How Long Does It Take To Get A Black Belt In Judo?

How long does it take to get a black belt in judo

Interested in learning judo but want to know how long it takes to get a black belt? Honestly, it takes a different amount of time for everyone. However, let’s look at the average amount of time it takes to become a judo black belt. 

On average, it takes 4-6 years to get a judo black belt. That said, getting a black belt in judo is not based on a timeline, but rather on how quickly you learn. Some people have gotten judo black belts in a few years while it might take others 10 years. 

The thing you must understand, however, is that reaching a black belt in judo is just the beginning. The first black belt “Shodan” translates to the beginning step.

So even by reaching the black belt in judo, you are only just in the first steps of your journey. For this reason, it is probably best not to worry about how long it will take to get a certain colored belt around your waist.

The Judo Black Belt Journey

You should never choose a martial art simply based on how long it will take you to become a black belt. Instead, simply ask yourself why you want to learn the art in the first place.

Do you want to learn self-defense? Do you want to fight in MMA? Or do you simply want to find a martial art that you enjoy as a way to get some extra physical activity? The reason determines which martial art you should choose.

The amount of time it takes to get a black belt in judo is not a good enough reason to choose it as a martial art. That said, I understand that you simply might be curious about how long it takes, and that is totally understandable.

I also understand that some people are just competitive and want to try and reach black belt as quickly as possible. That said, it should be understood that it will take 4-6 years of consistent training in judo before you would likely get your black belt.

Is It Hard To Get A Black Belt In Judo?

It is very hard to get a black belt in judo but getting one can be pretty simple. The hard part is putting in the time it takes to learn judo. 

Since it takes on average 4-6 years of consistent training to become a judo black belt, most people simply never make it because they quit.

That said, as long as you stick with it most people can become a judo black belt. Even if it takes you longer than others you will likely get there if you simply stick with it.

On the other hand, if you are talented and put in the work you might be able to become a judo black belt in much less time. 

Can You Get A Judo Black Belt In 3 Years

You can become a judo black belt in 3 years or less if you are very talented and put in a lot of time. Of course, most people who start judo will not reach black belt in 3 years. 

Unless your are uniquely talented and you have endless free time and put all your focus on judo, getting a black belt in 3 years is pretty unrealistic. That said, it does happen but I would plan for it to take closer to 5 years even with consistent training.

There are things you can do to reach black belt faster which we will cover later in this article. But first, let’s get a basic understanding of the judo belt system from white to black and beyond. 

Judo Belt System From White To Black and Beyond

The modern martial arts belt system was created by  Kano Jigoro the founder of judo. Before Kano martial arts systems did not use colored belts for ranking students.

Though today’s judo ranking system has changed since it was originally developed by Kano Jigoro it is still based on his principles. 

In addition, the judo belt system is not the same in every country around the world. That said, they mostly follow a pretty similar system. There are the Kyu Belts ( student belts ) and the Dan ( master belts ).

Students will move through a series of Kyu belts until they reach first Dan, which is the first level of black belt in judo. Then you can get promoted to second Dan then third done up to tenth Dan. Ninth and tenth Dan judokas will sometimes have red belts instead of black belts.


  • White Belt 6th Kyu
  • Yellow 5th Kyu
  • Orange 4th Kyu
  • Green 3rd Kyu
  • Blue 2nd Kyu
  • Brown 1st Kyu
  • Black 1st – 5th Dan
  • Red And White 6th – 8th Dan
  • Red 9th and 10th Dan

This is just one example, but the belt system is a little bit different from country to country. That said after you reach the black belt it is pretty much the same.

The only small difference is that some will continue to wear black all the way up to 9th and 10th Dan instead of red/white and red belts.

Average Time Spent At Each Belt Up To Black

White Belt 6th Kyu6 months to 1 year
Yellow 5th Kyu6 months to 1 year
Orange 4th Kyu6 months to 1 year
Green 3rd Kyu9 months to 1 year
Blue 2nd Kyu1 to 1.5 years
Brown 1st Kyu1 to 1.5 years

How To Become A Judo Black Belt Fast

There are some things you can do that will likely help you become a black belt in judo faster. That said, I would suggest rephrasing this and asking how you can get good at judo faster.

With that in mind, the single biggest thing you can do to become a judo black belt quickly is to go to class consistently. This might be 3 days per week or 5 days per week depending on your schedule and priorities.

The main thing is to be consistent with as many days as you can. Where people often really drop the ball is by skipping weeks or even months of training at a time. But consistently training as often as possible is the best way to become a judo black belt quickly. 

It is equally important that you are fully focused and present while you are in class. If you are the type of person who can’t make it to class as often as you would like you need to be even more focused with the time you have.

Judo Private Lessons

Obviously, not everyone in the world can afford to invest in private lessons. But for some people, money is not as much of an issue as finding the time to go to class. 

For some people, it is hard to make it to class due to scheduling complications. As someone who used to work from 11 am to 9 pm, I can attest to this.

Most judo classes take place at either lunchtime or during the evening around 6-7 pm. This can make it hard for people who work during these times. It is also hard for people who have families to make it to class consistently.

That said, if you can afford judo private lessons, I do believe they are worth every penny. With the one-on-one training, you can probably pick up the same amount of knowledge as you would from multiple classes.

Of course, this is not a replacement for classes, but it can help if you are stretched for time. I would say that if you can make it to 2 classes per week with one private lesson you can probably keep pace with someone going to class 5 days per week.

Learn Judo At Home

Learning at home is also not an excuse not to come to class. I am also not saying that you can learn judo at home without also going to a class regularly. But spending some extra time learning techniques online can help you fast-track your judo black belt.

Even if this means watching judo matches on YouTube for 15 minutes a day. Or watching YouTube videos on executing certain techniques.

You can also invest in online digital courses that can help you to learn faster. You can buy courses taught by some of the best judokas in the world.

Start Competing

Another thing you can do to help you become a black belt in judo faster is to compete. When you compete you are putting your knowledge to the test.

It will help expose your weaknesses and also help your Sensei see how you are doing. This does not mean you need to try and become an Olympic champion, but competition will help you improve faster.

If you are winning tournaments then you can expect to move up the belt ranks at a faster pace. Competing in judo is one of the best ways to tell your Sensei that you are ready for your next belt. 

In Conclusion

For most people, it takes about 4-6 years to become a black belt in judo. That said, don’t let your mind get too focused on how long it will take. Instead, just focus on improving a little bit each day.

Trust me, your life will go by either way and before you know it you will become a judo black belt. That is at least if you don’t give up and you keep training.

That said, getting your judo black belt is only the new beginning of your journey. The most important thing is to go to class consistently and give it your all when you are training.

There are some things you can do to help you improve faster. Outside of going to class, I would suggest doing some private lessons. That is of course if you are in a place in life where this is financially realistic.

Otherwise, just do what you can to learn a little bit every day. That might be by watching judo matches when you get some free time.

Or perhaps watching some YouTube videos or investing in digital courses that you can watch at home. Just remember that this cannot replace time on the mat. But it might help you to improve just a little bit faster.

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