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At Oakland Judo we do not charge money for promotions. Rank in judo can only be earned, never bought.

Black belt tests are administered by our local yudanshakai (black belt association) Central Coast, and there are fees associated with this process. Generally speaking Cenco is a well-run organization and we have confidence the fees are going to a good place. To learn more about black belt testing you can visit Cenco’s website.

Junior Rank Requirements

For our younger members we have a specific curriculum – starting from being able to tie your own belt (tricky for some!) all the way up through throws, holds, and judo history and principles.

Oakland Judo’s junior rank requirement for the first two belts can be found here:

Oakland Judo Junior Ranks (PDF)

Senior Rank Requirements

For adults, there is no specific set of techniques that you must learn for each belt rank below black – in other words you don’t have to learn the techniques in any particular order. In general we try to start beginners with koshi-waza (the hip throw family) because these throws give a good general understanding of the principles of leverage, timing, kuzushi, and are relatively easy to practice with an experienced partner.

There is a list of throws known as the Gokyo-No-Waza, and by the time you are ready to test for shodan (first degree black belt), you should be able to correctly perform them all. Click here to learn more about the Gokyo.

Besides technical skill, other factors considered for promotion include attendance, competition record, general attitude, understanding of basic judo principles such as kuzushi, eight directions,  judo’s two mottoes (seiryoku zenyo and jita kyoei), and more.

In addition, to be promoted to the next rank, all adults must participate in at least one judo event outside the dojo. Entering a tournament is the easiest way to complete this requirement. But as competition is not for everyone, you can also complete this requirement by participating in an official clinic, seminar, or volunteering as a table worker at a local tournament.

Ranking System

Judo rank is divided into kyu and dan ranks – kyu is everything under black belt, and dan ranks are all black belts. Children and adults have different kyu ranks.


Japanese Numerical Belt Color
Jukyu 10th kyu White
Kukyu 9th kyu White/Yellow
Hachikyu 8th kyu Yellow
Nanakyu 7th kyu Yellow/Orange
Rokkyu 6th kyu Orange
Gokyu 5th kyu Orange/Green
Yonkyu 4th kyu Green
Sankyu 3rd kyu Blue
Nikyu 2nd kyu Purple
Ikkyu 1st kyu Brown
Shodan 1st dan Black


Rokkyu 6th kyu White
Gokyu 5th kyu Yellow
Yonkyu 4th kyu Green
Sankyu 3rd kyu Brown
Nikyu 2nd kyu Brown
Ikkyu 1st kyu Brown
Shodan 1st dan Black
Nidan 2nd dan Black
Sandan 3rd dan Black
Yondan 4th dan Black
Godan 5th dan Black
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