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Ruairidh
05-27-2009, 04:20 PM
Hi im ruri (ruairidh) and im 8th kyu yellow belt. im just interested to know what grades you are all at. i have recently started aikido again since i was 12 or 13 as i am now 14. and have my yellow belt. what about you?

Nick
05-27-2009, 04:25 PM
Hey Ruri-- welcome to aikido and to the forums.

I started aikido when I was 13, in 1999. My first test was in August of 2000, for yonkyu. Our organization only started kyu ranks at 5th kyu (gokyu), so something to remember is that every dojo and every organization rank differently.

My favorite quote about rank comes from one of my favorite movies:

Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?
Daniel: [laughs] No, I meant...
Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants.
[laughs; then, seriously]
Miyagi: Daniel-san...
[taps his head]
Miyagi: Karate here.
[taps his heart]
Miyagi: Karate here.
[points to his belt]
Miyagi: Karate never here. Understand?

The same goes for aikido. Enjoy the ride, don't worry about the destination.

But, so that you don't think I'm dodging your question: my last test was for shodan, in 2004. I stopped doing aikido full time through college and focused on other arts, namely boxing and kung fu, but the great thing about aikido is that you can always come back to it.

Good luck with your training,
Nick

Eva Antonia
05-27-2009, 04:54 PM
Hi Ruri,

I'm 4th kyu (orange belt; we start at 6th kyu = white belt), so still at a level where every change of colour is a reason for bliss and happiness during several days...just until your eyes get used to the beauty of the new colour and you start thinking that the next one would look even better. But only black is really beautiful :-)

Wish you much success and much fun in aikido!

Eva

ninjaqutie
05-27-2009, 04:55 PM
I think asking about time training might be more accurate. Just because the place I train at starts at 6th kyu. So it could be a bit confusing. You may be higher ranking in terms of time and technique then another person here, but they just started at a higher rank then you. :)

Ruairidh
05-27-2009, 07:56 PM
thanks every one for your generous posts and good comments :) keep 'em coming hehe :p

JO
05-27-2009, 09:25 PM
I started aikido in 1999. I'm currently shodan.

Nafis Zahir
05-27-2009, 11:36 PM
I started Aikido in 1994. My rank is Student.

Chicko Xerri
05-28-2009, 12:58 AM
I am 5th Dan with 35yrs uninterrupted training. 58yrs old. Many thousands of times I have been thrown and I have thrown many others thousands of times, a lot of pain and tears, euphoria, enlightenments and amazing disappointments, gratitude and love. Knowing what I know if I lost it all yesterday I would immediately start again today. You have wonderful discoveries ahead. Take it all on.

Linda Eskin
05-28-2009, 01:00 AM
I feel like I am looking up from the bottom of a deep sea... Started this month. No rank at all. My first test, someday, will be for 6 Kyu. I hope to be able to study Aikido for many years.

I love Nick's quotation - thank you for sharing that.

Arashi Kumomura
05-28-2009, 02:37 AM
That's an excellent quote, Nick. I'll need to learn from that and take it to heart. :)

Coincidentally, I actually just asked my sensei what he thinks I could rank to, since I've been training for a few years and I haven't yet tested. Our school starts at 5th kyu (gokyu) and he told me that I have enough curriculum to skip a couple of levels and I would probably be around 3rd kyu (after memorizing a bit more of the terminology :P)

Rank has never meant that much to me, but I am curious sometimes about what I could truly test to.

Good luck on the many tests of Aikido before you (and hopefully you'll love and gain from them all). :)

eyrie
05-28-2009, 02:43 AM
Hi im ruri (ruairidh) and im 8th kyu yellow belt. im just interested to know what grades you are all at. i have recently started aikido again since i was 12 or 13 as i am now 14. and have my yellow belt. what about you? Hmmm... I dunno. I haven't graded in 13 years.... BUT what my grade is, or what yours is, is not really that important.

What's more important is that you keep training at it, and that you continue to love doing it. Along the way, there will be the occasional disappointments, lack of motivation and no perceivable progress. Do not be discouraged because it will pass.

Just keep doing, keep thinking and keep learning... you never ever stop doing, thinking or learning, just because you've reach a certain grade. If you stop, you're dead or you'll die. Seriously. :) That's what I tell my kids anyway (they're not far behind you in age)...

dalen7
05-28-2009, 03:10 AM
Hi Ruri,

I'm 4th kyu (orange belt; we start at 6th kyu = white belt), so still at a level where every change of colour is a reason for bliss and happiness during several days...just until your eyes get used to the beauty of the new colour and you start thinking that the next one would look even better. But only black is really beautiful :-)

Wish you much success and much fun in aikido!

Eva

Eva: yeah, I totally dig my orange belt as well. :)
Gonna miss its bright look as I go to green this July...but dont get me wrong, Ill be happy for the rank. lol

Ruri:
As for myself Ill be testing for 3rd kyu [we have 6] in July, and I have been at this two years, as of this month actually. [or the end of.]

The one thing that will become clear is that Aikido is not systemized in the sense that what my rank is translates to any other dojo but that which is under our Technical leader [who is 5th Dan] and who is under Tamura Sensei. :)

While this may seem to be discouraging, its not...the point is to take away what you learn at your place, and if/when you move on, Im sure you will adapt just as well where you go. - there are similarities after all, though with anything each place has its own unique vibe. :)

As for age...lol - my oldest daughter is almost as old as you. [actually she will be 12 this year.] - which puts me into old man category I suppose. lol

Peace

dAlen

Ruairidh
05-28-2009, 03:31 AM
so (based on reading your comments) lets say if a dojo started at 8th kyu and a dojo started and 5th or 6th kyu will the dojo at 5 kyu be faster to get to blackbelt shodan level?

i have always been curious to ask that but always forgot to ask my sensei.

dalen7
05-28-2009, 03:45 AM
so (based on reading your comments) lets say if a dojo started at 8th kyu and a dojo started and 5th or 6th kyu will the dojo at 5 kyu be faster to get to blackbelt shodan level?

i have always been curious to ask that but always forgot to ask my sensei.

depends yet again. :)
You will find the emphasis and training curriculum of central/eastern Europe, as an example, [at least where Im at] to be a bit different than stateside and perhaps even from Britain where your from. Here getting a brown belt is a big deal...and getting your black belt can take a lot longer. - from what I can tell, and I could be off, a brown belt is not to dissimilar to a shodan in many other dojos outside of Hungary. [black belt is seen as more of an important milestone here, and even people at 2nd kyu can teach...though its rare - guy in the city next to us is a good example.]

Typically 8 kyus, etc. are for the kids, I would say universally, though some have more and less.

What you will find is that adults have either 6 or 5...the ones with the 5 tend to have a basic test they have to go through, though I suppose they know all the rest, whereas with the 6 kyus, at least where Im at, we have the full curriculum and more to go through. [though this may sound a bit to the contrary to what I say in the paragraph below...which goes to point out that its all relative and why so many people here discourage too much focus on rank alone. ;)

Does it mean its any better...doubt it, just a different focus...even within dojos a given rank does not guarantee a certain knowledge, though it is a good guide. - for an example, our lack of specific training in ukemi may be frowned upon...though in the neighboring city its a point of focus and the guy teaching is from our dojo. :)

I think the most important thing is to set up your own goals...what does the rank signify to you is what is important. [thats what I have done, set up my own goals and expectations for each rank...if I move I will then readjust and see how it lines up where Im at...if Im needing to hold off on testing to catch up, or be moved up a grade...up to sensei. :)

Either way, have fun...and try not to get hurt - [I have done way to much of that.] lol

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
05-28-2009, 04:08 AM
so (based on reading your comments) lets say if a dojo started at 8th kyu and a dojo started and 5th or 6th kyu will the dojo at 5 kyu be faster to get to blackbelt shodan level?

i have always been curious to ask that but always forgot to ask my sensei.

oh, whats gonna really get you is that some dojos have extremely different terminologies for things such as henko henko [guys dont be rough on me, just remembered it had the word henko in there somewhere... i think]. :D

I suppose this is similar to something I know, from what I remember reading, but indeed relearning terminology may be a thing in and of itself. :)

Peace

dAlen

rulemaker
05-28-2009, 06:58 AM
I started in 1994 and after spending a lot of money on aikido I am now 3rd dan aikikai. :)

Mel
www.aikido-philippines.com

crbateman
05-28-2009, 07:48 AM
Grades? We don't need no stinking grades...

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2009, 08:03 AM
Just to confuse you more, Yoshinkan has 9th through 1st kyu. Time varies by student, where they train, how much they train, etc.

Best,
Ron

Rabih Shanshiry
05-28-2009, 08:13 AM
Hi Ruri,

I'm 34 and wish I started Aikido when I was your age. I hope you enjoy it and decide to stay with it. If you do, you'll be a great aikidoka by the time you reach my age with many wonderful skills, stories, and friends to show for it.

To answer your original question, just take a look at my avatar. I plan to test for 9th kyu at the end of June which would give me the yellow belt.

...rab

Ruairidh
05-28-2009, 09:02 AM
Hi Ruri,

I'm 34 and wish I started Aikido when I was your age. I hope you enjoy it and decide to stay with it. If you do, you'll be a great aikidoka by the time you reach my age with many wonderful skills, stories, and friends to show for it.

To answer your original question, just take a look at my avatar. I plan to test for 9th kyu at the end of June which would give me the yellow belt.

...rab

cool rab, good luck with your grading.

Linda Eskin
05-28-2009, 09:06 AM
Hi again Ruri,

Because "how long does it take to get a black belt" is a question every new student has, the dojo where I train has a page to answer that question: http://www.aikidosd.com/blackbelt.htm Mind you, those are minimum requirements in our organization, and the training days are the minimum between each belt, with a lot of "it depends on the person" thrown in there. So, for instance, To get to 4 Kyu one could expect to train a minimum of 20 + 40 + 60 days.

That said, I consider this a journey. If you were to set off to walk across the continent, you would want to see and fully experience each footpath and village on your way. You'd make friends, have setbacks, change course, develop blisters, learn about yourself... Be in the place where you are, and do the things there are to do in that place. Don't miss out on your time in this charming little village (8 Kyu) by focusing too much on how to get to another place, later. You'll get there soon enough.

Happy travels, and see you on the road.

Linda

Ruairidh
05-28-2009, 09:18 AM
Hi again Ruri,

Because "how long does it take to get a black belt" is a question every new student has, the dojo where I train has a page to answer that question: http://www.aikidosd.com/blackbelt.htm Mind you, those are minimum requirements in our organization, and the training days are the minimum between each belt, with a lot of "it depends on the person" thrown in there. So, for instance, To get to 4 Kyu one could expect to train a minimum of 20 + 40 + 60 days.

That said, I consider this a journey. If you were to set off to walk across the continent, you would want to see and fully experience each footpath and village on your way. You'd make friends, have setbacks, change course, develop blisters, learn about yourself... Be in the place where you are, and do the things there are to do in that place. Don't miss out on your time in this charming little village (8 Kyu) by focusing too much on how to get to another place, later. You'll get there soon enough.

Happy travels, and see you on the road.

Linda

Hi linda, thank you for your post it gave me alot to think about. and its a great way of explaining it to a student like me :P. ill try and not forget that thankyou :)

lbb
05-28-2009, 09:58 AM
That said, I consider this a journey. If you were to set off to walk across the continent, you would want to see and fully experience each footpath and village on your way. You'd make friends, have setbacks, change course, develop blisters, learn about yourself... Be in the place where you are, and do the things there are to do in that place. Don't miss out on your time in this charming little village (8 Kyu) by focusing too much on how to get to another place, later. You'll get there soon enough.

Nice metaphor, Linda...I like it a lot. USAF has similar requirements (number of hours between rankings), slightly different numbers: 60 hours before you test for 5th kyu (the first rank), then 80 more to test for 4th, then 100 for 3rd, 150 for 2nd, 200 for 1st, etc. Easy to see why the time between tests fairly soon comes to be measured in years rather than in weeks or months.

Rabih Shanshiry
05-28-2009, 01:55 PM
Linda, Mary, and anyone else who's organization requires minimum training time between ranks -

What do you think about that policy? I understand that it strives to establish standards across dojos but on the other hand it seems to be a somewhat artificial limiter for talented martial artists able to fulfill the requirements sooner. (I am definitely not one of those but something about it still seems to bother me).

Thoughts?

Pauliina Lievonen
05-28-2009, 02:19 PM
Linda, Mary, and anyone else who's organization requires minimum training time between ranks -

What do you think about that policy? My sensei actually dropped the minimum training time requirements, not because it held talented people back but because people started to assume that you'd automatically be able to grade after fulfilling the time in grade and whining to him about it. So now we only grade once sensei says people are ready. :p

kvaak
Pauliina

Rabih Shanshiry
05-28-2009, 03:08 PM
My sensei actually dropped the minimum training time requirements, not because it held talented people back but because people started to assume that you'd automatically be able to grade after fulfilling the time in grade and whining to him about it. So now we only grade once sensei says people are ready. :p

kvaak
Pauliina

I can appreciate the wisdom in that. I'd be itching to test once my minimum days rolled around.

I think it might work best if there are tests offered at regular intervals (every 2-4 months) and then students can opt to test whenever they feel ready. Of course, it would probably benefit the student to ask their sensei if s/he feels they are ready before testing but I could imagine that taking a test would be a good experience even if the result is not what you hoped. I also like the idea of allowing students to test for any rank they are prepared for. Why make someone with years of experience in a related art or another Aikido organization go through mandatory time requirements when they already have the skills for a particular rank.

...rab

Shadowfax
05-28-2009, 03:55 PM
Kindergarten.....

Like the others said. Rank isn't really so important as the journey it represents.

lbb
05-28-2009, 03:58 PM
Linda, Mary, and anyone else who's organization requires minimum training time between ranks -

What do you think about that policy? I understand that it strives to establish standards across dojos but on the other hand it seems to be a somewhat artificial limiter for talented martial artists able to fulfill the requirements sooner. (I am definitely not one of those but something about it still seems to bother me).

Thoughts?

Well, it's arbitrary, but I guess I don't think that you can get away altogether from arbitrary criteria...and I'm not sure it matters to try that hard. I feel this way, though, because I just don't care about the rank. This is the fourth martial art I've trained in, each time I start at the beginning again, and rank just doesn't matter a burnt-out match to me any more.

dalen7
05-28-2009, 04:26 PM
Linda, Mary, and anyone else who's organization requires minimum training time between ranks -

What do you think about that policy? I understand that it strives to establish standards across dojos but on the other hand it seems to be a somewhat artificial limiter for talented martial artists able to fulfill the requirements sooner. (I am definitely not one of those but something about it still seems to bother me).

Thoughts?

times, at least for us, are a guide line of what they typically see on average that it takes someone to reach a certain level that the Sensei feels is appropriate for the test.

If the person is ready before, then they test ahead of time... I dont know, perhaps other places are more strict - but so much goes into this, one main factor are those that practice at home and/or go to the dojo 3-4 times a week vs. 2 times, etc. [the latter is counted of course...but the former you see in practice by improved skills.]

I can tell who takes time outside of class vs. the ones who just show up...especially those who train twice a week, there has to be extra time or you will never get it. :)

Peace

dAlen

Linda Eskin
05-28-2009, 08:24 PM
Linda, Mary, and anyone else who's organization requires minimum training time between ranks -

What do you think about that policy?

Just to clarify, by the way, those are actual days where you show up at the dojo and train, not calendar days. (I think you know that - just being sure I was getting it across right.)

I don't think it's a bad idea. The minimum times will probably never personally affect me, because I will likely progress slower anyway. But in any case, while I think it's possible to master techniques pretty quickly, there's a lot of depth to Aikido that (IMHO) just takes time, and steeping in the ideas and culture. Someone who was to, for instance, really blast through learning technique after technique, in an effort to progress through ranks as quickly as possible, would be missing the point.

I could see exceptions for those who are already advanced students of other arts, who might gasp the concepts more readily (and I would guess the rules might have some flexibility in those cases).

Linda

ruthmc
05-29-2009, 09:19 AM
My sensei actually dropped the minimum training time requirements, not because it held talented people back but because people started to assume that you'd automatically be able to grade after fulfilling the time in grade and whining to him about it. So now we only grade once sensei says people are ready. :p

kvaak
Pauliina

:D That is a great policy to have - it stops students from focussing on how many classes they've taken or how long it's been since their last test, and gets them to concentrate solely upon improving their Aikido practise :cool:

Ruth

Rabih Shanshiry
05-29-2009, 09:54 AM
while I think it's possible to master techniques pretty quickly, there's a lot of depth to Aikido that (IMHO) just takes time, and steeping in the ideas and culture. Someone who was to, for instance, really blast through learning technique after technique, in an effort to progress through ranks as quickly as possible, would be missing the point.

Hi Linda,

I'm like you - time minimums do not apply. If I look out 20 years, I hope to develop my skills to the point where I would be considered 4th dan. Hey - you have to dream, right?

On the other hand, there are others far more talented than me. While I understand there is a lot of depth to Aikido that has to be absorbed, I take a more cynical view towards the time requirements. In my mind, a major reason those requirements are there is to protect the established power structure. I see it as very political I'm afaid.

I think I'd have much less of a philosophical objection if these time requirements were always part of the art. But if I'm not mistaken, Shioda Kancho was granted his 9th dan certificate from O'Sensei after about 10 years of direct training. Granted Shioda was an extremely gifted martial artist, but it would take a minimum of 40 years in the IYAF and 50 years in the USAF to achieve that rank today - regardless of skill level or personal talent.

So while I understand what others mean when they say that rank is not important, it obvoiusly is very important to organized aikido - or at least, to the most prominent aikido organizations out there.

...rab

Linda Eskin
05-29-2009, 10:23 AM
...While I understand there is a lot of depth to Aikido that has to be absorbed, I take a more cynical view towards the time requirements. In my mind, a major reason those requirements are there is to protect the established power structure. I see it as very political I'm afaid. ...

I got to thinking more about this on the way home yesterday. Maybe this is the same thing you meant about protecting the established political power structure, but I'm thinking a good part of the requirements must be a kind of quality control by the organization (Aikikai). I could see that without it there would be the potential for promoting students faster to make a dojo look better - either because they have more "black belts" or to get a reputation as an easy place to get a black belt ("in just one year!" or whatever). That kind of behavior would threaten the dojos/senseis who are doing things right, possibly putting them out of business. It would also threaten the foundational training of naive students, who might be suckered into it without realizing there's anything wrong with it.

I understand your point. I'm sure there are gifted people who are "already there" without putting in the years. But as widely distributed and varied as dojos are, it's comforting as a student that there are some consistent expectations placed on them, and that the ranks, when earned, mean something (vaguely, at least).

Hmmm... Only 20 years to 4th dan, you say? Hey! I could be there before I turn 70. Well there's something to work toward.

lbb
05-29-2009, 11:42 AM
While I understand there is a lot of depth to Aikido that has to be absorbed, I take a more cynical view towards the time requirements. In my mind, a major reason those requirements are there is to protect the established power structure. I see it as very political I'm afaid.

I think that time requirements were created with mostly good intentions, but like any system of credentials, it tends to favor those in power somewhat. Frankly, though, I don't see that as any big deal. If you decide to play in this particular sandbox, that's part of the deal. If getting rank means that much to you, you need to either find a system where it's easy to do so, or one where you respect what it takes to get the rank enough that you're willing to pay the price. If getting rank doesn't matter to you, you need to train where you want to train for its own sake.

CarrieP
05-29-2009, 11:54 AM
Congratulations on starting aikido! I started a year and a half ago, after a year of gathering up the courage to do so At that time, even looking at the warm-ups made me tired and nervous.

But, I have made and continue to make progress. But it is slow, much like how hair grows. On a day-to-day basis you don't notice much change, but after a few months, your once chin-length hair is down around your shoulders.

I took my first, and thus far, only test, about a year ago. In my school, that puts me at 5th kyu (unranked=6th kyu, I believe). We don't have any corresponding colors so I don't know what color that would be.

Another thing that will help you a lot, when you get to this point, is to see another beginner come into the class. Not that you want to think you are better than they are (we all have different strenghts and weaknesses), but you can see more of the progress you have made when you are training with someone who is very new.

Good luck, and have fun!
I feel like I am looking up from the bottom of a deep sea... Started this month. No rank at all. My first test, someday, will be for 6 Kyu. I hope to be able to study Aikido for many years.

I love Nick's quotation - thank you for sharing that.

CarrieP
05-29-2009, 12:13 PM
Hi Linda,

But if I'm not mistaken, Shioda Kancho was granted his 9th dan certificate from O'Sensei after about 10 years of direct training. Granted Shioda was an extremely gifted martial artist, but it would take a minimum of 40 years in the IYAF and 50 years in the USAF to achieve that rank today - regardless of skill level or personal talent.


One key difference that I believe you are overlooking here:

All students of O'Sensei did aikdo, and nothing else, when they trained with him--they ate, breathed, and lived it. You can progress much faster when you train all day, every day, than when you train 3 or 4 days a week.

Allow me to pull out the math for a sec.

Let's estimate that Shioda Kancho trained 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, for the 10 years he was under O Sensei's tutalege. That's just shy of 2500 hours a year, more than most people put in at their full time jobs. 25,000 hours of aikido over 10 years.

Let's estimate that an average dedicated aikidoka today (who is not uchi deshi) puts in 6 hours a week (2 hours, 3 days a week), and goes to one full-day seminar a month (extra 8 hours). Comes out to about 400 hours a year. Let's be generous and bump that up to an even 500.

Using these estimates, Kancho would have trained 5 times as much in a year than our average aikidoka. It stands to reason it would take an aikidoka today 5 times as long to reach the same goal.

So: 50 years to reach 9th Dan. There you go.

That's why the organization that I train with looks at hours, and not days. We also count time observing class, going to seminars, and doing zazen at the dojo, in our hours towards testing. So, if you can put in more time, say, sit in and observe an advanced class, and do a couple hours of zazen a week, and catch a seminar a month, you are going to advance much more rapidly if you only attend class twice a week, and ocassionally miss classes. Even if you are doing conditioning and practicing certain things at home, this isn't going to replace on-the-mat training with lots of different people.

Rabih Shanshiry
05-29-2009, 01:33 PM
II could see that without it there would be the potential for promoting students faster to make a dojo look better - either because they have more "black belts" or to get a reputation as an easy place to get a black belt ("in just one year!" or whatever). That kind of behavior would threaten the dojos/senseis who are doing things right, possibly putting them out of business. It would also threaten the foundational training of naive students, who might be suckered into it without realizing there's anything wrong with it.

I think that is an important and valid point, but I do think there are better ways to do it that than time requirements. Fundamentally, I believe in meritocracy. If you are good enough, you should be recognized. I also understand that not all cultures/subcultures/organizations fully embrace that ideal. Some place a premium on other factors such as age, tenure, and heritage.

For example: I'm sure the sons of both Ueshiba and Shioda who head up their respective organizations are accomplished aikidoka. But are they the most skilled? The sense I get is that there are others generally recongized as better. However, many defer to them based on their familial lineage. I have also heard that non-Japanese aikidoka are promoted more slowly than non-Japanese.

All this is human, and natural, and understandable - especially within a traditional society and context. However, I do not think it is ideal.

Rabih Shanshiry
05-29-2009, 01:36 PM
If you decide to play in this particular sandbox, that's part of the deal.

Your dojo has a sandbox - cool!

Rabih Shanshiry
05-29-2009, 01:42 PM
Allow me to pull out the math for a sec.

Very good and valid point on the HOURS of training Shioda put in. I missed that level of analysis. I also like that your organization measures HOURS and not DAYS of training. It comes closer. What organization are you with?

It still does not achieve the ideal, however, since each person progresses at a different level based on their individual talent. One hour of basketball practice for Michael Jordan at 12 years old would not equal one hour of basetball practice for me when I was that age. Genetically, he is a far superior athelete.

Time just seems so arbitrary.

The only value I can see in it is - as Linda pointed out above - to give prospective students a realistic guideline for progression in the art.

jxa127
05-29-2009, 02:30 PM
There's a great (though somewhat sexist) quote from the 2003 Pirates of the Carribean movie. Jack Sparrow says, "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

I've been training since late 1999 with short breaks due to injury or school. I'm 35 years old, and had attained the rank of 1st kyu in an Aikido Association of America dojo. I was actively preparing for my shodan test until I switched to a new dojo in December of last year.

I'm now un-ranked again -- although I will probably test in the next month or two.

The important thing is what you can do and what you can't do. Ranks are, in many ways, a crude approximation of one's actual skill.

The important thing in my mind is to just keep training.

Regards,

-Drew

Carl Smith
05-29-2009, 03:41 PM
I'm 34 and have been training since approximately 2000 (I lose track of time so easily! :D ) last time I tested was for shodan in 2006.

At the time I started I was hoping for something that would keep my interest enough so that I could be more physically active. I never thought I would make it this far and at this point I don't really care if I ever rank again. These days it's the discoveries and the journey that keep me coming back, it's become so much more than I ever thought it would be.

shakou
05-29-2009, 05:45 PM
I feel like I am looking up from the bottom of a deep sea... Started this month. No rank at all. My first test, someday, will be for 6 Kyu. I hope to be able to study Aikido for many years.

I love Nick's quotation - thank you for sharing that.

Hey linda, I felt like that when I started last year at age 33, I am currently green belt but we have a strange way of teaching, we don't go with syllabus, all grades do a bit of everything which is great, good luck with it...

Sort of answered the original question there as well! Keep at it Ruia, there are many good moments there to be had, try not to focus on where you go wrong but on what you do right as that is what matters.... Also read and watch DVD, Aikido, the dynamic sphere is a good book to own and if you can find anything by Christian Tissier then snatch it at the 1st opportunity, good luck kid

Kris:D

shakou
05-29-2009, 05:52 PM
Hi Ruri,

I'm 34 and wish I started Aikido when I was your age. I hope you enjoy it and decide to stay with it. If you do, you'll be a great aikidoka by the time you reach my age with many wonderful skills, stories, and friends to show for it.

To answer your original question, just take a look at my avatar. I plan to test for 9th kyu at the end of June which would give me the yellow belt.

...rab

Lol, I hear that man.... 33 when I started, it hurts quite a bit but is well worth it!

Good luck mate

Kris

Nick
05-29-2009, 06:19 PM
My dad was 38 when he started karate... He's been in for 18 years and loves it. Better late than never, as it were... enjoy it!

Walter Martindale
05-29-2009, 06:47 PM
Ima Shodan arimasu.

Started 1993, graded 5kyu 1994
Changed dojo and city (1995), graded 3 kyu 1996 (now two shodans, judo, aikido, never once been 4th kyu)
Changed dojo (and country) 1997
Changed dojo (and country) again 2000
Nikyu, 2004
Changed dojo and city 2004, graded Ikkyu late 2005
Graded shodan early 2007. Changed dojo, city and country, 2007.
If I hear that my job will continue past the end of June, I'll attend grading this month for nidan - if not, sorry, certificate too costly and frankly I don't feel quite ready.
Current age 55.
W

Rabih Shanshiry
05-29-2009, 07:00 PM
Lol, I hear that man.... 33 when I started, it hurts quite a bit but is well worth it!

Good luck mate

Kris

Thanks Kris!

Funny thing is...I started Aikido to stay young. First few weeks its just made me feel like an old man. Strained wrist ligaments, aggravated rotator cuff, bruised ribs....Finally on the mend and starting to feel like the body is coming along.

Ruairidh
05-29-2009, 07:09 PM
thank you all for your support im really interested to see what grade you are and its fascinating reading about people who are even one grade above me because it means i will ALWAYS have things to learn and i am eager to learn. thanks again

shakou
05-31-2009, 01:38 PM
Thanks Kris!

Funny thing is...I started Aikido to stay young. First few weeks its just made me feel like an old man. Strained wrist ligaments, aggravated rotator cuff, bruised ribs....Finally on the mend and starting to feel like the body is coming along.

Yeah, the pain is integral to picking up techniques, as I'm now at green belt I'm starting to uke a bit more for Sensei, breakfalling from certain moves is still a pain in the behind but like yourself, I'm getting there, much harder than I 1st envisioned but not in a way that would put me off ever doing it.... Not had bruised ribs yet but my wrists hurt and I'm always sporting a new limp, I still say Aikido is the future though ha ha

Kris

shakou
05-31-2009, 01:44 PM
Ima Shodan arimasu.

Started 1993, graded 5kyu 1994
Changed dojo and city (1995), graded 3 kyu 1996 (now two shodans, judo, aikido, never once been 4th kyu)
Changed dojo (and country) 1997
Changed dojo (and country) again 2000
Nikyu, 2004
Changed dojo and city 2004, graded Ikkyu late 2005
Graded shodan early 2007. Changed dojo, city and country, 2007.
If I hear that my job will continue past the end of June, I'll attend grading this month for nidan - if not, sorry, certificate too costly and frankly I don't feel quite ready.
Current age 55.
W

Hey Walter, that's pretty inspiring. If my maths is right then you were 39 when you started? Good stuff man....

Kris

brUNO
06-01-2009, 03:44 PM
I started in 1968.
I was just recently promoted to 8th .....kyu.
I keep going backwards, must be my ukemi?

:D
I'm yudansha and should not have answered this thread. But sometimes I feel like the about statement is true, Sorry.

Linda Eskin
06-01-2009, 08:35 PM
It's that Beginner's Mind of yours, Brent. ;-)

I can't believe I gave my age wrong in my intro - I'm just starting out at 46. :-) That's better than not starting out, at least.

Here's my new role model:
http://zichi.blogspot.com/2009/06/96-year-old-judo-master-visits-ukiah.html

In 50 years maybe I could be a shihan! (Hey, it could happen.)

Dennis Hooker
06-02-2009, 01:18 PM
Hi im ruri (ruairidh) and im 8th kyu yellow belt. im just interested to know what grades you are all at. i have recently started aikido again since i was 12 or 13 as i am now 14. and have my yellow belt. what about you?

Well I am ranker than a lot but not as rank as others. Chuck Clark is ranker than me!

lifeafter2am
06-02-2009, 01:55 PM
Well I am ranker than a lot but not as rank as others. Chuck Clark is ranker than me!

LOL!

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2009, 01:59 PM
Hey Dennis, good to read you again! :D
Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
06-02-2009, 02:56 PM
Chuck Clark is ranker than me!

Hah!!! I strive to do my best as best I can... some days are ranker than others. :straightf

Take care my friend.

Marc Abrams
06-02-2009, 02:58 PM
I've been told I act like I have never left the 1st grade so I will stick with that!:D

Marc Abrams

brUNO
06-02-2009, 04:48 PM
It's that Beginner's Mind of yours, Brent. ;-)

Yes, it is (Bruno)

Here's my new role model 96-year-old-judo-master

That's Fukuda, Sensei. She is a beautiful, "young" woman of 96 and an excellent role model. I was in her dojo just last year and she still gets out on the mat to demonstrate waza in the Ju no Kata. Amazing!

I was intervieiwed for a documentary about her life in Judo. They wanted a Big, Ugly "Gaijin" that did Kata to say a few words. So, being the chatterbox I am, ...I did. Didn't know it would be used.

Be Gentle, Be Strong, Be Beautiful (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8UiYo-5vzA)

Disclaimer: In this clip, I'm credited as being a "Sensei, 5th dan." This is NOT correct and will be rectified in the final cut to "International Kata Competitor".

CarrieP
06-11-2009, 11:29 AM
Very good and valid point on the HOURS of training Shioda put in. I missed that level of analysis. I also like that your organization measures HOURS and not DAYS of training. It comes closer. What organization are you with?

***
The only value I can see in it is - as Linda pointed out above - to give prospective students a realistic guideline for progression in the art.

I'm with Birankai North America. Just had my first summer camp, actually. An indescribable, awesome experience.

I agree that giving students a guideline for progression is a good reason to have those guidelines. However, one last point.

If you are thinking of aikido strictly as technical skill, then no, strict guidelines don't make a lot of sense. However, aikido isn't just technical skill, at least in the areas where I train. There's a lot of other stuff there, about how to train, how to learn, and how to conduct yourself while doing those things. As was said at camp this past week, the important thing is not the result (aka nth degree black belt) but the process (training, learning).

John Longford
06-11-2009, 01:34 PM
A lot of the replies have gone away from the original question i.e. What grade are you?
I would ask why the question? Do you think the replies from a high ranking Dan grade should carry more weight than say a 4th. Kyu? In certain instances it is relevant to state: "As a teacher" or to state the number of years you have been training if that is integral to the post otherwise not.
You should also remember that different Dojos and organisations have different standards.
If you are curious about a particular Aikidoka then look up his/her profile, the rank might be on there.

Taj Mikel
06-17-2009, 11:19 AM
I am 6th Kyu! :D Haha.

Where we study, 6th Kyu is the lowest belt rank. It would probably be more accurate for me to say that I've only been studying for a few months. I'm loving it :p

Lyle Bogin
06-21-2009, 12:06 PM
Nidan now. Concentrating my efforts in getting our ikkyus to shodan.

Every rank makes it even more of a lesson when people don't listen to a word I say...

Anjisan
06-21-2009, 08:04 PM
Currently I am just a Nidan. I hope to begin focusing on training for Sandan in August. My ego desires-when I let it off or it escapes the leash- to test at the end of next year, but that is not for me to say. I just want to know............ how deep this rabbit hole goes?

Tim Griffiths
06-22-2009, 03:38 AM
If I count, I have 5 Shodans, 3 Nidans, 2 Sandans...all in Aikido over about 23 years.
Oh, and I change countries (and aiki-organisations) way too much...
:uch: I guess its one way to get over the grading jitters.
As others have said, time training (and training WELL) matters more than grade.

Maybe a better question is "How many gi's have you guys worn out?"

(Note to self: 'Outgrown' is NOT the same as 'worn out')

Tim

Stefan Stenudd
06-23-2009, 03:46 PM
I started in 1972, when I was 18 years old. Now, I am 6 dan, which surely has more to do with the number of years I have spent on aikido, than mere talent.

About the time to shodan, I have found a standard in many budo, which can be expressed like this (I heard it from a ju-jutsu shihan): A student of normal talent, who practices with normal intensity, will be on shodan level after about five years.

Very common is also this simple arithmetic for the following grades: Minimum 2 years to 2 dan, 3 years to 3 dan, 4 years to 4 dan, 5 years to 5 dan, 6 years to 6 dan. Then it gets more complicated.
Aikikai rules say 12 years minimum to 7 dan, and 15 years minimum to 8 dan. Other organizations may have other demands.

Ron Tisdale
06-24-2009, 08:30 AM
Maybe a better question is "How many [do]gi's have you guys worn out?"

Lost count...shucks. If only I had known that was my true rank, I would've paid more attention! :D
Best,
Ron

Jonathan
06-24-2009, 10:36 AM
I am tested to sandan - about 3 years ago or so now - but my official rank with the CAF is still nidan. I just haven't had an extra $300.00 bucks kicking around to give to Aikikai Hombu dojo so they can give me a piece of paper that says I am what I am (rank-wise, I mean). As many have said here on this thread, ability is ultimately more important than official rank - especially when you're not "rolling in the dough.";)

I remember quite clearly being sankyu and thinking sandan was so far away as to be unattainable. Well, here I am at sandan. In some ways, it doesn't feel much different than being sankyu: I've still got a whole lot more to learn!

Some have already said this, but I think it bears repeating: The secret to reaching a high rank in Aikido is to simply enjoy the journey getting there.

Gambatte okudasai!

Jon.

lbb
06-24-2009, 10:41 AM
Maybe a better question is "How many gi's have you guys worn out?"

I'm still on my original, but I've only had it three years (the knees are going to go soon though). But...I own a front-loader. Heh.

wideawakedreamer
06-26-2009, 12:10 AM
3rd kyu testing for 2nd kyu this year.

john.burn
06-26-2009, 03:14 AM
I've just passed my sandan this past weekend - the 20th June. Last graded for Nidan in 2003 but now have my own club and the association we joined thought it would be fun to grade me on the annual course... It was an enjoyable 30 minutes of hell, well actually, it was just the 7 person randori that was the hell part. Thankfully that was at the end of it all. There are some pics in the gallery page of our website.

ruthmc
06-26-2009, 08:46 AM
I've just passed my sandan this past weekend - the 20th June. Last graded for Nidan in 2003 but now have my own club and the association we joined thought it would be fun to grade me on the annual course... It was an enjoyable 30 minutes of hell, well actually, it was just the 7 person randori that was the hell part. Thankfully that was at the end of it all. There are some pics in the gallery page of our website.

:) Congratulations John! :cool:

john.burn
06-26-2009, 09:17 AM
:) Congratulations John! :cool:

Thanks Ruth! Feels good to know I don't have to go through anymore gradings / examinations. :D

David Maidment
06-26-2009, 02:53 PM
Congratulations John. I took a look at the pictures when you put them up; the randori looked fun!

Back on topic; I'll be testing for yonkyu next weekend, which incidentally was my grade when I used to train under Tom Moss Sensei as a kid. Can't wait until the next one; I haven't had a new colour belt in about fifteen years!