Grading Information


The following grading syllabus has been developed to reflect our everyday practice of judo.  It is easy to understand, yet effective. It embraces the important aspects of traditional Japanese judo and contributes to its fundamental principles. It represents and embraces a simple coaching program which has been understood and used by instructors and students across the country, providing a clear map for measuring success in the development of judo.

The JFAUK grading syllabus offers the instructor and the practitioner a high quality of education, providing a logical training system which is effective and educational.  It is our belief that the formula for success is a simple one – learning. In fact, it is a process of learning how to learn more effectively.

It will be noted that some techniques have been repeated within the syllabus. These particular techniques have been repeated due to their important elements which can fundamentally help to develop a greater understanding of the dynamics of judo and the finer science behind each technique.

This syllabus has been developed on solid grounds due to of years of experience in the teaching and in the practice of judo. It concludes a critical appraisal of past experiences. The grading syllabus lays a solid platform for the future development and understanding of all judoka.

Through this, JFAUK aims to provide a teaching methodology which encourages and facilitates the ongoing development and practice of traditional Japanese judo.


Grading assessments will only be available to all students who hold an up-to-date membership of the JFAUK. If any student does not have a JFAUK membership, then they will not be able to grade.

Club Grading up to 1st Kyu

JFAUK understands that instructors know their students best. Instructors play a key role in understanding a student’s development, knowing his/her ability, capabilities and disabilities more than any external examiners would. JFAUK believes that the instructor is best placed to nurture and provide an environment to motivate and encourage the student to reach his/her full technical potential. Each JFAUK instructor of Dan grade and above are therefore able to grade their students up to 1st Kyu Brown Belt.

After each grading, JFAUK requires that all registered clubs keep accurate records of all grading examinations and we recommend that all club grading dates are forwarded to the head office of the JFAUK for our own records.  These files should be kept in a safe and accessible place as copies may be requested by the head office at any time.

Club Grading Visits

Please note that any registered club to the JFAUK may be subject to visits by grading officers at any time during club grading sessions.

Grading Requirements

All coaches and instructors should ensure that all the necessary syllabus requirements are be fully met and understood by their students before they are allowed to attend any grading.

All students must have at least 4 months practical experience before participating in their first  examination.

It is recommended that gradings are to be held at four month intervals for all children and seniors up to and including 1st Kyu – Brown Belt.


All throwing techniques are to be examined first whilst stationary, and then while both Tori and Uke are moving.


All groundwork techniques will be assessed on not only technical demonstration, but also on effectiveness. Therefore, when examining Osaekomi-Waza, the candidate must have full control of uke. They must be able to hold their opponent down securely for a minimum of 10 seconds. When demonstrating Kansetsu-Waza and Shime-Waza, candidates must be able to obtain a full submission.


At all times, Uke will also be assessed on how he/she is able to receive Tori’s throws and all groundwork. When assessing Tori’s Osaekomi Wazam Uke must be able to perform realistic escape attempts.

The Student

All students progress differently and they will develop their own personal style which is often shaped by their physical make-up and personality. This has to be taken into account for their promotion.

  • Students under 7 years old will be registered as Nursery.????
  • Students from 7 years old to 10 years old will be registered as Primary. ????
  • Students from 10 years old to 16 years old will be registered as Junior.
  • Students 16 years old and above will be registered as Adult

Supplementary Knowledge

The examiner may, at any time, ask for further clarification or information relating to any previous grading syllabus requirements.


Knowledge of terminology is important and the correct Japanese and English terms will be required for the appropriate grade. Candidates are required to know all common terminology as listed by the grading requirements. Examiners may also ask for additional translations if they feel it is necessary.

Special Needs

All students with special needs will be assessed individually according to their needs. The coach will provide a safe and stimulating environment for learning where the student will feel confident and at ease to exercise his/her demonstrations of the mainstream technical syllabus.

Flexibility and discretion will be allowed by the coach or examiner when dealing with the special needs of a student.

The candidate should be given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to show that they fully understand the fundamental principals of Judo.

Special Note: If a candidate is unable to complete any section of the syllabus, the examiner can either adopt or replace the technique with one that the candidate is able to complete. The aims are to assess and challenge the candidate, assisting him/her to show the best demonstration possible and provide evidence of progress and quality in their efforts.

Transferring Grades from Another Organisation

Any judoka who wishes to transfer over to JFAUK will have their current grade accepted as long as they have signed proof of that grade in their record book.  From that point onwards, they will be graded as a JFAUK member.

Only in exceptional circumstances will a grade transfer will prohibited. This may happen if there is a serious concern that the grade presented appears significantly greater than the students current ability and hold that grade will put the student and others in danger. If this occurs, the instructor reserves the right to grant that student the grade that they feel best suits their current skill level.

Dual Grades

If a judoka decides to transfer their grade to JFAUK, as stated above, they will be accepted as that grade subject to proof. Once the grade has been transferred, they will not be able to transfer any further grades from that point onwards.

For example, if a judoka was a 1st Kyu in another organisation, and then transferred their 1st Kyu to JFAUK, then undertook a grading outside of JFAUK and obtained their 1st Dan, the 1st Dan will not be accepted by JFAUK. Only one grade transfer will be permitted.

Non-Recorded Grade

Any Judoka that has:

  • No grading record
  • Lost their record book
  • Is returning back to Judo after a long absence

will be allowed to wear their grade??? until formal reassessment is made at the earliest possible grading. Their grades will either be confirmed or they will be graded according to their ability and appropriate technical knowledge.

Foreign Judoka

It is acknowledged that there are many Judoka from other countries visiting or residing in the UK. The JFAUK will accept their grade, subject to proof of validation. On acceptance of their grade such students will be authorised and accepted as new members.

Dan Grading

Promotion to Dan grade will only be carried out at an area or national grading, awarded by the Technical Director of the JFAUK. All Dan grades will be authorised by the signature of the Technical Director or the President of the JFAUK. All Dan grades are regarded as officers and representatives of the JFAUK and are expected to remain loyal to the goals of JFAUK, supporting the President and other officials in fulfilling the objectives of the organisation.

Grading Dates

Registered JFAUK clubs should inform the head office of all grading dates and other events so that dates can be advertised. This will help maximise participation, also giving everyone an opportunity to attend and support. We encourage any smaller clubs who have insufficient numbers to viably hold such gradings or events to join and collaborate with others in order to provide a fuller experience for their students.


Kata will be available through the Judo structure of the JFAUK, but as a grading requirement it will only be compulsory from the grade of 1st Kyu and above.

Honorary Grades

Honorary grades will be considered for Judoka who are shown to have made a considerable contribution to Judo and displayed loyalty and solidarity to JFAUK.

Non Contest Grades

Non contest grades will be assessed equal to the normal grading syllabus but, in place of the required contest, standing and groundwork Randori will form the basis of the assessment.

From 2nd Kyu and above, candidates will be additionally required to have obtained a Club Level 1 Coaching Qualification and for 1st Kyu and above they are required also to have a Club Level 1 Refereeing Award. The JFAUK is developing additional resources in order to support candidates seeking promotion, and to further develop their Judo.

Special notes to be considered

All Judoka are encouraged to take an increasing responsibility for their technical development, especially as they progress through the grades. It is always advisable for Judoka to undertake all available supplementary studies and to train additionally so that they are fully prepared for their examinations.

Promotion to up to 3rd Kyu is based on technical knowledge, the understanding of the fundamental principles of Judo, and terminology. There is no contest requirement for these grades. However, there is a progressive element which is required in standing and groundwork Randori . This allows the student to express their open skills. From the 3rd Kyu and above technical knowledge and the understanding of the Judo philosophy will be required as well as the ability to perform at contest level.

Winning in a grading contest is a requirement. However, in special circumstances when the candidate is unable to  meet the competitive standards but surpasses in technical ability and understanding,  showing the determination with spirit, promotion of the grade may be considered.

Prior to attending any grading, all candidates must have full understanding and knowledge of the Club Level 1 Beginners’ Induction Programme.


Sampson Sampson – 8th Dan

President & Technical Director
Judo For All UK (JFAUK)

The current syllabus is effective as of January 2011