Promotion System


The 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.

  • 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/Certified Rank Examiner.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • A current Safe Sport online certification for all Dan (black belt) ranks.

  • A current Heads-Up online certification - for all Dan (black belt) ranks.

  • Promotions are done in accordance with USJA's National Promotion Board:
    • 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 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

Junior Ranks

Junior Ranks

  • 00 white
  • 01 yellow
  • 02 yellow
  • 03 orange
  • 04 orange
  • 05 green
  • 06 green
  • 07 blue
  • 08 blue
  • 09 purple
  • 10 purple
  • 11 purple
  • 12 purple

Senior Ranks

Senior Ranks

Kyu Ranks - must be signed off by a Shodan or higher - <Click here for the exam>

Rank Minimum Age Belt Color TIG (Months) Number of Classes Notes
Novice N/A White N/A N/A N/A
6th Kyu / Rokkyu 14 Yellow 3 24 N/A
5th Kyu / Gokyu 14 Orange 5 40 N/A
4th Kyu / Yonkyu 14 Green 7 56 N/A
3rd Kyu / Sankyu 14 Brown 10 80 Requires the satisfactory passage (70%) of Part 1 of the USJA’s online nage-no-kata exam (Kata basics and set 1 of the nage-no-kata
2nd Kyu / Nikyu 14 Brown 11 88 Requires the satisfactory passage (70%) of Part 2 of the USJA’s online nage-no-kata exam (Set 2 and Set 3 of the nage-no-kata).
1st Kyu / Ikkyu 15 Brown 12 96 Requires the satisfactory passage (70% of Part 3 of the USJA’s online nage-no-kata exam (Set 4 and Set 5 of the nage-no-kata

Dan Ranks - must have passed a Background Screen report and have a current Concussion Training and Safe Sport certificate.

1st to 3rd Dan - <Click here for the exam>

Dan Rank/Belt Minimum Age TIG (Years) Number of Classes Required Signoffs Additional Requirements
1 Dan Black 15 1 96 (1) 2D N/A
2 Dan Black 19 3 288 (1) 3D
  • Nage-no-kata demonstration or certification <Kata Page>
  • Passing examination of each throw of the Shinmeisho no waza
  • Obtain Associate Referee Certification or higher (shall be waived until developed and published online) <Referee Page>
3 Dan Black 23 4 384 (1) 4D
  • Katame-no-kata demonstration or certification. <Kata Page>
  • Passing examination of each throw of the Habukareta waza
  • Obtain Local Coaching Certification (can be waived until made available online) <Coach Page>

4th to 10th Dan

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 / TIG/points Sign-off: Required Rank or above
4 Dan Black/Red 5/300 6/280 7/250 10/200 (1) NCRE
5 Dan Black/Red 6/360 7/350 8/320 11/220 (1) MCRE
6 Dan Red/White 7/630 8/560 9/450 12/360 (1) 6D MCRE & (1) 7D MCRE
7 Dan Red/White 8/720 9/630 10/500 13/390 (1) 7D MCRE & (1) 8D MCRE
8 Dan Red/White 9/810 10/700 11/550 14/420 (3) 8D MCRE
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. -