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 only with hands-on training.
  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. Fulfill one of the following categories:


    1. Submit an activity sheet or Budo Pass listing at least nine AJJF Sanctioned mat activities (three activities must have been attended during each of the three years preceding the exam), signed by each activity’s director, or signed by him/herself if director, OR
    2. 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 six AJJF Sanctioned mat activities (two activities must have been attended during each of the three years preceding the exam), signed by each activity’s director, or signed by him/herself if the director.
      1. Activities include, but are not limited to: mat clinics, blackbelt classes, mat seminars, conventions, jujitsu camps, competitions
        • All activities MUST be posted on the AJJF Online Calendar of Events
        • For Shodan and Nidan applicants only, at least one activity must be a AJJF sanctioned competition, occurring during the 12 months immediately preceding the exam date
        • (Effective only for mat activities and events listed AFTER 11/12/2018…activities and events listed prior to this date are exempt from the following rule) When an event includes multiple activities (i.e. National Convention includes convention classes, national freestyle contest, exams, healing arts classes), only one activity per the event qualifies for this exam requirement
        • Blackbelt classes MUST be open to participation by all registered AJJF students of appropriate rank.
        • Healing arts classes count as mat activities with the following caveats:
          • Attendance during a DZRSI Module 1 or 2 can count as one mat activity per year of time-in-grade (maximum of one of the three mat activities per year).
          • Massage Continuing Education and Healing Arts classes taught by Standards Committee Members (or instructor who is approved by the committee) also qualify.
          • Attendance at an approved Danzan Ryu Restorative Therapy class taught by an approved DZRSI instructor can count for one activity per year of Time-In-Grade. To verify that the instructor of the class is approved, contact the DZRSI Administrator before attending the class.
        • 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. Take a written examination, demonstrating knowledge of basic anatomy and physiology.
    1. The exam will cover: Skeletal, Muscular, Nervous and Circulatory systems.
    2. Refer to the Anatomy Study Guide for Sandan Exam.

      A written A&P Examination is valid for 1 year from the date it is taken and passed. Massage Module I examinations taken after September 10, 2005 DO NOT satisfy this requirement.

  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 (effective August 15, 2008)
    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 3 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 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.