Promotions & Rankings

Judo being a sport based on hierarchy, it is generally accepted that the various ranks be represented by belts of different colors.The Yudansha “dan” grades, Black Belts, are awarded according to the National Rules (Grading Syllabus) adapted from the Rules of the International Judo Federation, while the “color” grades are given by the teachers, i.e. the technical director of a Dojo. This task requires a certain ability to judge and evaluate, to be performed properly.

Women generally wear the same color belts as men, with a white stripe on the length of the belt. This distinction was initiated by the Kodokan so that women would be differentiated from men competitors. But with the increasing number of women actively involved in national and international competition, the tradition of the white-striped belt seems to be vanishing.

The time requirements between promotions to different color belts is variable and is based on the following criteria:

  • Physical fitness level
  • Age
  • Regular attendance at classes
  • Frequency of classes per week
  • Student-teacher ratio
  • Facilities and equipment
  • The natural disposition of the student

Judo Rankings

Here is the list of various ranks, and the corresponding belt color, as it applies in Canada.

Kyu Grades (Mudansha – non black belt holders)
White Belt Rokyu 6th Grade White Belt
Yellow Belt Gokyu 5th Grade Yellow Belt
Orange Belt Yonkyu 4th Grade Orange Belt
Green Belt Sankyu 3rd Grade Green Belt
Blue Belt Nikyu 2nd Grade Blue Belt
Brown Belt Ikkyu 1st Grade Brown Belt
Dan Grades (Yudansha – black belt holders)
Black Belt Shodan 1st Grade Black Belt
Black Belt Nidan 2nd Grade Black Belt
Black Belt Sandan 3rd Grade Black Belt
Black Belt Yondan 4th Grade Black Belt
Black Belt Godan 5th Grade Black Belt
Black or Red and White Belt Rokudan 6th Grade Black or Red and White Belt
Black or Red and White Belt Shichidan 7th Grade Black or Red and White Belt
Black or Red and White Belt Hachidan 8th Grade Black or Red and White Belt
Red or Black Belt Kudan 9th Grade Red or Black Belt
Red or Black Belt Judan 10th Grade Red or Black Belt