Gracie Humaitá Sydney has a Belt Grading coming up with quite a few eligible students ready to test. We thought we would take this opportunity to answer some questions about the process of grading for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belts and why we grade to begin with.
Some schools

do not require grading for belts and belts are handed out at the instructor’s discretion, or after a certain number of classes are attended, or some times without notice. With the growth and spread of our martial art Gracie Humaitá has adopted a testing format to go along with belt progressions. We find this helps ensure the quality and standards that were always meant to be associated with belts. Having a syllabus and known testing requirements also helps disseminate and make plain the information that each belt holder of a certainly level should rightly know.
Belts are a rating of general aptitude and abilities in the martial art. If you are a white belt that can catch everyone in your triangle yet you can’t escape mount, does this make you a blue belt? If you are tapping every other white belt this also doesn’t necessarily use technique to accomplish these submissions, are you ready for you next belt? By the same token, even if you are not tapping everyone at your belt level but present a difficult roll that others can’t tap out does it mean you AREN’T ready for your next belt?
A general ability and a certain level of technique or answers in all of the major positions is the first thing instructors and professors look for when they consider your eligibility to test for your next belt. Because instructors are constantly watching and evaluating your progress on the mats they already know what your ability level is before there is a grading. They will not set you up to fail a test when they announce that you are ready to test!
So now we come to why we test in the first place if the actually application of BJJ happens in real time and not in a ‘testing environment’.
As your ability to apply technique in real time rolling has already been assessed on the mats, what instructors glean from testing is your academic understanding of vital techniques, your memory recall, and attention to detail, which in total are your ability to learn and your application of that learning process. No one loves testing but under a testing environment, with a little bit of pressure, we are able to see if you can think and performs techniques rationally and with skill. These things are essential habits that need to be cultivated as you progress through the belt levels and develop as a practitioner of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. They are also essential if you should even need to apply Jiu Jitsu outside of the school environment. Your ability to apply the techniques you have learnt under pressure mean the capacity to safely and successfully defend and stand for yourself. This is the primary purpose and heart of Jiu Jitsu. Everyone at Gracie Sydney is here to help you develop, so if you are testing make sure to drill with your partners and ask questions as you prepare for testing.
We are looking forward to welcoming our next batch of coloured belts to the mats!