So for example, if someone is a blue belt and has been for years, but travels around a lot, has no regular club (and so can't get promoted presently) and has won many gold medals at blue belt, could they sign up for a competition at purple belt (whilst still wearing their blue belt)?

Please note this refers to gi competition only and I'm generally referring to competitions/tournaments that follow IBJJF rules.

1 Answer 1


Since you mentioned IBJJF rules, this is in the current rule book (v5.1.1).

See "Article 5: Registration", page 43.

5.8 The athlete may only compete as the belt they are registered under with the IBJJF (or its affiliates). If the athlete is promoted by his/her teacher before the minimum time spent in the previous belt requirement is met or minimum age, he/she cannot compete in this current belt nor the previous one.

5.9 Once an athlete’s gradation occurs, he can not compete in his previous belt anymore. If he gets promoted during a competition after his division is done, he will be forbidden from competing in the open class.

So the answer is that you have to be registered under the IBJJF with that rank, and there's a certification process to make sure you really qualify as having that rank.

Hope that helps.

  • 1
    What's the racionale behind this rules? Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 7:29
  • In my experience, this has never happened. No one at a tournament has ever asked me for proof of rank or for proof I've spent the minimum time at the previous rank. It might be in the rule book, but tournaments claiming to follow IBJJF rules certainly don't have the capacity to do this.
    – Cloud
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 8:52
  • 1
    They might not check it. But think about this. If someone sees you wearing a purple belt at one tournament, and then you show up somewhere else in a blue belt, people are going to notice that. They might wonder if you're competing as a blue belt even though you're a purple belt. Or they might expose you as a fake purple belt. I don't know if you've seen the youtube videos of fake BJJ black belts being exposed, but when it happens, it is seriously bad. You might get told by your instructor never to come back, and your rank stripped. You may not find an instructor who will take you after that. Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 15:08

Your Answer

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

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