Belt Rank System
Notes about the judo promotion/rank system In 1907, Jigoro Kano introduced the modern judogi (uniform) with its modern obi (belt), but he only used white or black belts. The white uniform represented the values of purity, avoidance of ego, and simplicity. It gave no outward indication of social class so that all students began as equals. The black belt with the white judogi represents the polarity of opposites, or “in” and “yo” - the student begins “empty”, but fills up with knowledge. Professor Kano was an educator, and he used a hierarchy to set learning objectives for Judo students, just as students typically pass from one grade to another in the public school system. The Judo rank system represents a progression of learning with a syllabus and a corresponding grade indicating an individual’s level of proficiency. Earning a black belt is like graduating from high school or college. It indicates you have achieved a basic level of proficiency, learned the fundamental skills and can perform them in a functional manner, and you are now ready to pursue Judo on a more serious and advanced level as a professional or a person seeking an advanced degree would. Of course, the rankings also represent progress towards the ultimate objective of judo which is to improve the self not just physically, but morally as well. Achievement in Judo is recognized by a series of ranks. The student ranks are called kyu and are usually differentiated by colored belts (obi). Different colors may be used around the world and in some countries there are more than 6 kyu ranks. The ten “black belt”, or expert, ranks are called dan. Note that different organizations have slightly different belt colors and combinations per rank. The following is a simplified comparison of USJA/USJF/Canada systems to traditional Kodokan (Japanese) systems. (EmeraldCity Judo, while primarily a USJA club, utilizes the USJF ranking system) Thanks to the excellent site http://judopedia.com/index.php?title=Ranking_System_and_Belt_Colors
[†] Female children wear a white stripe through the center of their belt. This belt is called a “Joshi” (女子) belt, as stated below in the adult ranks section. Male children do not have a stripe on their belt.
[†] (Kodokan) Females may wear a white stripe through the center of their belt. This belt is called a “Joshi” (女子) belt. Female children may also wear the white stripe on their colored belts. According to the IJF, the joshi belt is not legal in international competition anymore Males do not have a stripe on their belt. Many females outside of Japan do not wear a stripe around their belt.
[‡] (USJA/USJF/Canada) The red and white panel belt is optional. The name of this belt is “Kohaku” (紅白) belt.  It is often worn for special occasions.
[†‡](Kodokan) Eighth dan females are allowed to wear a red joshi belt instead of the kohaku belt.
[§] (All)The solid red belt is optional and is also used for special occasions.
[**] The USJA used to allow an optional red and black panel belt. When the USJA started a jujitsu division in the early 90′s they began permitting the wearing of the red/black belt for 4th and 5th dans because it was used by some jujitsu schools. Most USJA judoka did not wear them. It does not exist within Kōdōkan judo or within the IJF.
Junior Ranks (nominally up to 16 years old)Please keep in mind that individual clubs may not abide exactly by these ranking systems. For more details about the ranking system used at your school, please speak to your instructor. Notes: Kōdōkan: These ranks are from 6 and up to 13 years old. USJA: This system is for students 16 years of age and younger. Official guidelines state that the student should wear a patch that denotes the rank. USJF: This system is for students 16 years of age and younger. Canada: The half color belts are commonly divided length wise, but paneled belts are also allowed.
|Mu-dan-sha||Kyu (not dan) Rank||Belt Colors|
|(18th-12th grade possible)|
|nana-kyū, shichi-kyū||7th grade||Green||Orange||Orange|
|Mu-dan-sha||Kyu (not dan) Rank||Belt Colors|
|nana-kyū, shichi-kyū||7th grade|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 http://www.judoinfo.com/obi.htm
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Cichorei Kano, Red and Black Obi (JudoForum)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 http://www.usja-judo.org/Docs2004/National%20Judo%20Rank%20System.pdf
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 http://www.usjf.com/public/rank_requirement.pdf
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 http://www.ausjudo.com.au/jfa/forms?tabKey=3107
- ↑ http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical/documents/KyuGradingSyllabus_004.pdf
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical/gradings_home.php
- ↑ http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical/documents/KyuGradingSyllabus.pdf
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 http://www.judocanada.org/doc/doc/00000534_kyūSylE.pdf
- ↑ http://www.judorio.org.br/graduacao_do_judo.html
- ↑ Judoheidi, Colors of Belts (JudoForum)
- ↑ ptnippon
- ↑ Jonesy, Colors of Belts (JudoForum)
- ↑ JudoSensei, Red and Black Obi (JudoForum)
- ↑ http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical/documents/JuniorGradingSyllabus_002.pdf
- ↑ http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical/documents/JuniorGradingSyllabus.pdf