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What does the Tab mean on my BJJ belt?

Battle Gear Belts
Battle Gear BJJ Belts

As you would have noticed by now, your BJJ belt has a Black tab on one end and you might have also noticed that the Black belts have a red Tab on theirs. Did you know that there are other variations? Different schools and gyms have slight differences and options for their grading systems but in general, the following is a basic guide to what the tabs mean and who they are for.


BJJ Blue Belt
BJJ Blue belt with Black Tab

Black tabs are on all belts under Black Belt. The Black tabs allow for white stripes to be added during promotions. You can get a maximum of 4 white stripes before you get the promoted to the next belt level. WHITE TABS

Black belt with a White tab
Black belt with a White tab

Black belt with a white tab. This is a rare combination but in recent years, it is starting to gain popularity and can now be seen often worn by balck belts on the podiums of major competitions. A Black Belt with a white tab signifies that the wearer's main focus is competition. He / She is a regular competitor / fighter.

Stripes are not added to the White tab


The Belt with a Red Tab signifies that the wearer is an instructor or has the ability to teach. The most common is to have a Black belt with a red tab as nowadays it is almost by default that when you are awarded a Black belt that the belt will come with a Red Tab. Not as common (but you will find these out there) are coloured belts (Blue, Purple and Brown) with Red Tabs. These signifies that the wearer is an instructor, assistant instructor or involved in the teaching of the BJJ programme at the academy / team. Stripes are awarded as normal but for Black belts a max of 6 stripes instead of 4 can be awarded.


Hopefully this has been helpful if you have ever wondered about the Tab colours...and now that you know, remember not to get too concerned over promotions. BJJ is a not a martial art for someone who wants a fast black belt. It is a long but rewarding journey. Always keep in mind that your own improvement is the most important of all. Improve at your own pace and strengths. Belt colours do not matter in the long run so Never Stop, Never Give up and always go forward. OSS!

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Jul 29, 2023

I saw a post on facebook that a black belt has a blue tab. What does the blue tab mean? Is there other tabs that mean other things?

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