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USJA Rank System
(The USJA gives the option of converting Junior blue to Senior brown and Junior purple to Senior brown or black)
Black Belt Ranks:
The USJA National Rank System is designed to ensure that promotions awarded reflect the technical expertise, character development, and overall contribution of the individual. Inherent in this process is the direct evaluation of all candidates.
(1) All students must meet certain minimum requirements to become eligible for promotion. They must then pass an exam and be recommended for promotion by their instructor.
(2) All recommendations for promotions must be submitted to the USJA National Office on the proper recommendation for promotion form for approval. Candidates for all kyu promotions must be examined and approved by a club instructor who is one or more ranks higher and be ratified by the USJA National Office. All promotions are reviewed by the USJA National Office to ensure that all minimum promotion requirements have been met and have been properly documented.
(3) All promotions for shodan must be examined and recommended by their instructor or a USJA dan one rank higher in grade, than the rank applying for, before being approved by the USJA National Office.
(4) All promotions for nidan and sandan must be examined and recommended by a USJA Senior, National or Master Rank Examiner.
(5) All promotions for yodan and godan must be examined and recommended by a USJA National or Master Rank Examiner and further approved by the National Promotion Board.
(6) All promotions for rokudan or higher must be examined and recommended by three USJA Master Examiners, approved by the National Promotion Board and ratified by the USJA Board of Directors.
(7) A $30.00 Non-refundable processing fee must accompany all Black Belt promotion recommendations (shodan and higher). The remainder of the promotion fee must be remitted on notification of successfully passing to the rank applied for.
(8) Minimum time as a USJA student and current member in a USJA Chartered Club.
(9) Proper time in grade as a registered member of previous rank. If the candidate is a Life Member, that candidate must show continuous membership by sustaining their life membership with a $30.00 donation every year since their last promotion.
(10) A passport photograph of the candidate. The photograph may be in the form of an electronic file.
(11) A synopsis of all judo related activities since the candidate’s last promotion. The synopsis shall include but not be limited to the requirements listed in value of points and time in grade.
(12) A completed rank examination (Sr. Judo Test booklet) with endorsement of Certified Rank Examiners must accompany application. (This is not required for ranks above rokudan.)
(13) A recommendation by the applicant’s instructor.
(14) A completed and cleared background check (USJA’s Background Screening Policy).
(15) The proper number of USJA Promotion Points.
(16) All paper work must reach the National Office forty-five (45) days prior to the next scheduled promotion board meeting for yodan or higher.
(17) All examiners must be an Active or Sustained Life Member with the USJA and belong to a USJA Chartered Club and have an appropriate examiner status to recommend promotions.
(18) Below are links to specific USJA requirements, forms, manuals, and procedures:
- USJA Background Screening Release Form
- USJA Junior Promotion Exam
- USJA Junior Promotion Recommendation Form
- USJA Junior Record Book
- USJA Junior Judo Rank Handbook
- USJA Membership Application
- USJA National Club Registration Form
- USJA Official Black Belt Judo Rank Card
- USJA Official Black Belt Patches
- USJA Rank Examiner Certification Program
- USJA Rank Examiner Application Form
- USJA Senior Rank Validation Form
- USJA Senior Promotion Kyu Ranks Recommendation Form
- USJA Senior Promotion Dan Ranks Recommendation Form
- USJA Senior Record Book
- USJA Technical Manual and Study Guide with Senior Rank Promotion System