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Jujitsu Committee

The USJA believes that all variations of Jujitsu have something to offer our Jujitsuka. We believe that all styles can peacefully coexist under one banner. We believe that all styles of Jujitsu should conform to the basic principles as broadly depicted in the USJA Jujitsu manual. We welcome variation and innovation, while still preserving the ancient principles and philosophy of Jujitsu.


Name Rank Email Location Role
Ben Bergwerf Kudan benbergwerf@gmail.com Deerfield IL 60015 IL, Isle of Palms SC Member
Dr. Ronald Allan Charles Rokudan ronaldallancharles@msn.com,ronaldallancharles@comcast.net Goose Creek SC Member
Barbara H. Gessner Rokudan bgessner@verizon.net E Stroudsburg PA Member
Gary L. Monto Hachidan JudanJudoToledo@gmail.com Oregon OH Member
John Newton Shichidan john@newtonland.com Indialantic FL Member
David E. Parritt Shichidan dparritt@hotmail.com Melbourne FL Chairman
Joe Souza Hachidan joenat@sbcglobal.net Turlock CA Vice-Chair
Barry S. Stebbins Rokudan colbarry@aol.com Columbus OH Member
Ed Thibedeau Godan et@arkansasgoshinkan.org Little Rock AR Member
Harold Zeidman Hachidan hizeidman@gmail.com Fountain Hills AZ Member


Category Form Action Notes
Jujitsu Jujitsu Program View Download
Jujitsu Jujitsu Program Overview View Download
Jujitsu Jujitsu Rank Validation Form View Download
Jujitsu Promotion - Jujitsu View Download
This Is The First Jujitsu System Of Its Kind.

Most Jujitsu systems are the work of one outstanding technician, but this is not the case with our USJA Jujitsu system. USJA Jujitsu is not a personal system; it is the unique product of nearly 1,000 years of street and technical experience by more than 30 experts who have taught thousands of students the Way of Budo. Like so many national USJA programs, our Jujitsu system is totally unique. There is no doubt that the philosophy, techniques, and organized training methods of the system represent a significant event in the history of American Budo.

Three basic premises guided the selection and development of the USJA Jujitsu techniques.
  • Each technique could be done by those without a lot of strength.
  • Each technique had to be simple to understand and apply.
  • Each technique had to be legally defensible in a court of law.

One of the most unique features to the USJA system is that it is not a static system. The techniques and rank requirements constantly undergo review and revision. The goal of the USJA system is to maintain a series of Jujitsu techniques that are applicable to today’s life styles and needs, not those of 100 to 1,000 years ago.

Other unique characteristics of the USJA Jujitsu system include:

Recognition of Jujitsu Ranks Issued By Other Organizations.

The USJA recognizes Jujitsu ranks awarded by national and regional Jujitsu organizations accepted by the USJA National Jujitsu Steering Committee. It is important to understand that the USJA recognizes that many Jujitsuka and their Instructors may wish to continue to obtain their Jujitsu ranks from other organizations and still join the USJA to obtain the many benefits of USJA membership, such as our Comprehensive Martial Arts Insurance Program.

Registration of Jujitsu Ranks by Current USJA Members.

Current USJA members who wish to register their Jujitsu ranks should complete the “How to Register All Your Martial Arts (Budo) Ranks with Our Association” form (see Appendices). They must also attach to this form, a copy of their Jujitsu rank certificates and the registration fee for each separate rank being registered. A new membership card showing their Jujitsu rank and other Budo ranks (if registered) will then be issued to the member.

Registration of Jujitsu Ranks by New USJA Members.

Members who wish to have their Jujitsu ranks recorded when they first join the USJA, renew their USJA membership, or become a USJA Life Member, should indicate on the USJA Membership Application (see Appendices) the Jujitsu rank that they wish to register. When the new member’s computer record and file are created, the new member’s Jujitsu rank will be printed on their new membership card. There is no charge for this service. A copy of the new member’s Jujitsu rank certificate must be attached to the USJA Membership Application.

Issuance Of USJA Jujitsu Rank Certificates When Rank Was Issued By Other Organizations.

These cases are handled exactly like a promotion in USJA Jujitsu. A USJA member who holds a recognized Jujitsu rank issued by any organization other than the USJA may obtain a USJA certificate for that rank by completing the USJA Judo and Jujitsu Promotion Recommendation (see Appendices). The applicant must be examined for the USJA rank by a USJA Jujitsu Black Belt of higher rank who will sign the form and send it to the USJA for issuance of the appropriate USJA Jujitsu rank certificate. A copy of the Jujitsu rank certificate of the issuing organization must be attached to this application. The promotion fee will be the same as for all USJA Judo and Jujitsu promotions.

USJA Jujitsu Rank Structure

Kyu ranks Dan ranks
Rank Identification Rank Identification
BeginnerWhite Belt1st Degree Black (Shodan)Black Belt + Shodan Patch
6th Class Rank (Rokyu)Yellow or White Belt + Rokyu Patch2nd Degree Black (Nidan)Black Belt + Nidan Patch
5th Class Rank (Gokyu)Orange Belt + Gokyu Patch3rd Degree Black (Sandan)Black Belt + Sandan Patch
4th Class Rank (Yonkyu)Green Belt + Yonkyu Patch4th Degree Black (Yodan)Red & Black Belt + Yodan Patch
3rd Class Rank (Sankyu)Brown Belt + Sankyu Patch5th Degree Black (Godan)Red & Black Belt + Godan Patch
2nd Class Rank (Nikyu)Brown Belt + Nikyu Patch6th Degree Black (Rokudan)Red & White Belt + Rokudan Patch
1st Class Rank (Ikkyu)Brown Belt + Ikkyu Patch7th Degree Black (Shichidan)Red & White Belt + Shichidan Patch

8th Degree Black (Hachidan)Red & White Belt + Hachidan Patch

9th Degree Black (Kudan)Red Belt + Kudan Patch

10th Degree Black (Judan)Special White Belt + Judan Patch

As previously mentioned, the USJA Jujitsu system is unique in many ways. Like other martial arts, there are beginning levels (Kyu grades) and black belt levels (Dan grades). In the USJA Jujitsu rank system there are six beginning and ten black belt levels. USJA Jujitsu ranks and certificates will be awarded according to this system.

The similarity to other martial arts ranks however ceases at this point. The basis for the Kyu grades in USJA Jujitsu is the attainment of Shodan or First Degree Black Belt. To achieve Shodan the student must learn and become competent in 157 techniques and have knowledge of 6 mental training areas. The order in which the student learns the techniques for Shodan is not important. Therefore specific techniques for each rank level have not been identified. Instead, a specific number of various types of techniques for each rank have been established. By designing the rank structure for Kyu grades this way, the student and the instructor both have input in how the student progresses through the ranks. Also, focus is placed on higher level achievement rather than on rank attainment.

Additional Promotion Requirements for Yodan and Above.

The Jujitsu ranks of Yodan and above are considered higher ranks. These ranks are reserved for Instructors that are leaders in their dojo, community, and state. These instructors are considered experts and their rank should reflect their accomplishments.

It is of the utmost importance to ensure the quality of the candidates seeking higher rank. Written applications and recommendations alone are not adequate to testify to the USJA Jujitsu Promotion Board as to the level of competence in Jujitsu of the candidate.

The candidate should seek to test in front of one of the members of the USJA Promotion Board.

Because of the size of the United States, this may be impractical and expensive.

In lieu of such examination, the USJA Jujitsu Promotion Board is requesting that the candidate submit a complete Jujitsu history and copies of the candidates rank certifications. The candidate must also submit a comprehensive, typed, Jujitsu biography listing Jujitsu achievements and services in chronological order and detail. Master Examiner recommendations will be taken into consideration; however, the USJA Jujitsu Promotion Board will have the final say in the candidate’s promotion or denial.

The USJA Jujitsu Promotion Board would also like a short 20-30 minute video of the candidate demonstrating and teaching Jujitsu techniques. The video may include blocks, strikes, throws, holds, counters, combinations, submissions and escapes. The demonstrations should be clear and precise and the candidate may choose to elaborate and include as details and variations.

The video and paperwork will be a representation of the candidate’s abilities and should reflect the rank they are requesting to be promoted to. The candidates should adhere to the philosophy that “The rank should follow the individual; the individual should not follow the rank.”

The promotion paperwork, exam, recommendations and the video should be submitted to the USJA National Office along with the required fee. The entire promotion package will be reviewed and assessed by the USJA Jujitsu Promotion Board before the promotion is approved.

Safe Sport Program

Please remember all coaches must now take and pass this on-line test. You may do this at your convenience. It takes between 2 and 3 hours total but can be completed in segments. Once you have completed the program, please send a copy of the certificate to the USJA Office. Please go to Safe Sport, select the option of USA Judo member or Non-USA Judo member, and follow the required steps. You will use your USA Judo membership number if you are a member. If you are a non-member, you will be given a number to use to access Safe sport.

Heads Up Concussion Training

By taking this free, online course and using what you learn, you will be well positioned to improve the culture of concussion. Your actions can help create a safe environment for young athletes so that they can stay healthy, active, and thrive – both on and off the playing field. Click Here to take the course. Once you complete the training and quiz, you can print out a certificate and email it to the office for verification.

Background Check

A completed and clear current background check is required for all Certified Coaches per the USJA’s Background Screening Policy. (Download the Background Screening Form or go to the Background Screening Site.)

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