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Tying the BJJ Belt: A Ritual of Tradition and Respect

Updated: Dec 16, 2023


In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), tying the belt is more than a practical necessity; it's a ritual steeped in tradition, respect, and a profound connection to the art. The process of securing the belt around the gi symbolizes a practitioner's journey, from a novice to a seasoned martial artist. Let's explore the significance of tying the BJJ belt and the proper techniques to embrace this integral aspect of the martial arts experience.

BJJ belt neatly and securely tied
Tying the BJJ belt a ritual of tradition and respect

The Symbolism Behind the Belt

The color of a BJJ belt signifies a practitioner's level of proficiency and experience. White belts represent beginners, while black belts denote mastery. The progression through colors signifies an individual's growth, both in skill and character, within the BJJ community.

Tying the BJJ belt is a moment of reflection and respect for the art, the instructor, and fellow practitioners. It embodies the humility required to learn and the gratitude towards those who guide the journey. The act is a fusion of tradition and modernity, connecting the practitioner to the rich history of martial arts.

Tying the BJJ Belt — Step by Step

I've experimented with different ways of tying the belt over the years, but I found that the most secure way was also the best looking way, in my opinion. Here is how I tie my belt.

Prepare your Gi top

Ensure your left lapel is closed over your right lapel. This is the way all BJJ gi tops were meant to be worn, so don't look like a noob by closing it the other way around.


Mark a quarter of the belt length and pin it just below the navel so that the short end is the stationary end.

Preparing the gi top and positioning the stationery end
Preparing the gi top and positioning the stationery end

Wrap Around

Wrap the long end twice around your waist until the free part of the moving end is about the length of the stationary end. Make sure the belt is aligned so that only the top layer is visible all around your waist.

Wrapping the bjj belt around waist
Wrapping the long end while keeping the short end stationery
wrapping bjj belt twice around waist
Make only the top belt layer visible

1st Cross Over

Take the end of the top layer and feed it under both layers from the bottom side and pull it through to the top side. At this point you now have a top-side end and a bottom-side end. Ensure the both ends are roughly even in length with the bottom end slightly longer than the top end.

first cross over of bjj belt
First cross over

2nd Cross Over

Most belt-tying methods agree up to this point. This is the step where things vary among the different methods. Take the top-side end and feed it between the top and bottom belt layers, leaving it loosely pulled through.

second cross over of bjj belt
Second cross over of belt

3rd Cross Over

Take the bottom-side end and feed it through the loose loop created from the 2nd cross over, but thread it between the top and bottom belt layers.

final cross over of bjj belt
Third cross over of belt

Tighten the Knot

Pull both ends until the knot becomes flat and tight. The ends should hang down evenly, creating a balanced and polished appearance.

Tightening the knot on the bjj belt
Tighten the knot

Wear it below the navel

Push your belt downwards below the navel so that the belt fits snugly around your waist. Don't look like the noob who wears his belt above the navel. You will often see experienced practitioners pushing their belt below their navel whenever they get the chance.

Symbolic Tug

Before stepping onto the mat, give a subtle tug to the belt. This final act symbolizes readiness for training, acknowledging the significance of the journey ahead.

Video of Step-by-Step Instructions


Tying the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt is a simple yet profound act that bridges the gap between tradition and modernity. It symbolizes the practitioner's commitment to learning, respect for the art, and acknowledgment of their progress. As BJJ continues to grow in popularity, the essence of this age-old ritual serves as a reminder that the journey is as important as the destination, and every knot tied is a step towards mastery and personal growth.

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