In judo, the strongest belt is not black
In order, we find the white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown belts, the famous black belt as well as two higher belts: a red and white from 6th to 8th dan, a red for 9th and 10th dan). It is said that the maximum rank is the 12th dan black belt but this is false. Indeed, there still exists above the white-red belt and the red belt. There still remains above a particular belt, the wide white one which means that one has never learned everything. Only one person in the world has had the red: Jigoro Kano, inventor of judo in 1882.
Also called Kyu, the color belts in judo represent the progression of a judoka. Originally, there were only 2 colors of belts, the white belt and the black belt.
Judo Belt Ranks
In judo, there is a belt system that indicates a practitioner’s level of skill. The belts are listed in order of progression, going from white to black. Here is the order of the belts, from lowest to highest:
- white belt: 6th kyu;
- yellow belt: 5th kyu;
- orange belt: 4th kyu;
- green belt: 3rd kyu;
- blue belt: 2nd kyu;
- brown belt: 1st kyu;
- black belt: 1st to 5th dan;
- red belt: from 9th to 10th dan;
wide white belt: chosen by some masters after their 10th dan, a way of marking the completion of the cycle. The white color of the belt symbolizes the fact that whoever holds it is in perpetual learning.
In some judo and karate clubs, intermediate kyu belts are instituted, for educational purposes:
- white and yellow
- yellow and orange
- orange and green
- green and blue
- blue and brown
- black and white (in preparation for black belt)
- white and red belt: from 6th to 8th dan
Some sensei add to this barrettes (up to 3) for children; They are sewn on the belt.
It is important to note that black belts can be divided into different levels, each representing a higher skill level. For example, a judo practitioner may be a 1st dan, 2nd dan, 3rd dan black belt, etc.
Kanō’s original kyū-dan grading system
Judo belt colors in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
Judo kyū belt colors in the United States
Photo description: Judo Mixed International Team, Semifinal, Team Rio de Janeiro vs. Team Athens: Abrek Naguchev ( Russia, Team Rio de Janeiro) vs. Javier Peña Insausti (Spain, Team Athens)