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.