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harveyr4
03-31-2011, 12:02 PM
Hi, everyone

I new to the forum, and aikido. I just started my aikido training. My question is how long does it take on average to move up belt colors/ranking? example: white to orange and then orange to blue? Thanks for any input.

Basia Halliop
03-31-2011, 12:15 PM
Depends on your organization, your school, and yourself.

E.g. the USAF outlines the minimum number of days of practice between tests:
http://usafaikidonews.com/official_usaf_business/images/USAF.11.test.req.pdf

Other organizations have different guidelines, and consequently ranks only really have any meaning within one organization (and meaning can even vary from school to school within one organization as well). Also days are just minimums as different people will make different amounts of progress in different amounts of training. And different teachers will have a different idea in their mind of what amount of proficiency they want to see at each level. And of course how 'days of training' translates into days on the calendar depends how often you train.

For us though, the gaps between ranks are smaller at lower ranks and as you progress it takes more and more time to get to the next level.

Basically, 'it depends'. Ask different people in your dojo how long they've been training and how often they train and you'll get an idea.

In any case, the name of the rank you have won't really make any difference to the amount of progress you'll have made, if that makes any sense.

Shadowfax
03-31-2011, 12:41 PM
Ive been training for almost two years and mine's still white. Well a actually a rather dingy greyish white. It will be brown before too much longer. ;)

You need to look at the requirements for testing within your dojo. Then factor in the personal things like how much time you put in on the mat, how much you put into your training, and your learning curve. Everyone is different. :)

SeiserL
03-31-2011, 03:46 PM
Each organization is different in time and content.

Yet in general, we move up faster if we don't worry about moving up.

crbateman
03-31-2011, 04:11 PM
Yet in general, we move up faster if we don't worry about moving up.Amen. Good advice...

Harvey, don't make it about the belt/rank. Make it about the betterment of yourself and those around you. That is where the lasting satisfaction is.

Janet Rosen
03-31-2011, 04:18 PM
Let's see.... 15 years, that averages about one grading every three years for me ... my joke about 10 years ago was that I'd pay for my shodan test fees with my first social security check and that may end up being about right...

Walter Martindale
03-31-2011, 04:29 PM
Let's see.... 15 years, that averages about one grading every three years for me ... my joke about 10 years ago was that I'd pay for my shodan test fees with my first social security check and that may end up being about right...

Sounds about right... I was graded gokyu after a year, sankyu after another year, (never yonkyu in either judo or Aikido) and nikyu after 6 more years. That involved a lot of moving around from Canada to NZ and back to Canada. The Ikkyu took another year, and the shodan grading in Canada a year after that - moved back to NZ a week after the test. 3 years as a shodan (two different dojo) and now nidan since November 09 - that grading in NZ - all of it Aikikai.
Whew.
Most people move up faster than that but I spent a while in a dojo that was very slow to promote anybody. I had a very difficult time adapting to their movements, and when I changed to the next dojo it took about a year to adapt again...
W

lbb
03-31-2011, 04:41 PM
The speed at which you move up in ranking doesn't really mean anything outside your dojo -- and by that I mean not only that the rank has no intrinsic meaning, but also that nobody cares :-D

Ketsan
03-31-2011, 07:09 PM
Hi, everyone

I new to the forum, and aikido. I just started my aikido training. My question is how long does it take on average to move up belt colors/ranking? example: white to orange and then orange to blue? Thanks for any input.

How long is a belt?

graham christian
03-31-2011, 07:31 PM
It's nothing to do with time.

Regards.G.

harveyr4
03-31-2011, 10:03 PM
Thanks guys for the info. I know that ranking doesn't mean alot, but I was just wondering.

Eva Antonia
04-01-2011, 03:00 AM
Hello,

if you go to the website of the (francophone) Belgian aikido association (www.aikido.be), you'll find a sentence that "shodan can be awarded at minimum 4 - 5 years after start of training". Wisely, they don't indicate a maximum.

In fact, I know no one who made shodan in 4 - 5 years in Belgium. I know one supertalent who became ikkyu in 4 years, but most people I know are something like nikyu after 6 years, ikkyu after 8 years etc...

If I understand the issue well, it's also a question of teachers' reputation. If they promote too quickly and afterwards we go to a seminar with a beautiful belt two colours too high for our real level and perform accordingly, that's a disgrace to the teacher, too. So they generally prefer to be on the safe side and promote only when you really merit it.

But I've been to other countries where exams cost a lot of money and pupils are obliged to do two gradings per year. So I'm sankyu after 4 years and I spar with a two years training- sankyu from that place, expecting he'd be much less proficient, but to my big surprise that's not the case. This happened more than once.

So there are three explanations:
1) slow learning people are discouraged in the pay-for-grading system; teachers grade only those who really merit ranking, and those who fail successively go away from aikido. So they are left with the geniuses...
2) Myself and lots of Belgians learn slower than people in other countries.
3) My observations are not valid.

Obviously, training frequency is also a factor, you come once per week or you come four times per week - that makes also a huge difference. But the comparison was for people who train regularly, like myself.

Have a nice day all of you!

Eva

mrlizard123
04-01-2011, 06:50 AM
In terms of progression you're best served by frequent and regular practice. Train once a week for 2 years or twice a week for 1 year and I don't think you'll get the same results. It's not just about "time" it's a combination of "mat time" and regular frequency.

Train as many times as is feasible for you to do and keep it up, progression will come.

If someone were to hand you a black belt and call you Shodan, would your aikido change? Just concern yourself with improvement and strive to learn and the grades can pass by like milestones.

Gradings are nice and fun, I think they can help provide some focus in training but ultimately it's what you do and not what rank you are labelled with that matters.

SteliosPapadakis
04-01-2011, 07:24 AM
The speed at which you move up in ranking doesn't really mean anything outside your dojo -- and by that I mean not only that the rank has no intrinsic meaning, but also that nobody cares :-D

Excellent Mary.
:)

lbb
04-01-2011, 09:28 AM
How long is a belt?

Twice the distance from the middle to either end. Duh.

phitruong
04-01-2011, 09:33 AM
How long is a belt?

some folks like belt. others like whip. oh wait! we talked about martial arts, right? nevermind! i was thinking about the other arts. :D

ninjaqutie
04-01-2011, 10:55 AM
Twice the distance from the middle to either end. Duh.

What a fabulous definition! I shall put that one to memory. :D

matty_mojo911
04-13-2011, 10:38 PM
This isn't really related to this thread but I find it very interesting to observe the different skill levels of shodans - of all styles.

We have a term "MacDojo." And this is a dojo that gives away belts. Be wary of these.

Overall, over the years, there has generally been a dumbing down of the rank of shodan. Despite best of intentions this has come about through "required" hours for each belt, payments for gradings, and trying to keep students interest by promoting them regularly.

My Aikdo Dojo had no such hours required, or similar. It was upto the Sensei to promote when they thought the person was ready. this was generally when they were already at the rank, and perhaps a bit beyond. Thus standards were maintained.

For example in BJJ ranks are dreadfully hard to get. It is not uncommon for it to take 2 - 3 years to get your first coloured belt. And generally the thought of reaching Black Belt is seen as something just about unatainable, seriously I've been training 7 years in BJJ - am a Purple Belt and I don't think I'll ever get a Black Belt - how many styles have that! Yet BJJ is massive, with huge student numbers.

Strangely enough at our BJJ club if I was to ask the 100 or so students (white/blue belts) were they going to get a Black Belt? I would say with absolute surety that nobody would raise their hand.!!!!! But yet there are 100 students sitting there training their butts off.

Perhaps it is because of the respect the ranks are held in, and that they have well and truely proved themselves before getting the rank.

I've seen many, truely terrible Aikido shodans, I've never seen a BJJ Black Belt who wasn't massively skilled, and respected. Why?

grondahl
04-14-2011, 12:45 AM
I've seen many, truely terrible Aikido shodans, I've never seen a BJJ Black Belt who wasn't massively skilled, and respected. Why?

Because an aikido shodan and the blackbelt in BJJ represents very, very different things. In my view aikido shodan is more like blue belt (and yondan = black, the last rank awarded for technical development).

Gorgeous George
04-14-2011, 02:33 AM
This isn't really related to this thread but I find it very interesting to observe the different skill levels of shodans - of all styles.

We have a term "MacDojo." And this is a dojo that gives away belts. Be wary of these.

Overall, over the years, there has generally been a dumbing down of the rank of shodan. Despite best of intentions this has come about through "required" hours for each belt, payments for gradings, and trying to keep students interest by promoting them regularly.

My Aikdo Dojo had no such hours required, or similar. It was upto the Sensei to promote when they thought the person was ready. this was generally when they were already at the rank, and perhaps a bit beyond. Thus standards were maintained.

For example in BJJ ranks are dreadfully hard to get. It is not uncommon for it to take 2 - 3 years to get your first coloured belt. And generally the thought of reaching Black Belt is seen as something just about unatainable, seriously I've been training 7 years in BJJ - am a Purple Belt and I don't think I'll ever get a Black Belt - how many styles have that! Yet BJJ is massive, with huge student numbers.

Strangely enough at our BJJ club if I was to ask the 100 or so students (white/blue belts) were they going to get a Black Belt? I would say with absolute surety that nobody would raise their hand.!!!!! But yet there are 100 students sitting there training their butts off.

Perhaps it is because of the respect the ranks are held in, and that they have well and truely proved themselves before getting the rank.

I've seen many, truely terrible Aikido shodans, I've never seen a BJJ Black Belt who wasn't massively skilled, and respected. Why?

I think that within aikido, there are different standards required of a shodan depending on the organisation. A kyu grade in one organisation can be a more rounded practitioner than a shodan in another, because the organisation is committed to maintaining a high standard in its black belts.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-14-2011, 04:07 AM
Overall, over the years, there has generally been a dumbing down of the rank of shodan.

Well, not really.

Shodan is (or at least was) in JMA a beginners rank.

How it came to be considered as an advanced rank is most because (IMO) the mcdojoization of martial arts.

Dave Forde
04-14-2011, 05:13 AM
This isn't really related to this thread but I find it very interesting to observe the different skill levels of shodans - of all styles.

We have a term "MacDojo." And this is a dojo that gives away belts. Be wary of these.

Overall, over the years, there has generally been a dumbing down of the rank of shodan. Despite best of intentions this has come about through "required" hours for each belt, payments for gradings, and trying to keep students interest by promoting them regularly.

My Aikdo Dojo had no such hours required, or similar. It was upto the Sensei to promote when they thought the person was ready. this was generally when they were already at the rank, and perhaps a bit beyond. Thus standards were maintained.

For example in BJJ ranks are dreadfully hard to get. It is not uncommon for it to take 2 - 3 years to get your first coloured belt. And generally the thought of reaching Black Belt is seen as something just about unatainable, seriously I've been training 7 years in BJJ - am a Purple Belt and I don't think I'll ever get a Black Belt - how many styles have that! Yet BJJ is massive, with huge student numbers.

Strangely enough at our BJJ club if I was to ask the 100 or so students (white/blue belts) were they going to get a Black Belt? I would say with absolute surety that nobody would raise their hand.!!!!! But yet there are 100 students sitting there training their butts off.

Perhaps it is because of the respect the ranks are held in, and that they have well and truely proved themselves before getting the rank.

I've seen many, truely terrible Aikido shodans, I've never seen a BJJ Black Belt who wasn't massively skilled, and respected. Why?
the above post is how exactly I feel about my own aikido practise. I watch my own instructor and I honestly don't think I will have attained his level for quite a while yet. I am training pretty religiously twice a week for almost 5 years now and I still think myself that I am nowhere near shodan level. my present rank within our dojo is 4th kyu (a year and a half ago). I suppose everyone compares their level to that of their teacher so therefore opinions on what is a shodan level varies somewhat. my teacher when he awarded the grade simply said you can now protect yourself to that level which I thought was a nice way to put it. I began my practise with no notion in my head as to when I would reach black belt and now it concerns me even less. what I want to achieve is a level of effectiveness that gives me the confidence to walk onto the mat with anyone(of any discipline) and be able hopefully to walk off it in one piece. I know that could take me my lifetime and that is what keeps me coming back. after that it matters not a jot to me what colour belt holds up my trousers.

amoeba
04-14-2011, 05:55 AM
I don't know if it's such a good thing to wait too long, either. It gives kind of a "mystic aura" to the black belt that seems a little strange to me. I mean, I don't say you should get your shodan after two or three years, as I think is actually done in japan?

But it should show that you've understood the basic technical movements. No more and no less. I've also seen a lot of bad black belts that had problems with basic stuff, that's not good.

BTW, I did my shodan after a little less than six years and I don't think I did it too badly, nor do I feel unskilled compared to others of the same grade. I think for me it was the right time. And yes, in our dojo, our teacher also decides, there's no such thing as minimum training hours or whatever... and we do the grading in another dojo in Sweden that has quite high standards.

lbb
04-14-2011, 07:20 AM
I don't know if it's such a good thing to wait too long, either. It gives kind of a "mystic aura" to the black belt that seems a little strange to me.

True, but this isn't a problem if the black belt isn't your goal -- and even if it is, you can choose to let this go.

Marc Abrams
04-14-2011, 09:31 AM
If you go to the local, martial arts supply store, it only takes a couple of minutes and some cash to get a different color belt. If you are interested in learning, then dedicate yourself to sincere training. Let the color of the belts, rank and time frames be the concern of other people. Too much time is taken away from focusing in on your real training if you need to concern yourself with trivial matters.

Marc Abrams

Keith Larman
04-14-2011, 10:16 AM
FWIW, obviously folk here on these forums hear this question a lot. The honest answer is that it varies by student, teacher, school, style, and on and on. Some go fast, others go slowly. For a variety of reasons my very first test seemed to take forever (I even had yudansha asking me why I was still wearing the white belt). But then it seemed like I flew through the kyu ranks (Two of my promotions pushed me up 2 ranks so I guess that was due to testing later than I should? Don't really know.)

The reality is that if you are going to do this long term and really study the art, well, you're going to hit a point where the whole ranking thing becomes basically a memory more than anything else. In our group we stop testing at Sandan and I realize as I type this my memories of that test are really fading. When was that? Man, so much life has happened in between... I do remember one thing I screwed up. I remember something else where I laughed partway through my test realizing suddenly, as I was doing a technique, that this was my last formal test ever in this style. From that point on I relaxed a bit more and enjoyed the rest of my test oddly enough.

Anyway, don't worry, it is a normal question and quite common. In truth the answer to the question asked varies considerably so there's no good answer for the direct question. And as others have pointed out hopefully if you stick around long enough you'll find that the question wasn't really all that important anyway...

Best of luck.

amoeba
04-15-2011, 04:38 AM
I think it's not so bad for the people who wait so long themselves, but it does create kind of an imbalance. Like when there's one dojo that tends to take very long before gradings, people from other places feel bad compared to them. Like - "I cannot grade before XY has, he/she is so much better than me!"

I had the same kind of situation with a few young guys from sweden. But then I decided - what the hell, it's hardly my fault that those people only go for shodan when they are at least nidan level!

Still, I don't think that's the right way either. People should grade when they're ready for it. Most definitely not before, but not much later, either...

Dave Forde
04-15-2011, 05:36 AM
The thing with aikido and grades is that there is such a variance in what is considered shodan level from my own limited experience. I have downloaded various lists of requirements for all gradings and what strikes me is the sheer volume of techniques required even at low kyu level. I would think myself that very few 5-3 kyu students would be able to really apply that many techniques with true aiki but then again that might just be me and my slow learning curve :). I myself still cannot apply many techniques consistently with what I would term true martial efficiency i.e leaving no opening not pushing or pulling etc. I can do the mechanics but that imo is not mastering the technique. is it a case that until 1st kyu/shodan level a student is really not expected to perform true aikido but more learn the names and the external mechanics of all the various techniques?
speaking personally and just as a novice I would prefer to be graded on my ability to grasp the essence of moving from my centre, keeping my balance, not manipulating uke not needing to muscle the technique etc. I am coming to the conclusion that there is really only one 'technique' as such and all the other stuff is just sort of wrapping. you can do what you like with hands and even feet but if the four quarters aren't acting in unison and connected to the centre it's not going to work on a resisting partner.
by the way for my own 4th kyu test I was simply put out on the mat with four ukes for a 10-12 minute multiple attack and my teacher said you moved and protected yourself to 4th kyu level. he puts very little emphasis on actual technique as he reckons- from what I have gathered- that technique while useful for training is not so useful in a real situation involving multiple attackers. he says your only hope is to move decisively with real intent. lots of irimi tenkan and tai sabaki. the technique will happen if you get that first part right.
I think I may have drifted off topic slightly so I'll leave it at that. this is a very interesting thread I enjoy reading the different takes on the ranking/grading it shows me what a diverse art aikido is.

Phil Van Treese
04-15-2011, 02:50 PM
Rank doesn't take time-----it takes knowledge. The knowledge you have should back up the rank you have. Don't worry about rank---worry about grasping all the knowledge you can. Then rank won't matter.

matty_mojo911
04-20-2011, 10:44 PM
I have downloaded various lists of requirements for all gradings and what strikes me is the sheer volume of techniques required even at low kyu level. I would think myself that very few 5-3 kyu students would be able to really apply that many techniques with true aiki but then again that might just be me and my slow learning curve .

We must always remember that Aikido is a martial art, that means it has a martial aspect and an art aspect. Over time art develops, more and more techniques develop - think of that as the art side. There is nothing wrong with it, it is a natural evolution.

And then there is the martial side - and of course that is different again. Not every piece of the art, can be used in the martial sense.
Bruce Lee once said that when you geta in a fight you generally revert to about 6 techniques, next time you do, or watch someone else do, Randori (free form) you will see how true this is.

Martial Art - two things.

Zoe S Toth
04-21-2011, 02:46 PM
I would think myself that very few 5-3 kyu students would be able to really apply that many techniques with true aiki but then again that might just be me and my slow learning curve :).

From my understanding the kyu ranks aren't about being able to perform real aikido- they are about proving you are a serious student & learning the basic motions/ defenses against the techniques. Personally, I kind of view them as some bizarre combination between a vocab. test and an in class project demonstration.

We are doing testing right now at our dojo (lovely time minus all the seiza sitting of course) and it was interesting to see how many gokyu ranked students had trouble recalling the japanese. At the same time, I did notice that a lot of the students who had been preparing for the test got techniques they had been worried about; most of them ended up smiling when they realized that their work had actually given them quite a boost.

tim evans
04-21-2011, 07:10 PM
I have been in aikido for over 2 years tested only once for 5th kyu and may try for 4th in june I would rather train than worry about belt color

Dave Forde
04-22-2011, 03:02 AM
I have been in aikido for over 2 years tested only once for 5th kyu and may try for 4th in june I would rather train than worry about belt color
I am with you 100% on that Tim. grading is the last thing I think about. actually managing to land just one single committed attack on my instructor during randori without being left wondering what the hell just happened would do me for now. :)