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

Earning a black belt in Judo is a difficult journey that takes dedication and grit to accomplish. Those interested in learning Judo often ask how long it takes to earn a Judo black belt.

Let’s answer this question and discuss the requirements for earning a Judo black belt. 

This article discusses everything you need to know about achieving a judo black belt, from the ranks you must go through to what will be included in a Judo black belt test.

Let’s dive in.

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

The average time it will take you to earn a Judo black belt is approximately five years. This is the average time if you train consistently and don’t get injured or take time off from Judo. It’s normal for most students to take longer than five years to earn their Judo black belt.

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How Many Belts Are There In Judo?

In the grappling art of Judo, there are six coloured belt ranks that you go through before reaching black belt (seven belts altogether). 

  • White Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Brown Belt

How Long Do I Stay At Each Belt?

Most Judo schools have a strict curriculum for their students. Students who train consistently should pass through all the ranks in approximately five years. 

Here is how the time is broken down at each belt.

  • White Belt To Yellow Belt: 6 Months
  • Yellow Belt To Orange Belt: 6 Months
  • Orange Belt To Green Belt: 6 Months
  • Green Belt To Blue Belt: 1 Year
  • Blue Belt To Brown Belt: 1.5 Years
  • Brown Belt To Black Belt: 2 Years

Total: 5 Years

How Do I Earn A Judo Black Belt In 5 Years Or Less?

The way you can earn a Judo black belt in 5 years is quite simple. It takes years of training hard consistently and not giving up. 

Consistent Training

There is no way around earning a Judo black belt in 5 years or less other than hard, consistent training. You will have to make Judo an essential part of your life and train as much as possible.

Every day your Judo school has a class, you must try to attend if possible. This consistent training will help you develop your skills faster than the average student.

Strength & Conditioning

Judo is a physically demanding martial art that can be brutal on your body. To prepare yourself for the demands of Judo, I suggest implementing some form of conditioning training.

Take a few days out of the week to do physical training that is geared towards improving your Judo. Everything from mimicking throws with cable weight machines, throwing around grappling dummies, and technical rounds with your teammates.

All of the best Judo athletes have strict strength and conditioning routines that they perform, along with their regular training. To ensure you make the most of your time in the gym, following a strength & conditioning program designed for Judo is essential.

Study Technique

It’s essential not only to put work on the mats but also off the mat, which means that you should study Judo’s techniques to understand their movements and why they’re done.

Studying Judo techniques will give you a better understanding of Judo and help you develop your game for when you’re doing live rounds or competing.

What Will Prolong My Time To Earn A Judo Black Belt

The two most significant factors prolonging your time to achieve a Judo black belt are inconsistent training and injury.

Inconsistent Training

If you don’t train consistently and are not dedicated to Judo, don’t expect to earn a black belt any time soon. You will likely have to wait closer to ten years before earning a black belt in Judo.

Injury

Judo is physically demanding and can wear your body down. Injuries are just part of the training, but some are more severe than others. 

For students who sustain more severe injuries, unfortunately, this will prolong the time it will take to earn a black belt. You’ll have to rest up and start training again when you can.

The Judo Black Belt Test

how long does it take to get a judo black belt

Most Judo schools require their black belt candidates to undergo a long, gruelling test to earn the rank. It consists of multiple parts where students must demonstrate numerous techniques to their instructor.

Below is an example of all the techniques a student may have to demonstrate to earn a Judo black belt.

Judo Black Belt Test Requirements

Judo schools have a list of requirements you must meet before being able to take their black belt test. The main requirements usually come down to a matter of attendance and skill.

Students will have to demonstrate they have the skill of a black belt before taking their test.

Basic Throws

  • O Goshi: 
  • Ippon Seoi Nage
  • Tai Otoshi
  • Kouchi Gari
  • Morote Seoi Nage
  • Koshi Guruma
  • Tani Otoshi
  • Ouchi Gari
  • Hiza Guruma
  • Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
  • Kouchi Sutemi

Intermediate Throws

  • Harai Goshi
  • Uchi Mata
  • Osoto Gari
  • Sumi Gaeshi
  • Tai Otoshi(One Arm)
  • Deashi Harai
  • Seoi Nage(Same Side)
  • Kata Guruma

Advanced Throws

  • Kosoto Gari
  • Tomoe Nage
  • Ura Nage
  • Yoko Tomoe Nage
  • Hane Goshi
  • Kosoto Gake
  • Kosoto Gari

Combination Throws

Most instructors will want black belt candidates to demonstrate combination throws during their test. This can be any variation where one technique sets up another. The possibilities are nearly infinite.

Gripping, Grip Breaks, & Defenses

The main black belt instructor may want you to demonstrate how to grip your opponent properly—showing them different grips and explaining why they’re used.

To go along with gripping, they will also want to know how you can break these grips without breaking your posture and putting yourself in a vulnerable position to be thrown.

Defences to different basic throws will also have to be demonstrated. This could be anything from how to set out of a throw attempt or keeping your hips under your opponents.

Pinning Techniques(Osaekomi Waza)

  • Kami Shiho Gatame – Upper Four Quarter Hold
  • Hon Kesa Gatame – Basic Scarf Hold
  • Kuzure Kesa Gatame – Modified Scarf Hold
  • Yoko Shiho Gatame – Side Four Quarter Hold
  • Tate Shiho Gatame – Straight Four Quarter Hold
  • Kuzure Kami Shiho Gatame – Modified Upper Four Quarter Hold
  • Ushiro Kesa Gatame – Reverse Scarf Hold
  • Uki Gatame – Floating Hold (S-Mount Pin)
  • Ura Gatame – Back Hold (like Ushiro Kesa Gatame but Chest faces ceiling)
  • Kata Gatame – Shoulder Hold
  • Kuzure Tate Shiho Gatame – Modified Straight Four Quarter Hold
  • Makura Kesa Gatame (or see this photo)
  • Mune Gatame – Chest Hold

Joint Locks(Kanetsu Waza)

  • Waki Gatame – Armpit Lock
  • Ude Gatame – Straight Arm Lock
  • Sankaku Gatame – Triangular Lock
  • Ude Garami – Bent Arm Lock
  • Hiza Gatame – Knee Armbar
  • Ashi Gatame – Leg Armbar 
  • Hara Gatame – Stomach Armbar
  • Hiza Gatame – Knee Lock
  • Juji Gatame – Cross Lock
  • Te Gatame – Hand Lock

Choking Techniques(Shime Waza)

  • Sankaku Jime – Triangle Choke
  • Sode Guruma Jime – Sleeve Wheel Choke
  • Tsukkomi Jime – Thrust Choke
  • Ashi Jime – Leg Choke (Canto Choke)
  • Nami Juji Jime – Normal Cross Choke
  • Kata Juji Jime – Half Cross Choke
  • Hadaka Jime – Rear Naked Choke
  • Kata Ha Jime – Single Wing Choke
  • Gyaku Juji Jime – Reverse Cross Choke
  • Okuri Eri Jime – Sliding Lapel Choke
  • Kata Te Jime – One hand Choke
  • Ryo Te Jime – Two-Handed Choke

When Will I Be Ready For My Judo Black Belt?

The best thing you can do is train hard and not worry about when you’ll get your black belt. Just enjoy the training; when your instructor thinks you’re ready, they will tell you. Then, when the day comes, you will be more than deserving to be a black belt in Judo.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.