View Full Version : Minimum grade to teach

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Matt Whyte
01-25-2003, 08:09 AM
Hey peoples.
I was wondering, what is the minimum grade to teach? I train in Aikikai Aikido, and I was wondering what grade you have to be before you are allowed to open your own dojo and teach classes.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in Advance


01-25-2003, 10:46 AM
Im Aikikai too. Our sensei is a 6th dan shihan, so he has the faculty to promote someone up to that ranking, and also he can grant permission for someone to become an instructor. I became assistant instructor late past year when I got my nidan rank, but there are exceptions. In the interest of promoting aikido in regions or cities where there are no schools and are too faraway from the main school (In Mexico City) a person without a yudansha (1st or 2nd kyu) but who shows enough commitment and energy in spreading aikido may be appointed head of his/her school and get an early promotion.

Hanna B
01-25-2003, 11:14 AM
There is not a general answer to this question. It is up to your organisation, your teacher and yourself. I know of a person who too over the dojo as a fourth kyu. Well, the instructor left, so the choice was to take over or quit training... Today he is third dan, and the dojo is doing fine.

Michael Braden
01-25-2003, 01:56 PM
I understand that Hombu considers Sandan to be teaching assistant level and Yondan to be a full instructor.

However, as others have said, it is dependant on many circumstances.

My first aikido instructor in Bellingham, WA had trained in Shingu for only 9 months and when he was returning to the United States he asked Hikistuchi (sp?) Sensei who he should train with. He was told that he must teach and was given his Black Belt.

01-25-2003, 02:06 PM
While I agree with Hanna that this is, in general, entirely situation dependent, I have run into some 'rules of thumb.'

I understand that in most of the AiKiKai system, one must be sandan (3rd degree) to be considered an 'instructor.' I'm not sure what this status confers, but in most dojos I've seen teaching a regular class is considered a privilege that comes along with shodan. Maybe a sandan can open their own dojo ... ?

In Seidokan -- where instruction is considered part of the curriculum -- a 1st kyu is considered eligible to teach and a shodan can open a dojo.

But let me emphasize again that these rules are honored more in the breach than in the practice.

Matt Whyte
01-27-2003, 09:06 AM
Thankyou very much everyone for your replys. It has been my dream for the last 2 years to teach Aikido, and pass on the highly valuable knowledge that I have gained, and have yet to gain. I hope one day, I can fulfil this.

Again, thankyou.

Matt Whyte
01-28-2003, 08:19 AM
I was also curious as to where I might find an Aikikai yudansha grading syllabus. I have heard from one or two people, that at the yudansha gradings, there is no set structure. However, there must be some sort of hardcopy of what the examiner expects. Any help on this topic also would be greatfully appreciated. Thankyou

Hanna B
01-28-2003, 01:24 PM
All depending on the examiner... shouldn't your instructors be the ones who know best what applies is your organisation?

Greg Jennings
01-28-2003, 01:40 PM
You do what you've got to do to train.

My advice is to not get involved in running a dojo unless you *absolutely* have to.

Teaching is fulfilling. OTOH, it ties you down. You can't take a night off, you can't take vacation when you want to. Etc. Etc.

Worse, you give up your own training for others' training. You don't get enough reps and you don't get enough critique.


01-29-2003, 06:20 AM
I the dojo I go to, it's usually when you receive shodan, that you can start to teach. However not all yudansha teaches. Our Teachers are: one 5. dan, and three 2. dan (perhaps one of the last is a 3. dan - I'm not sure). Apart from this we have a couple of shodan and a nidan, who dosen't teach. If a teacher is sick, perhaps a 1. or 2. kyu teach instead, but usually it requires a dan-grade.

Matt: go take a look at the following:



(at the last site look at 'Pensum'. It's in danish, but you might get the general idea)

01-29-2003, 06:28 AM

Mr. Jennings has a very good point. If you are the sole instructor at your dojo, your own practice can suffer from lack of critique and such.

One way that you can mitigate that effect is to go to numereous seminar within your organization (if you are trying to work on consistency of technique), or have an arrangement with another dojo where you go to practice and get critiqued. I have also found that video taping classes and critiquing them yourself after class can be extremely revealing!