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Types of Judo Belts

Colored judo belts were introduced by the Japanese, and were related to the age of the student. The following article will cover all the required information related to these belts, that identify the competence level of an individual.
SportsAspire Staff
Achievements in judo are recognized by the series of ranks one earns. Student ranks are called kyu, and are differentiated with the help of colored belts called obi. After one passes through the 'kyu' level or below black belt level 'grades', they move on to the black belt level 'degrees'. These degrees are known as dan. The system of varyingly-colored belts signifying the wearer's grade was invented by an early judo exponent Mikonosuke Kawaishi. Kawaishi was proficient in jujitsu and judo, and taught judo in England and France. He felt that, since judo was based upon the Oriental Japanese culture, it needed some tweaks to attract more Westerners. The grade system caught on in France, and helped spread judo in the West. The Westernized style promoted by Kawaishi, came to be known after him as the Kawaishi Ryu Jujitsu.
A judo uniform can be white or blue in color, and is made from cotton fabric. It is called the Judogi, and includes white cotton drawstring pants and a white quilted cotton jacket that is fastened by a colored judo belt. The colors are indicative of the kyu or dan rank.
In Europe, Canada, Australia
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Black
  • White and Red
  • Red
In Australia, the 6th, 7th, and 8th dan have alternating red and white panels called the dandara. The 9th and 10th dan are solid red in color. Those who have grades over the 5th dan (godan) wear plain black belts. A few countries use colored tips on the belts for the junior levels, and belts for women have a white stripe along the center
In Brazil
  • White
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black
  • White and Red
  • Red
Those who have achieved the 6th, 7th, and 8th dan wear alternating red and white panels. The 9th and 10th dan holders wear solid red belts. Children under the age of 11 or 13 years may be given a gray belt before the blue.
According to United States Judo Federation (USJF)
Japanese Kyū Names USJF Senior USJF Junior USJA Junior Level Names
Jūnikyū Junior 12th Class
Jūichikyū White Junior 11th Class
Jūkyū White-yellow Junior 10th Class
Kūkyū Yellow Junior 9th Class
Hachikyū Yellow-orange Junior 8th Class
Nanakyū or USJA Senior "Beginner" Orange Junior 7th Class
Rokkyū White Orange-green Junior 6th Class
Gokyū Green Green Junior 5th Class
Yonkyū Blue Green-blue Junior 4th Class
Sankyū Brown Blue Junior 3rd Class
Nikyū Brown Blue-purple Junior 2nd Class
Ikkyū Brown Purple Junior 1st Class
According to United States Judo Association (USJA)
Japanese Kyū Names USJA Senior USJA Junior USJA Junior Level Names
Jūnikyū White Junior 12th Class
Jūichikyū Yellow Junior 11th Class
Jūkyū Orange Junior 10th Class
Kūkyū Orange Junior 9th Class
Hachikyū Green Junior 8th Class
Nanakyūo USJA Senior "Beginner" White Green Junior 7th Class
Rokkyū Yellow Blue Junior 6th Class
Gokyū Orange Blue Junior 5th Class
Yonkyū Green Purple Junior 4th Class
Sankyū Brown Purple Junior 3rd Class
Nikyū Brown Brown Junior 2nd Class
Ikkyū Brown Brown Junior 1st Class
Order and Ranking
Rank Kyu Belt
Beginner White
6th grade Rokyu Yellow
5th grade Gokyu Orange
4th grade Yonkyu Green
3rd grade Sankyu Brown
2nd grade Nikyu Brown
1st grade Ikkyu Brown
1st degree Shodan Black
2nd degree Nidan Black
3rd degree Sandan Black
4th degree Yodan Black
5th degree Godan Black
6th degree Rokudan Nlack or red/white
7th degree Shichidan Nlack or red/white
8th degree Hachidan Black or Red/white
9th degree Kudan Black or red
10th degree Judan Black or red

You will find that there is no standardized belt color and ranking. A person reaches the level of black belt after years of practice, and can perform either nage no kata, gokyo no waza, and the newaza techniques.