Advancement in jiu jitsu is recognized by a series of ranks. The student ranks are called "kyu" and are differentiated by coloured belts. The ten black belt ranks are called "dan". Adult ranks are:

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Grade Level Belt Colour
7th kyu yellow
6th kyu orange
5th kyu green
4th kyu purple
3rd kyu light blue
2nd kyu blue
1st kyu brown
1st dan to 5th dan black
6th dan to 8th dan red and white
9th dan to 10th dan red

Youth (under 18) ranks are:

Grade Level Belt Colour
7th kyu white with yellow stripe
6th kyu yellow with white stripe
5th kyu orange with white stripe
4th kyu green with white stripe
3rd kyu purple with white stripe
2nd kyu blue with white stripe
1st kyu brown with white stripe
Shodan-ho black with white stripe

Grading examinations are held in December, March and July. Through the more junior ranks, students will likely grade every 3 to 4 months. As students move to the more senior kyu ranks, the time interval between gradings increases. Through the dan ranks, an interval of many years occurs between each grade, consequently, high dan grades are extremely rare.