USJA Ranks

The USJA National Rank System is designed to ensure that promotions awarded reflect the technical expertise, character development, and overall contribution of the individual. Inherent in this process is the direct evaluation of all candidates.

(1) All students must meet certain minimum requirements to become eligible for promotion. They must then pass an exam and be recommended for promotion by their instructor or a Certificated Rank Examiner for higher dans (black belts) and provide the proper amount of documented USJA Promotion 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 promotion recommendations (shodan and higher). The remainder of the promotion fee must be remitted on notification of successfully passing to the rank applied for.

(5) A completed and clear current background check is required for all Dans (black belt ranks) per the USJA’s Background Screening Policy. These can also be completed online at the Background Screen Application Site.  In addition; Safe Sport and Heads-Up online certifications are also required.

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

- Ranks below 4 Dan are processed by the office.  

- Ranks of 4 and 5 Dan are reviewed by a sub-committee of the PB.*  

- Ranks of 6 Dan and above are decided on during the PB's closed conference call held the first Thursday of each new quarter.* 

  (Note - RFP’s must be submitted 2 weeks prior to the call to be considered at that time). 

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

* (these ranks also require a brief biography and a passport photo or jpg of the candidate)

Links to USJA Promotion Forms and to Purchase Manuals:

Certified Rank Examiner Application 

Junior Promotion Exam 

Junior Promotion Application 

Senior Dan Promotion Application 

Senior Kyu Promotion Application 

Senior Rank Validation Application 

USJA Senior Activity Log Template 

USJA's Online Store 

Link to all USJA Forms

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) 3D
2 Dan Black2/1203/1506/1607/0(1) 4D
3 Dan Black4/2405/2506/2409/0(1) 5D
4 Dan Black/Red5/3006/3007/28010/200(2) 6D
5 Dan Black/Red6/3607/3508/32011/220(2) 7D

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(1)6D + (2)7D
7 Dan Red/White8/7209/63010/50013/390(2)7D + (1)8D
8 Dan Red/White9/81010/70011/55014/420(2)7D + (1)8D + (1)9D
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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