that kinda died out. Thanks for your comment. Dec 15, 2014 at 16:29
  • 1
    "There are special classifications for Black Belt fighters and instructors. Instructors have Black Belts with red bands and Black Belt fighters have white bands. Typically, Black Belt instructors are not allowed to promote others up to Black Belt rank until they receive their first stripe." rogergracie.com/?page_id=350 - looks like some people still do this (surprised to see such a well known source talk about it, so glad I googled it further after your answer). Dec 15, 2014 at 16:30
  • 1
    I learn something every day, I suppose. I wonder, as you do, if they mean vale tudo/MMA fighter or just a sport competitor? I wonder how they define sport competitor—must they be currently active? Weird stuff. Dec 15, 2014 at 21:36
  • If one substitutes BJJ for "soccer", it makes quite a lot of sense. Dec 17, 2014 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


By the rules (IBJJF - International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt must have a black tip. In case of the Black belt the tip should be white or red.

Red is for who teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some guys ( and this is mistake ) change the black tip in other belts for a red tip. This is not right. Just a black belt should use a red tip.

White is for who practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some times called fighter. This is less commun. The most of the black belts who teach or not have a red tip in the belt.

The black belt receive the degrees by age. As a example the 1st and 2nd after 3 years. It's mean after 6 years in the black belt they are able to give a black belt as well. 3rd, 4th, 5th degrees after 5 years. Doesn't matter how long the guys are black belt if they choose change for white tip, they still have the number of years in the belt.

enter image description here

  • When you say "by the rules" what/whose rules are these? Thanks. Jun 17, 2015 at 10:38
  • 1
    The rules of the ibjjf.org/rules
    – AFetter
    Jun 17, 2015 at 11:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.