USJA Ranks

USJA's National Promotion System is designed to ensure that ranks awarded reflect the technical expertise, character development, and overall contribution of the individual.  This process requires the direct evaluation of all candidates.

(1) Candidates must meet certain minimum requirements to become eligible for promotion. They must then pass an exam and be recommended for promotion by their instructor for higher dans (black belts) ranks and provide the proper amount of documented USJA Activity Points. 

(2) All recommendations for promotions must be submitted to the USJA National Office on the proper forms for approval.

(3) All candidates for promotion must be Active Annual or Sustaining Life Members of a USJA Chartered Club with the proper time in grade in the previous rank.

(4) A $35.00 non-refundable processing fee must accompany all Dan (black belt) rank (RFPs & RVPs) recommendations.  The remainder of the fees must be remitted upon notification of successfully being promoted or validated.

(5) A current clear background check is required for all Dan (black belt) ranks by visiting the Background Screening Site.

(6) Safe Sport online certification for all Dan (black belt) ranks. 

(7) Heads-Up online certification - for all Dan (black belt) ranks .

(8) Promotions are done in accordance with USJA's National Promotion Board.  

- Ranks below 4th Dan are processed by the office.  

- Ranks of 4th and 5th Dan are reviewed by a sub-committee of the Promotion Board.

- Ranks of 6th Dan and above are decided on during the Promotion Board's quarterly conference calls held the first Wednesday of each new quarter.  Correct paperwork must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the call to be considered. 

- Ranks above 8th Dan require the additional approval of the USJA's Board of Directors.

- Ranks of 4th Dan and above must all include a brief biography with a passport photo or jpg

Links to USJA Promotion Forms and to Purchase Manual:

Junior Ranks

00 white

01 yellow

02 yellow

03 orange

04 orange

05 green

06 green

07 blue

08 blue

09 purple

10 purple

Senior Ranks

The chart below denotes belt color, minimum TIG, and classes required for each Senior Kyu rank (6th to 1st Kyu).

(Each class must be at least one hour long and no more than 2 classes a day can be counted.)

6th kyuYellow215
5th kyuOrange322
4th kyuGreen538
3rd kyuBrown650
2nd kyuBrown875
1st kyuBrown10100

The chart below denotes belt color, minimum TIG, points, and the number of sign-offs required for each Senior Dan rank (1st to 10th Dan).

1st to 5th
Dan Rank/Belt
A@60 pts/yr / TIG/points B@50 pts/yr / TIG/points C@40 pts/yr / TIG/points D@0 pts/yr
Required Rank or above
1 Dan Black1/602/1003/1205/0(1) 2D
2 Dan Black2/1203/1506/1607/0(1) 3D
3 Dan Black4/2405/2506/2409/0(1) 4D
4 Dan Black/Red5/3006/3007/28010/200(1) 5D
5 Dan Black/Red6/3607/3508/32011/220(1) 6D

6th to 10th
Dan Rank/Belt
A@90 pts/yr / TIG/points B@70 pts/yr / TIG/points C@50 pts/yr / TIG/points D@30 pts/yr / TIF/points Sign-off:
Required Rank or above
6 Dan Red/White7/6308/5609/45012/360(2) 7D
7 Dan Red/White8/7209/63010/50013/390(2) 8D
8 Dan Red/White9/81010/70011/55014/420Promotion Board
9  and 10 Dan Red Promotion to these ranks is rare. The USJA Promotion Board and Board of Directors bestows these ranks based on a comprehensive review of the individual’s legacy of achievements as well as service to the USJA in terms of their effect nationally and internationally on the world judo community.

High Dan Ranks applicant should be active at these levels:  

  • 6th Dan - Local and State level
  • 7th Dan - State and Regional level
  • 8th Dan - National and Pan Am level
  • 9th Dan - International and Continental level
  • 10th Dan - World and Olympic level

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Only those with documented activities at the highest levels are considered for high dan promotions. Sixty percent (60%) or more of the activities must be at the levels shown as follows or higher. Activities that include those for visually impaired (VI), such as Parapan Games, Para World, and Paralympics, also meet this requirement equally.

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