As a judoka continues on their judo journey, they progress through the grades as they develop in skill and knowledge. The grades are depicted by coloured belts.
The Sho Awards are British Judo’s grading awards which focus on developing fundamental movement skills for 5 to 7 year olds and comprise of 9 separate awards which are designed to help coaches reward young players while they develop fundamental physical, technical, social and psychological skills. Once a player has turned 8 years of age they move onto the Mon grading scheme
Mon Grade system
The Mon Grade system is a distinctive feature of judo with promotion to different coloured belts based on technical ability, knowledge and understanding as well as supplementary knowledge of Japanese terminology. Although there is no contest requirement in the Mon Grade system there is a progressively structured randori element at the higher grades. The Mon Grade system is aimed at 8 to 17 year olds and follows on from the Sho Awards. Gradings are usually carried out at the club the judoka is based at by a British Judo licensed Coach.
There are 18 different grades contained within the Mon system, with each grade requiring a different coloured belt and/or belt tag(s).
Judoka that reach the age of 14 have the option to transfer to the Kyu Grade system. All Mon Grades that reach the age of 18 must transfer to the Kyu Grade system.
Kyu Grade system
The Kyu Grade system is aimed at judoka 14 years and older as well as those who are between 14 and 17 years of age who already hold a Mon Grade and are converting to the next grading scheme. Judoka who are over the age of 18 will automatically start on the Kyu Grade system. The grade progression is based upon technical ability, knowledge and understanding as well as supplementary knowledge of Japanese terminology. Judoka follow a progressive study of techniques detailed in the Kyu Grade syllabus and attempt promotion to the next grade at regular intervals.
During a grading judoka are required to know the common English names and meaning of all Japanese terminology used for the grade they are being graded for. They are also required to practically demonstrate techniques required for that grading. Where appropriate they must also be able to discuss their reasons for their choice of technique, grip etc.
As judoka progress through the Kyu Grade system the practical situation and examination process in which they demonstrate the required techniques becomes more stringent and greater in depth. Gradings up to and including 4th Kyu are completed within the judoka’s own club by a British Judo licensed Coach. For judoka being graded to 3rd Kyu or higher, they have the option to be graded at their club or at an inter-club event, area promotion examination or at a Technical Training course.
There are 6 different grades contained within the Kyu system, which each grade requiring a different coloured belt.
Judoka that have completed the Kyu Grade system are able to study and train for the coveted black belt available in the British Judo’s Dan Grade system
Dan Grade system
Obtaining a Dan Grade is one of the highest qualifications available to individuals involved in the sport of judo. The Dan Grade system is aimed judoka who are 15 years of age and older who have moved on from completing the Kyu Grade system. Judoka test their ability, by entering for an examination within the Dan Grade system. For that examination players are required to demonstrate superiority over a cross-section of other players competing at the same level. This ensures that successive Dan Grades up to 5th Dan are populated by increasingly skilful players. For grades higher than 5th Dan judoka wishing to move up a grade must apply to British Judo. A decision is then made on their application by the British Judo Board of Directors. The Dan Grade Register lists all current Dan Grade members and Life Members of the British Judo Association.
There are 10 different grades contained within the Dan Grade system, which are represented by 3 different coloured belts.