Viam Chao utilizes a belt ranking system to reward students, provide incentive, and help instructors easily gauge ability levels. There are 5 ranks currently (technically six if you count before the grey belt is awarded).
- Grey Belt - 4-6 months after beginning. Grey signifies neutrality; students are an open canvas, and have not yet "painted" it with knowledge or their own style.
- Blue Belt - 6 months after grey. Blue signifies a modest degree of dedication, unofficially the color of bruising (a student has been initiated into some degree of pain).
- Red Belt - 9-12 months after blue. Red signifies that the concepts are "running through their veins", unofficially the color blood (a student has bled in pursuit of knowledge).
- Green Belt - 12-24 months after red. Green signifies that the student has solid roots and is growing on their own, unofficially the color of leaves (a student begins to develop their own concepts and style).
- Black Belt - 12-24 months after green. Black signifies that the student has "reached midnight" in their journey; but really they are simply preparing to start a new day.
There is no white belt, which students would normally begin in; instead there is simply no belt before grey.
Children of any age are able to participate and learn. Unlike other systems, there is not a separate ranking system for children. Children who demonstrate sufficient knowledge and proficiency in the concepts and techniques are eligible to earn the same rank as adults. The only difference is that they cannot teach until the age of 16.
Practitioners are eligible to teach if they are both red belt and over the age of 16.
There are no intermediate stripes to delineate progress within a belt color, instead stripes denote one's level in Loricism, which is the system used to develop spiritual and mental self-defense. (Viam Chao was actually developed to supplement Loricism as the physical self-defense portion.) Just as with Viam Chao, one may qualify to teach Loricism at the third rank.