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02-05-2002, 11:41 PM

Hello everyone,

I am wondering a couple of things. How long (in months) were you taking aikido before your first test? How many days a week were you practicing before your first test? Were you pre-warned about the test? Did your sensei help prepare you? Did the idea of testing take all the fun and relaxation out of practicing?

Just Curious...


02-06-2002, 01:42 AM
I began to learn aikido at April 28th, 1997., and took my first test at Oct. xxth, 1997. So It took about six months for me. There must be a grading regulation in your dojo, required training days, techs., or something.

Some people have said the importance of grading. But IMHO, it's really nothing, and you should concentrate on training itself. Whether you pass the test or not, you don't have to care for that.

IMHO again, it's really not good to take a test just because you have trained for xx days, or you learned required techniques.

Please relax, and take it easy.. :)


02-06-2002, 02:00 AM
Maybe 3-4 months... Practicing twice a week. Yes, at first everything made me nervous. My sensei did prepare me for the test. This was during my first year of Aikido and for the first two tests.

After a while (about 2 years later, a lot of class time, embukai, and gradings later), grading is no longer that much of an importance to me. What important is what I've learned, not what kyu I'm in. I've seen people that were higher in grade than I am have pretty awful understanding than people that were in lower grade than I am.

Now, I would even agree that before shodan that there should only one color of belt: white. Back to the old school should I say. Practice time is much harder than grading for me. This is also because during practice we are learning things that are not graded on. It is easier to be in a grading than it is to act wisely and accordingly in class.

The journey travelled is much more valuable than the goal that is reached. Now, to me, everyday is a test, a test for me to become a better person.

02-08-2002, 09:37 PM
Hi Karen, and welcome to Aikido!

Every dojo is different, every sensei is different, and each of us is different (thank goodness), so no answer here will be much use in the long run...I'd check your student handbook (if you have one) and the dojo bulletin board (if there is one) to be sure the answer is not right in front of you, so to speak, and then ask a senior student. But in general (and because I love saying this): senseis don't usually test beginners (or just about anyone) if they are not already sure they are ready; they tend to be sneaky and watch us while we train.

Besides, testing is sooooo fun. It is a way to say 'thanks' to sempai and sensei for the help and instruction :D, an inspiration to kohai :eek:, a fun way to show off:p , a chance to see what you really do know (or not):rolleyes: . And you usually get to throw great ukes....

02-10-2002, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by kmarie
: How long (in months) were you taking aikido before your first test? How many days a week were you practicing before your first test? Were you pre-warned about the test? Did your sensei help prepare you? Did the idea of testing take all the fun and relaxation out of practicing?


When I started training, I wanted to train twice a week, but it took me a while to learn how to ukemi, and in the meantime I was usually too sore to make more than one session a week. I can't remember when I was first tested (maybe 3/4 months in), but I remember that I was terrified. I was given a week's notice, yet even with notice I was so scared that I couldn't remember how to do anything, and even after the techniques were demonstrated, I only noticed how badly I was doing.

The good thing was how proud I felt to be awared my first coloured belt.

After that first test, I wasn't tested formally again until my first kyu grading. My Sensei would just call me up to the formt of the class one day and say congratulations, you've been graded. By the time of my first kyu test I wasn't nervous anymore. The years of training have lent me confidence and trust in my fellow aikidoka, respect (and not fear) of my Sensei and a burgeoning awareness of how much I've learnt and how far I have to go.

I'm now preparing for my shodan test and the preparation has seen me move to a new level of training. I'm raining more often and concentrating harder so I'm not quite so laid back, but yes, I'm still having fun and I can't think of a better way of blowing the cobwebs out of my head at the end of the day :)

Good luck and don't worry about testing too much!


Dean H.
02-20-2002, 09:32 PM
I was 3-4 months into training when I took my first test. My sensei was very clear about the test requirements and made me prepared before the test. He lets his students apply as they feel ready, but also gives feedback to the student if he believes that is necessary.

One thing I highly recommend is to watch at least one session of testing before you have your own test. You will feel much more comfortable during your test after having seen others go through the procedure.

Best wishes,
:triangle: :circle: :square:

02-21-2002, 02:43 AM
When I first took up aikido there were no kyu testing in my dojo. After a while the senior students and teachers would award a student the right to wear a hakama (concidered equivalent to 3. kyu) and on the annual camp with our japanese shihan dan certificates would be handed out to those he deemed worthy.

Some time ago it was decided in the national association that all dojo's should do kyu-gradings, so now we do. I think the required time between tests is like this:
6. kyu: 3 months
5. kyu: 3 months
4. kyu: 4 months
3. kyu: 5 months
2. kyu: 6 months
1. kyu: 6 months
1. dan: 1 year
However we usually only have kyu-gradings twice a year with a third posibility on a national camp in the fall for gradings above 4. kyu.
Usually you would spend a couple of years getting to 3. kyu and another 3 to 4 years to get to shodan. We dont't have very many 'fast-track' students. In theory one could be a shodan in three years, but that's a rare sight.
One of Nishio shihan's teachers Shishiya sensei got a homepage with minimum requirements for dan and kyu gradings. This is for his own association under the Aikikai and it is similar to what we use in our dojo, except they count practice days instead of months. It can be seen at:

Hope this helps

02-21-2002, 08:46 PM
I know at my dojo it takes 30 hours to qualify for taking the first test, then 50 hours from that, and so on... It is different for every (or almost every) dojo, so you'd have to ask your teacher for specifics. Taking 3 classes a week, it took me a few months...I was well over 30 hours though. :)


02-21-2002, 11:07 PM
At our dojo it is when your ready! but who knows Im testing this weekend ( hope I do well!) my advice just think of it as a very very focused training day and you will do fine! have fun!

02-22-2002, 03:32 AM
Hi Dallas!

Good luck (or should I say lots of fun) on your test. I'm about to test for 3. kyu in about a month. In our dojo that's the grade where you will be allowed to wear a hakama, so it's kind of a big step for me.

What grade are you testing for ?

02-23-2002, 10:06 AM
Something that my senseis told me was that you shouldn't worry about your testing. Make it like every other day. Have fun, try to learn as much as you can. :)


02-24-2002, 06:23 PM
I had my test today I passed for the grade of First Kyu. it was hard and sitting is sezia for like 45 min makes my feet go numb! took a nap when I got home and then am about to start my Hw. Life on the edge eh?

02-25-2002, 03:21 AM
Originally posted by Chocolateuke
I had my test today I passed for the grade of First Kyu. it was hard and sitting is sezia for like 45 min makes my feet go numb! took a nap when I got home and then am about to start my Hw. Life on the edge eh?

Hi Dallas,

Congratulation, for your first Kyu. :p
Another step on your way. Nearly, you will arrive at the first Aikido door (Shodan).
Good pratice !!



02-25-2002, 09:00 AM
Originally posted by ChrisDuSCAMB
Nearly, you will arrive at the first Aikido door (Shodan).

Hehe, just don't let the door hit you. :p


03-01-2002, 11:50 PM
Thank you all for your kind replies. I took all of your responses to heart, and decided to take the test. I actually passed (even though I feel I messed everything up terribly and shouldn't have been promoted). Aikido...it's a love/hate thing.

Thanks again!

karen marie

Bruce Baker
03-26-2002, 08:05 AM
Before I ever started martial arts, I knew there were two levels of learning .... white belt and black belt. Notice I did not say grades, or kyu, or dan, but levels of learning which could be interpreted as training in some circles.

As you progress with your particular style of Aikido, or start to pay attention to the how, why, where, and details of what makes good, easy, flowing Aikido that works, you will find that you fight a sense of inner accomplishment over a sense of "I can do this better than this number of people" ... until one day you trip, fall, or hurt yourself or someone else because of this blindness. Don't get weird, it is just part of the learning curve to grow up. A level of life test, as it were?

Eventually, after gaining the certificates your inner pride requires, you will seriously take stock of just what you have learned or not learned? At that point, you will kick youself for either breezing through the curriculum, or for not taking the time to look around and understand (not meaning that you should learn different martial systems at the same time) other martial systems as they apply to your knowledge at that time?

Hang with me almost done.

Testing is a great way to educate, benchmark, and measure progress, but did you actually learn it on a conscious, or a subconscious level that is always with you, or like a test that comes one day, and is forgotten another?

Check it out. Can you do techniques from any stance? Does it matter if you can switch when uke wriggles or changes a technique then change it back again? Do you have trouble with different combinations of techniques, at different speeds, or different size ukes? Do you laugh because the technique is perfectly executed to an immobility of tapping out, getting up for more with a laugh? Well, what have you been testing for?

Learn from your mistakes, but always continue to refine, devise, adapt, and overcome new and different situations with old hat in basic learning. Maybe, I started martial arts too late in life, too old, too crusty, always pointing out the simularities of techniques from Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, and Aikido ... BAD DOG.

For you young dogs, still eager and full of promise, practice and testing are the same! Same mind, same practice, same Aikido! Learn it in the same mind as you do a necessary life skill, driving/ banking/ food shopping/ health/ sex, as something you need to live and breathe ... then maybe I can stop being so crusty when I get you in practice, stopped in the headlights like some animal in the night when a technique doesn't go exactly as planned because you forgot what you learned two kyu levels ago?

Just a thought. Now throw me until my brain turns to jelly, ouch!

Don't be so concerned about testing, when you have progressed enough, you will test ... until the only test left is the test of living your life. NOW, GO DO AIKIDO, and have fun.