Next Promotional:  Saturday, Nov, 4 2023 at 10am, for BOE/BOM members, with all promotions handled in-person again! 
Deadline Saturday, Oct 21, 2023 by COB for electronic and paper+payment submission. Corrected submissions will be requested if needed.


Candidates should attend in person:
City College of San Francisco
Wellness Center: Martial Arts Room
50 Frida Kahlo Way
San Francisco, California 94112

USJF Summary Requirements (details farther below):

  1. USJF Membership dues (paid directly to USJF at the address below or for current year online here):
    • Shodan: current USJF membership plus one year immediately prior.  
    • Nidan and above: current USJF membership plus three years immediately prior.  
  2. CDC-approved Heads Up Certification
  3. USOC SafeSport Certification
  4. Online Background Check (notice well-hidden “Next” button on bottom right of web page)
  5. Recommendation for Promotion Form 20
  6. Nidan and above applicants must have first aid/cpr 

All Shodan promotion applications are now required to meet new requirements:

  • Requirements are met by submitting copies of the certificates of completion for both Heads Up & SafeSport with the applicant’s completed USJF form 20. 
  • Certifications must have been completed NOT more than one (1) year prior to the submission of the Shodan applicant’s USJF form 20.
  • Shodan applications that do not have the accompanying copies of the certification of completion are incomplete and will not be processed until the deficiencies are corrected.

HeadsUp: Please complete one of the two USJF-approved HeadsUp certifications

SafeSport: Please complete the USJF-approved SafeSport certification

Background Check (for those over 18): Please complete the USJF-approved online background check

Referee Clinic Requirements:

CENCO requires Shodan candidates to have attended a Referee Clinic recognized by CENCO.  NOTE:  Candidates are not required to pass the written test and practical evaluation needed to be certified as a Referee by CENCO, but must at a minimum have evidence of having attended a recognized clinic. If you are unable to attend a clinic in person the USJF has resources to help. Visit to find out more information and get started. Completion of this course or proof of having attended a referee clinic should be emailed by the paperwork deadline. 

Kata Requirements:

(In person Kata not currently required as CENCO cannot yet provide Kata training sessions)
Nage No Kata (First 3 sets as tori)
a. Competitor – Complete set of Nage-No-Kata (Tori)
b. Non-competitor – Complete set of Nage-No-Kata (Tori and Uke); Katame-No-Kata (Tori)

Options for kata requirement:

(In person is not required this one time for Shodan.  The Board of Examiners will rely on the honor system for the candidates to eventually fulfill the requirement when possible.  Higher dan should submit prior kata experience, or videos.)

  • Complete required number of Nage No Kata Clinic sessions at Soko Joshi and submit certificate from CENCO with other paperwork prior to deadline. Alternately, candidate may also complete required sessions with another qualified clinician and submit statement from clinician.
    • Shodan: 2 Sessions
    • Nidan: 3 Sessions
  • Nage No Kata competition record
  • Nage No Kata certificate from another Yundanshakai
  • Candidate may perform kata in person at promotional exam in lieu of certificate.
  • Nage No Kata certification is now available online thanks to the USJF. Visit to sign up and complete

Checklist for All Yudansha

(Black Belt Candidates: Shodan and higher)

NOTE: Late, incomplete, or non-conforming documentation by the posted deadline will be rejected and the candidate will not be eligible for promotion consideration. You will receive confirmation of receipt by CENCO, if you do not, please contact the secretary immediately

  • USJF current registration dues and prior year or years as required (or back fees paid)
  • Evidence you REQUESTED a background check online.  NOTE we do not want to see your actual results or data submitted (not required for those under 18)
  • USJF-approved Waiver of liability:  For in-person promotion examinations, please send with promotion paperwork or a form will be provided on the day of the event.  The Waiver form(s) have to be signed by adults for themselves or by guardians/parents of any minors participating in the test, even if the adult or child is just participating as an Uke.
  • Send digital copies of all documentation to CENCO board of examiners secretary well before paperwork submission deadline so you can get feedback on any needed corrections.  Be sure to include:
    • Promotion Recommendation Form 20, scanned into PDF or with digital signature already on it
    • Indication you submitted your Background check (unless you’re under  18)
    • Digital headshot photo (standard 2″x2″ photo dimensions as you can get at any Walgreens or done by yourself)
    • Kata certificate (if required) or dates of kata clinic
    • Proof of previous rank (Nidan and higher candidates)
    • First aid and cpr certificate (Nidan and higher candidates)
    • Any supporting documentation such as other certificates
  • After getting feedback (if any), email corrected digital copies to
    and the promotion checks to CENCO’s BOE Secretary:
    Davin Tillman
    1472 Serpilio Way
    Petaluma, CA 94954-6613
  • Form 20 – Please have your instructor review the completed form before submission
  • Form 20 Instructions checklist
  • For in-person events, a CENCO promotion flyer which will be posted once a sanction is granted.
  • Check written to CENCO for the $20 processing fee (incl. candidate’s name).  This processing fee applies to all candidates and can also be brought to the exam.
  • AFTER YOUR PROMOTION IS APPROVED and you are officially notified, you will need to promptly make payment to USJF for the applicable USJF promotion fee if you’re not a USJF Lifetime Member (promotion fees are waived for USJF lifetime members).  Do NOT send this payment with your paperwork, or make payment to USJF until CENCO notifies you that your promotion has been approved.  After your promotion is approved you can pay by check to United States Judo Federation, P.O. Box 338, Ontario OR 97914 or alternatively you can call the USJF National Office at (541) 889-8753 to pay by credit card.
    • Shodan: $125.00
    • Nidan: $150.00
    • Sandan: $175.00
    • Yondan: $200.00
    • Godan: $225.00
    • Rokudan: $250.00
    • Shichidan: $300.00
    • Hachidan: $350.00
  • For non-competitors, Instructor Must Attend Board of Examiners Promotion Meeting and speak on behalf of the candidate unless the BOE grants an exceptional exemption.
  • Non-competitor candidates: Complete skills testing at promotional examination demonstrating rank required skills
  • Sandan and higher ranks: CENCO board of examiners would like a demonstration of the candidate’s teaching techniques. This demonstration must presented in person at the exam and be brief and to the point. The demonstration should show the creativity of the candidate by integrating techniques required for their rank in either Tachiwaza, Osaekomi waza , Shimewaza, or Kansetsu Waza. It should highlight combinations, transitions, defenses or turnovers to and from the technique selected for teaching. The Board of Examiners listens to the candidate’s description and explanation of these techniques as well as the drills and the methods he or she uses to teach these techniques. It should not just be a variation of a technique. 

Rank Requirements (PDF)

Obtaining Kodokan Rank

Use the following documents to apply for a Kodokan Rank Certificate