Preparing for Promotion

Judo rank requirements are different for junior (up to age 17) and senior (17 and older) students. Under special circumstances juniors may be promoted up to the senior Sankyu rank when they have reached age 14.

Although promotion systems may be different, each system shares common factors:

  • skill in applying and receiving technique
  • knowledge of terminology, history, and philosophy
  • proper attitude.


    The student must demonstrate the required techniques for the rank he is achieving and all previous techniques for past ranks he has achieved. The demonstration usually takes place in his dojo or at promotional tournaments. The techniques include ukemi, nage waze, katame waza, shime waza, kansetsu waza (including counters, defenses, escapes, and combinations), and other techniques usually associated with posture, body movement and courtesy.


    An oral and/or written test on terminology, history, and philosophy is required. This test may be done at promotional shiai or in the dojo. Also the Judoka demonstrated his general knowledge of judo such as bowing, warm-up exercises, teaching techniques, etc.


    Attitude is an extremely important part of the promotion system. Good sportsmanship and humility are required. In addition, a desire to learn and practice is a must. A boastful or bullish student will not be promoted. Respect for Judo, its teachers, and its students is a must.

Other Factors

    In many dojos and organizations, students must hold their current rank for a period of time before being promoted. These times can vary depending on the student's contest record, current rank, and skill.

    Another factor is the number and frequency of classes the student attends. It is not possible to be promoted if the student does not attend at least 80% of the scheduled classes since his/her last promotion.

The Examination

Examinations are held periodically throughout the year. Students wishing to be examined should complete the written portion of their rank examination form before their techniques are evaluated. All students should discuss promotion requirements with their instructors prior to the examination.

Be sure you have the required time-in-grade and the written test completed before applying for examination.

The examiner evaluates each applicant on the following criteria:


    • attitude - humility, courtesy, respect
    • spirit - aliveness, vitality, willingness to push self to the edge
    • interaction - appropriateness in training with others


    • knowledge - knowing how the technique works (form and principle)
    • proficiency - showing how the technique works
    • stamina - endurance, conditioning
    • ukemi - falling skills advancing at the same level as throwing skills.

What You Need To Do

  • Select a partner in advance to help you prepare. As a general rule your partner should at least be your own rank.
  • Be prepared to demonstrate each required technique without hesitation.
  • Do the technique to both the left and right sides as appropriate.
  • Expect examiners to change uke's during the examination.
  • Be prepared to demonstrate additional techniques or required techniques under various situations.
  • Expect to be re-tested within a few days to insure that corrections made by examiners have been understood.
  • Approach your examination as if it were a kata.
  • Always exhibit correct posture and manners

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