How Long Does It Take To Earn A Black Belt In Judo?

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Judo black belts competing in the Olympics

It is an incredible honor to be able to earn a black belt in the martial art of Judo. Being able to earn  Judo black belt takes incredible commitment, but how long does it take to earn one?

Here is our breakdown of exactly how long it takes to earn a black belt in Judo? We’ll go through the time it’ll take at each belt and what you’ll learn at each one. Also going over the belt tests and that you’ll have to do to earn a Judo black belt.

How long does it take to earn a black belt in Judo? The average time to earn a black belt in Judo is around 4-6 years. Earning a Judo black belt in this time requires dedication and consistent training.

How many belts are there in Judo? 

In the martial art of Judo, there are 6 colored belts within the system. They include:

  • White Belt(Rokyu/6th Kyu)
  • Yellow Belt(Gokyu/5th Kyu)
  • Orange Belt(Yonkyu/4th Kyu)
  • Green Belt(Sankyu/3rd Kyu)
  • Blue Belt(Nikyu/2nd Kyu)
  • Brown Belt(Ikkyu/1st Kyu)
  • Black Belt(Dan)

There are also of course higher degrees of black belt for those that train longer in the martial art. Those black belt degrees take decades of dedication to earn.

Timeframe for each belt in Judo 

You’re looking at around 6 months to a year at each belt to earn a Judo black belt. This will put you at around the 5-6 years mark to earn a black belt in Judo.

If you train multiple times a day and compete, it’s possible to earn a Judo black belt in around 4 years. Not everyone earns their belt in the same time frame, so your commitment will depend on when you earn the belt.

Are there Judo belt tests? 

Yes, there are required belt tests that you have to pass at each rank in Judo to earn them. Here is a layout of how each test may look like.

White Belt to Yellow Belt Test

Attendance Requirements: Minimum 15 weeks attended with at least 120 minutes of classes attended per week.

Knowledge: History of Judo and who the founder is.

Physical Requirements: 20 strict push ups, 20 strict sit-ups, and 20 squats

Basic Movements

  • Breakfall(Back)
  • Breakfall(Front)
  • Side Breakfall
  • Forward Roll
  • Backward Roll

Nage-waza

  • Osoto-otoshi
  • Osoto-gari
  • Uki-goshi
  • Ippon seoi-nage
  • Deashi-barai
  • Tai-otoshi
  • Ouchi-gari
  • Kouchi-Gari
  • Kosoto-gake

Ukemi

  • Zenpo-ukemi
  • Koho-ukemi
  • Zenpo-kaiten

Ne-waza

  • Kesa-gatame
  • Yoko-shiho-gatame
  • Escapes from kesa-gatame
  • Escapes from yoko-shiho-gatame
  • Basic Attack and defenses

Other Skills

  • Shizen Hontai: Migi/Hidari Shizentai
  • Jigo Hontai: Migi/Hidari Jigotai
  • Tai-sabaki: Tsugi-ashi
  • Kumi-Kata
  • Kuzushi
  • Tsukuri
  • Kake

Yellow Belt To Orange Belt Test 

Attendance Requirements: A minimum of 40 classes must be attended in order to take the orange belt test.

Physical Requirement: 30 strict push ups, 30 sit-ups, and 30 squats

Nage-waza

  • Morote-seoi nage
  • O-goshi or Uki-goshi
  • Tsuri-goshi
  • Koshi-guruma
  • Sode-tsuri-kome-goshi/Tsuri-kome-goshi
  • Sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi
  • Tsubame-gaeshi
  • Okuri-ashi-barai
  • Kosoto-gake/Kosoto-gari
  • Kouchi-gari/Kouchi-gake

Ukemi 

  • Zenpo-ukemi
  • Koho-ukemi
  • Yoko-ukemi
  • Zenpo-kaiten

Ne-waza

  • Kami-shiho-gatame/Kuzure and escapes from both positions
  • Tate-shiho-gatame and escapes from the position
  • Nami-juji-jime
  • Gyaku-juji-jime
  • Juji-gatame

Other Skills

  • More Ne-waza: Attacking through legs
  • Rollover with uke in prone position

Orange Belt to Green Belt Test

Attendance Requirements: A minimum of 40 classes attended in order to take the green belt test.

Physical Requirements: 40 push ups, 40 sit-ups, and 40-squats

Nage-waza

  • Harai-goshi
  • Kata-guruma
  • Uki-otoshi
  • Tani-otoshi
  • Tsuri-kimi-goshi/Sode-tsuri-kome-goshi
  • Hiza-guruma
  • Sukui-nage
  • Tomoe-nage
  • Uki-waza
  • Osoto-guruma

Ne-waza

  • Kata-gatame
  • Ushiro-kesa gatame
  • Hadaka-jime
  • Kata-ha-jime
  • Okuri-eri-jime
  • Sode-guruma-jime
  • Ude-garami
  • Ude-hishigi-/Ude-gatame
  • Waki-gatame

Other Skills

  • Nage-no-kata/Koshi-waza Tori and Uke
  • Harai-goshi as a counter to Osoto-gari
  • Tani-otoshi as a counter
  • Renraku-waza: Uchi-gari/Seoi-Nage
  • Seoi-Nage/Kesa-gatame

Green Belt to Blue Belt Test 

Attendance Requirements: A minimum of 72 classes must be attended in order to test for a blue belt.

Physical Requirements: 50 push ups, 50-sit-ups, and 50 squats

Nage-waza

  • Uchi-mata
  • Hane-goshi
  • Ushiro-goshi
  • Ashi-guruma
  • Harai-tsurikomi-ashi
  • Morote-gari
  • Hikkomi-gaeshi
  • Sumi-gaeshi
  • Kuchiki-taoshi
  • Kibisu-gaeshi
  • Ouchi-gaeshi

Ne-waza

  • Ryote-jime
  • Tsukkomi-jime
  • Hiza-gatame
  • Sankaku-jime

Other Skills

  • Nage-no-kata-/Te-waza Tori and Uke
  • Nage-no-kata/Koshi-waza Tori and Uke

Blue Belt to Brown Belt Test

Attendance Requirements: A total of 90 classes must be attended in order to test for a brown belt.

Physical Requirements: 75 push ups, 75 sit-ups, 75 crunches

Nage-waza

  • Sumi-otoshi
  • O-guruma
  • Yoko-wakare
  • Yoko-gake
  • Yoko-otoshi
  • Yoko-guruma
  • Uchi-mata-sukashi
  • Harai-makikomi
  • Osoto-makikomi
  • Uchi-makikomi
  • Soto-makikomi

Ne-waza

  • Koshi-jime
  • Hara-gatame

Other Skills

  • Nage-no-kata/Te-waza Tori and Uke
  • Nage-no-kata/Koshi-Waza Tori and Uke
  • Nage-no-kata/Ashi-waza Tori and Uke

Brown Belt to Black Test

Attendance Requirements: Between 100 and 120 classes are the minimum requirement in order to test for a black belt in judo.

Physical Requirements: 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats

Nage-waza

  • Utsuri-goshi
  • Ura-nage
  • Tawara-gaeshi
  • Daki-age
  • Obi-otoshi
  • Yama-arashi
  • Daki-wakare
  • Hane-makikomi
  • Uchi-mata-makikomi
  • Uchi-mata-gaeshi
  • Hane-goshi-gaeshi
  • Harai-goshi-gaeshi
  • Kouchi-gaeshi

Other Skills

  • Nage-no-kata/Te-waza Tori and Uke
  • Nage-no-kata/Koshi-waza Tori and Uke
  • Nage-no-kata/Ashi-waza Tori and Uke
  • Ju-no-kata- First set
  • Kani-basami
  • Kawazu-gake

How do you earn a Judo black belt in 4-6 years?

To earn a black belt in 4-6 years, there are different methods you can implement  to achieve this goal. Each method that will help you earn your Judo black belt is described below.

Train Consistently 

Working towards any goal in your life requires consistency and to get a Judo black belt that means consistent training. You’ll have to make Judo training a priority in your life and dedicate several hours a day to your training.

To earn a Judo black belt in 6 years, you will need to train an average of 3-4 times a week. It isn’t a crazy average to keep up, but you have to be consistent with training this much per week.

But if your goal is to get a Judo black belt as quickly as possible, it’s going to take more work. You’ll basically have to eat, sleep, and breathe Judo, training multiple times per day nearly everyday.

Compete

Actively competing in Judo shows that you are serious about the martial art and looking to test your skills. Not only will competing actively test your skills, but they will also improve them. Your Judo skills will be battle tested and sharper.

Many Judo schools may also make competing a certain amount of times a requirement. Be sure to read the curriculum of your Judo school and see competing is a requirement in order to test.

Conditioning

Conditioning is a big part of the martial art and something all of the top Judo athletes do. They do everything from drills, specific weightlifting, calisthenics, and running to improve their games. 

If you are serious about earning a Judo black belt, you must consider doing conditioning training. Taking up one or more of these styles of conditioning will definitely improve your Judo ability.

Study

It isn’t just what you do physically to prepare, but also what you do to prepare mentally. Being a student of the game of Judo and studying is something that isn’t done enough by Judo students.

In your free time, you need to sit down and watch matches and technique breakdowns. Also keep a training log and write down what you went over in each class and how you did.

By doing these two methods of studying, you will see your skills advance rapidly.

Are you ready to go earn your Judo black belt?

Judo is an incredible martial art that is extremely effective. The journey to black belt is a special one and well worth the time. If you train hard and dedicate 4-6 years of your life to Judo, you will earn your Judo black belt.

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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years. Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.

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