Meet The Second Ever Non-Brazilian BJJ Coral Belt

Meet The Second Ever Non-Brazilian BJJ Coral Belt

Roy Harris, accomplished American martial artist is often mentioned as a part of the “BJJ Dirty Dozen“, the first group of 12 non Brazilian men to have been distinguished with the rank of black belt in this grappling style.

Harris made history last weekend when he was promoted to the rank of coral belt in BJJ (7th degree on the black belt) by his instructor Joe Moreira. Harris thus becomes the second ever non-Brazilian BJJ coral belt.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coral belt is a prestigious level achieved after typically 29 years at black belt. The criteria and length varies according to the different BJJ belt systems. There are actual 6 distinct belt systems used in BJJ and each one is different.

The IBJJF requires a practitioner to practice and teach at the black belt level for a minimum of three years before progressing to the next rank for the first 3 ranks. Ranks 4, 5, and 6 require 5 years each from the previous rank.

There are so many coral and red belts in Brazil which is normal considering that Brazilians have been training BJJ for 100 years. American BJJ practitioner Ken Gabrielson is the first official non-Brazilian BJJ coral belt, a rank he achieved in 2017, promoted by Reylson Gracie.

Gabrielson got his black belt all the way back in 1993 promoted by Reylson Gracie, which makes him the 2nd non-Brazilian BJJ black belt and part of the BJJ dirty dozen. He started training BJJ in 1982. He has been training Jiu-Jitsu for 41 years!

The majority of the BJJ dirty qualify for the coral belt time requirement but haven’t yet been promoted.


Updated List of BJJ Red Belts: There are Much More than You Think!


Harris stated:

“So…. This happened today…
I was promoted to Coral Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 😲 For this, I have no words!
I am thankful to Master Moreira for his confidence and trust in me. I’m also thankful for the kind words he spoke to me in private afterwards!
I am thankful to the Harris International students and instructors who drove and flew in from Mexico, Canada, Idaho, Illinois, Alabama, Arizona, San Diego, Inland Empire, Orange County and Texas JUST for my promotion! This meant the world to me.

With all my heart, thank you 😍”



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Roy Harris is also known as one of the first instructors to publicly publish a formal testing criteria for jiu jitsu, formalizing his promotion tests from white belt to black belt.

He is know for his incredible pressure passing:

Learn To Apply Precise Pressure In Efficient Ways From A Wide Range Of Positions With Roy Harris!

  • Multi-decade black belt Roy Harris shares essential details on HOW to apply precise pressure from a wide range of positions.
  • Understand how to use pressure to completely shut down your opponents’ guard leaving little option for submissions or sweeps.
  • Develop a higher guard passing success rate by learning to apply shoulder pressure from side control in a way that leaves no option to retain their guard.