Grading in Judo

The rank (or grade) of a judoka is indicated by the colour of the belt he/she wears. It signifies the stage in the nationally approved syllabus that the judoka has successfully demonstrated in a formal examination, and is awarded by certified Grading Masters of the appropriate level and approved by the National Body – Judo South Africa.

The colours ‘darken’ as the judoka advances upwards, making it theoretically possible to dye the belt over the previous colour, with black from 1st Dan to 5th Dan.

6th Kyu         White belt

5th Kyu          Yellow belt

4th Kyu            Orange belt

3rd Kyu           Green belt

2nd Kyu            Blue belt

1st Kyu             Brown belt

1st Dan           Black belt

2nd Dan          Black belt

3rd Dan            Black belt

4th Dan            Black belt

5th Dan            Black belt

6th Dan           Red and White blocked belt   (worn only for demonstration or ceremonially)

7th Dan           Red and White blocked belt   (worn only for demonstration or ceremonially)

8th Dan           Red and White blocked belt   (worn only for demonstration or ceremonially)

9th Dan           Red belt                                 (worn only for demonstration or ceremonially)

10th Dan         Red belt                                (worn only for demonstration or ceremonially)

From 1st Dan upwards, candidates must, in addition to their demonstration of Judo in a formal examination by a panel, have contributed to Judo as a Referee, Technical Official and other service. With dedication and regular training, 1st Dan typically takes 5 – 6yrs to attain.

Currently, the highest grade in South Africa is 7th Dan, approved by the African Judo Union and the International Judo Federation.