Both Brazilian jiu jitsu and the more classic Japanese jiu jitsu use colored belts to indicate how much a student has learned. In Brazilian jiu jitsu, you must receive a total of four stripes -- one at a time -- on your belt before you can advance to the next rank. Sometimes teachers of Japanese jiu jitsu use a similar stripe system to keep students interested as they wait to progress to the next belt level.
The Black Patch
Most Brazilian-made jiu jitsu belts have a black rectangular patch at one end, except for the black belt which has a red patch; that patch is where stripes are attached. If your belt doesn't have a colored patch, your instructor might ask you to sew a patch on or create a patch out of black tape -- or he might simply attach the stripes to the bare end of the belt, as is usually done in Japanese jiu jitsu classes.
Attaching the Stripe
Most instructors apply stripes by wrapping waterproof medical tape around the belt several times. Some instructors use electrical tape instead. For advanced black belts that go a relatively long time between evaluations, fabric stripes may be sewn on instead of tape. Stripes awarded in Brazilian jiu jitsu are usually white; if stripes are award in a Japanese jiu jitsu class your instructor might use black stripes, or stripes the color of the next belt you're working toward.
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