Imagine being a blue belt and going to an IBJJF tournament, only to compete against someone who’s… Well, obviously not a blue belt – who wrecks his opponents with apparent ease and who should (at the very least) be a purple belt.
And yet, there was nothing that your opponent nor his coach could’ve done about it. Because, under IBJJF rules, after you get promoted to a certain belt level – you had to stay at that belt level for a certain amount of time, before you were “allowed” to move up the ladder and compete at higher belt levels.
In other words, there was a graduation period that had to be respected under the IBJJF rules.
However, this rule has now changed a bit. The IBJJF has decided to remove the minimum belt time for adult world champions – the blue, purple, and brown belts.
The graduation periods for the white and black belts remains unchanged, as well as for the athletes under 18 years of age.
The official IBJJF website states:
In accordance with section 3.1.3, the IBJJF has updated the minimum graduation periods for adult blue, purple, and brown belt athletes.
If a blue, purple, or brown belt is an adult World Champion, he or she will no longer have a minimum period at that belt.
This change applies only to adult athletes age 18 and up. Please note that the graduation periods for white and black belts remain unchanged.
The Federation also emphasizes that “the General Graduation System may change as the sport continues to grow and evolve”.
So it might be the case that more changes will come in the relatively near future.