Requirements For Sandan

Candidates must:

  1. At the time of the examination, the candidate must have been an active and AJJF registered Nidan for a minimum of three consecutive years, and must hold a current AJJF registration for one full year preceding the Sandan exam.
  2. Have been actively instructing their own classes for a minimum of three years, or started and maintained a registered AJJF school as school head for two years, or have been an assistant instructor, a minimum of two years.
    1. Submit a Sandan/Yodan Instructor Activity Form
  3. Submit a copy of current AJJF registration card.
  4. Submit a copy of current Red Cross Standard or Community First Aid card.
  5. Submit a copy of current CPR card. CPR Requirement can be met with training in person or online.
  6. Submit an Application for Examination.
  7. Submit an Concussion Awareness Form.
  8. Submit a Letter of Recommendation from Sensei (in a sealed envelope) stating, in part, willingness to assume responsibility for applicant.
  9. Submit a notebook containing an organized list of all the arts being examined, with a short description of how to do each art.
  10. Submit an activity sheet or Budo Pass listing at least six AJJF approved mat activities, OR Serve a three-year term as an active member of the AJJF Operations Committee as a National Manager or Committee Chair AND submit an activity sheet or Budo Pass listing at least four AJJF approved mat activities.
      1. Events that qualify: AJJF Sanctioned Convention, Mat Clinic, Camps, Seminars, and Competitions.  Events typically span a full day or multiple days.
      2. Classes that qualify: AJJF approved Black Belt Classes, Healing Classes, and DZRSI Mod’s.  Classes generally are a half day or less.  Even though the DZRSI Mod courses are multiple days, since they are testing for their jujitsu black belt, the candidate could count one event in each qualifying year. 
      3. Sandan: At least 6 AJJF approved mat activities during the 36 month period immediately preceding the exam date:
      4. Meet the required number of events in whatever combination you want for Nidan and above.  With at least one event in each year required that precedes the exam.  For example, a Sandan candidate needs 6 total events.  They can do 1 event in the first year, 4 in the second year, and 1 in the final year.
      5. The events in a given year can be selected from any of the qualified events, but only one can be selected from the qualified classes category.  The thinking is that a 2-3 hour class isn’t the same time commitment as a convention or clinic, and should be counted differently.
      6. The contest is still a Black Belt requirement for Shodan and Nidan, but a qualifying contest no longer needs to have three different schools participating to count.  There is no minimum number of school’s needed to count, it still needs to be on the AJJF Calendar.
      7. A multiple activity event can still only count as one activity.  Since we reduced the count per year to two, this isn’t a hard requirement to meet.
      8. The director of each activity must sign the Activity Sheet or Budo Pass.
  11. Request a Time-In-Grade Letter from the Examination Committee Chair.
  12. Successfully complete the AJJF Ethics and Risk Management Course and Examination (does not need to be repeated if done before.)
  13. Meet the standards of Ethics as set forth in the document Code of Conduct and Procedures for Conflict Resolution.
  14. Find out from Examinations Committee Chair or Regional Examination Coordinator:
    1. Should the candidate mail documents, or bring them to the exam?
    2. Does the candidate need to pre-register for the exam date?
    3. How much is the fee for examinations?
  15. Have in notebook, and subject to examination, a Yawara Stick Course.
  16. Be able to demonstrate eight additional methods of resuscitation and basic Seifukujitsu.
  17. The Sandan Anatomy Exam is the same as the exam for Danzan Ryu Restorative Therapy Technician Program (formerly module 1), which is administered online. This exam can be taken by prospective Sandan at quarterly exams with the Restorative Therapy program or, if needed,  by request from the Exams Chair.  Anatomy exams are still acceptable within 12 months of passing the anatomy exam.  The DZRSI Healing Arts Program has made the exam available online to Sandan Candidates at no charge beyond the usual Application for Black Belt Examination fee for an AJJF Sandan exam.

    You can still take the Anatomy exam on paper, if necessary.

    1. The exam will cover: Skeletal, Muscular, Nervous and Circulatory systems.
    2. Refer to the Anatomy Study Guide for Sandan Exam.
  18. Be able to demonstrate:
    1. Any or all of the basic arts listed in Nidan and Shodan, as requested by a majority of the examining board.
    2. Shinyo No Maki
      1. Gyaku Hizagaruma
      2. Tsuki Hazushi Kotemaki
      3. Tsukikome Dome
      4. Sune Shime
      5. Saru Shime
      6. Tobi Tsuki Tenada
      7. Obi Otoshi
      8. Sennin Gake
      9. Mune Dori
      10. Tsurigane Otoshi
      11. Inazuma
      12. Denko
      13. Kasumi Dori
      14. Shishi Otoshi
  19. Sandan and Yodan Exam Format Change
    1. Each examiner shall choose 2 arts at random per course at the exam site for demonstration of Kata. It is expected that each candidate will demonstrate their understanding of the arts as they are described in the Kata Manual. For Shinnin, each examiner shall choose 5 arts at random for demonstration by the candidate.
    2. Each candidate shall perform 4 freestyle sessions, for a maximum time limit of 2 minutes each. The first session shall be seen after Yawara, and will primarily include the candidate’s understanding of that course with appropriate transitions between each arts shown. The second session shall be seen after Nage Te, and will primarily include the candidate’s understanding of that course with appropriate transitions between each art shown. The third session shall be seen after Shime Te, and will primarily include the candidate’s understanding of that course with appropriate transitions between each art shown. (optional until Apr 2022) The fourth session shall be seen after Shinnin, and will be a demonstration of the candidate’s understanding of all that he/she has learned in DZR.
    3. The balance of the exam for each rank shall be as it is currently formatted.

Further Information

  • “Examination for Blackbelt”
  • “Regulations, Policies, Procedures For Blackbelt Exams”


  • Application for Examination
  • Sensei Recommendation Letter
  • Examination Activity Record Sheet



  • Board of Professors
  • Examinations Committee Chair – regarding exam procedures, Time-In-Grade letter, and forms
  • Regional Manager or Regional Examination Coordinator – regarding dates, times, locations of exams.