MIT Judo Club

Belts and Promotions

Tying the Knot

Promotion opportunities occur three times per year: October, March, and July. Dates are set according to the academic calendar, preferably in the first week of the second half of the semester, when coursework should be light. Students who appear ready for the promotion are invited on an individual basis.

Along with the performance of techniques, judoka demonstrate their progress in several ways:

Beginners of judo progress through six stages of learning before attaining a first degree black belt:

Rokyu - White Belt

Newcomers to Judo must first learn how to protect themselves. White belts primarily must learn basic falling skills (ushiro ukemi, yoko ukemi, and zempo kaiten). These beginners should work to make basic stances and walking come naturally. They need to familiarize themselves with basic standing and mat techniques (tachi waza and ne waza). They should also start thinking about the fundamental principles of Judo: maximum efficiency with minimum effort and mutual welfare and benefit.

Gokyu - Yellow Belt

Upon attaining a yellow belt, judoka need to expand their range of basic techniques. They should also begin to work with left and right handed techniques. Beyond knowing static techniques, people at this level need to put their training into motion, implementing combination techniques and performing escapes. They should think in terms of active Judo... taking an opponent's momentum forward, backward, sideways, and to the corners, as appropriate in a given situation. At this stage, judoka should seek a basic understanding of the rules of competitive Judo.

Yonkyu - Green Belt

Green belts should demonstrate of sense of the motion of Judo. At this stage, combination and counterattack techniques should be coming together smoothly. Yonkyu should choose a few techniques and concentrate on developing them as personal expertise. Yonkyu should demonstrate increased speed and commitment of technique. In practice, they should both develop technique through practice with people of higher rank and also interact and work with people of lower rank... answering questions about the basics will help clarify the answers in one's own mind.

Sankyu - Brown Belt

In many dojos, sankyu represents the first of three levels of brown belt. Attaining sankyu means judoka have transitioned from an introductory phase of learning into an intermediate rank. By this stage, judoka should seek a deeper knowldege of formal Judo, including details and variants of technique and background rationale. Sankyu should feel comfortable teaching basic principles and technique.

Nikyu - Brown Belt

Ikkyu - Brown Belt

Shodan - First Degree Black Belt

Please note that these criteria are not absolute. Each person possesses a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Not every person will perform well on a given set of techniques. A large part of advancing in Judo comes from learning about your own body and how it interacts with others. A demonstration of strengths in different areas may be subsituted where weaknesses exist in the prescribed areas.

Last updated February 26, 2002