The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system is a means of signifying a practitioner’s increasing levels of technical knowledge and practical skill within the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Colored belts that are worn as part of the uniform are awarded to the practitioner.
Few published guidelines or standards determine when a practitioner is ready for promotion; the criterion is generally determined by individual instructors and/or academies.
Technical and conceptual knowledge are judged by the number of techniques a student can perform, and the level of skill with which they are performed in live grappling, allowing smaller and older practitioners to be recognized for their knowledge, although they may not be the strongest fighters in the school. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a distinctly individual sport, and practitioners are encouraged to adapt the techniques to their body type, strategic preferences, and level of athleticism. The ultimate criterion for promotion is the ability to execute the techniques successfully, rather than strict stylistic compliance.