Someone asked me a question the other day and I couldn't answer it. I was hoping you guys could shed some light on things. The question was what is the difference between, say, a 2nd degree black belt and a 5th degree? In many traditional arts, there is a set criteria and you have to do certain things to earn the belt. For example, in Judo there are set techniques and kata you need to know to pass certain degree tests. In Taijutsu, up to 5th degree there are set tehcniques and after 5th it is things like loyalty, teaching skill, work with in the org. etc. Is there any rhyme or reason to BJJ belts? My feeling is that after a certain level (maybe black or 2nd degree) it becomes more of a political/personal thing between that individual and the person that gives the belt. i.e. less about fighting ability or pure technical knowledge. Also are there set guidelines on who can promote to what? Just curious and I couldn't find any answers.