Brazilian Jiu Jitsu awards belts for proficiency and attitude. Unlike many martial arts, belts are earned over several years with the first belt (blue) taking as many as three or four years to earn. A dedicated student may expect to receive their black belt after 10 years of training.
Along the way progress is recognised by awarding "stripes" which are attached to the belt. 4 stripes are awarded in the progression towards the next belt.
Instructors at black belt level continue to receive stripes (known as degrees) which are a recognition of the time dedicated to the sport. The first three degrees are awarded every three years and thereafter a degree is awarded every five years.