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03-05-2001, 03:01 PM
Hello everyone,
Question for you.
In your Dojo, how frequently do you see students advancing in Kyu?
Of course, this depends largely on student ability and time in, but usually there is a "average" time from kyu tests.
What is yours per say?
From white to next, and so on.
-Thank you,
Warm Regards,

03-05-2001, 04:25 PM
My friend and I started practicing in september 1999. We practice 3 times a week there, and once a week at Tomiki. Since then we have seen one kyu being graded in our club. It was three weeks ago... it wasn't us. :p

03-05-2001, 04:52 PM
I practice with Florida Aikikai with Peter Bernath. We have kyu testings about every 3-4 months, basically whenever there is a seminar. Then who ever is ready to tests will test. In my dojo being "ready" to test is more than having your time in. It is also being at that level of skill our sensei expects us to be.

If you want to know about what we are tested on and what the official "time" is check out: http://www.floridaaikikai.com

For me to pass my first test (5th kyu) it took me 8 months of practice time. Right now, I have my time in for 4th but I still feel I need a couple more months of practice. Basically thats another 8 months, for me. I know people in my dojo who waited a year for 4th kyu.

Anne Marie.

03-05-2001, 06:02 PM
In my organization, testing is usually only done at summer camp or seminars, so not very often... I had a discussion with my dojo-cho regarding tests, when he told me, "In our organization, if we say we want you to test, it means you've already passed. You've passed the test by being in class and giving good effort. All we ask for is a demonstration to see which belt we give you."

Or something to that effect, it's been a few months...

as for the tests, they start with vocab and history, than the 15/50 basics (depending on what you're testing for) than "optionals", E.G. Shomenuchi any defense, any attack kokyunage, etc... than jo kata and randori until you (literally) fall over from exhaustion.... it's an experience... though I'm not necessarily sad it's over ;).


03-05-2001, 07:40 PM
Aikidoka2000 wrote:
Hello everyone,
Question for you.
In your Dojo, how frequently do you see students advancing in Kyu?
Of course, this depends largely on student ability and time in, but usually there is a "average" time from kyu tests.
What is yours per say?
From white to next, and so on.
-Thank you,
Warm Regards,

We just had testing for 6th Kyu in our dojo. It was only two of us and we both passed as expected,(thanks, no applause please:D) since our sensei likely wouldn't have sprung the test on us if she didn't feel we were ready, and I think she already tested us without our knowing. ;) It usually takes about 6 to 7 months for 6th Kyu. I imagine it will take at least a year before I'm ready for 5th Kyu.

03-06-2001, 02:59 AM
In my dojo (Renbukan dojo, Thailand), the kyu test is held every 2 month. Of course, this doesn't mean anyone is requried to take the test when it comes. The test is a voluntary basis. One can take the these whenever he/she feels ready. I myself has been trainig Aikido for 4 months and haven't gone to any test yet because I don't feel ready. My sensei ususally says that "You don't have to rush, just take the time and make sure you understand the techniques enough before start taking the test."

I don't know when I'll have my first kyu test. Perhaps in this April. But the normal students in our dojo usually spend 4 months for 9th kyu and 4-5 years for 1st dan.

Matt Banks
03-06-2001, 03:28 AM
Hi there,

For us 8th kyu(white) to 4th kyu (orange) between each one there is a 3 month gap between each test. But from 4th kyu onwards there is a 6 month gap between your kyu test. From 1st kyu to shodan there is minimum 1 year gap till your shodan test, as youve gotta do live knife jiuwaza etc.

Matt Banks

03-06-2001, 04:21 AM
Third, second and first kyu plus dan gradings are only done twice a year - on the eastercamp with our Shihan from Japan and during the fall when we have a national seminar where all danish aikikai-clubs are present.

Gradings from 6th kyu to 4th kyu are done in the clubs - in our dojo usually two or three times a year, depending on needs. I myself have been a 5. kyu for a couple of years, since I haven't had time to practice very much and because I had a break from Aikido for a while. I might go for 4th next time we have a grading though.

Usually I believe that people stay at each kyu-level for about half a year until about 4. kyu. From there they usually stay for a year at each level.
Most of the time it all adds up to about six or seven years of practice before Shodan is reached.

03-09-2001, 10:05 AM
hi, in the dojo i train at, about every 3-4 months my sensei's sensei,
will come in for a special session. during which he will conduct tests.
usually about a month before we will be asked for whoever wants to
test, we have a list of requirements for each level. if sensei doesn't
feel like we are ready for testing he will tell us.

Nick P.
03-09-2001, 12:21 PM
Just like the other Nick said, when you are asked/told to prepare for a rank, you are allready there, and the time between then and the test is a "polishing of technic" (that I seem to forget when needed!).

An interesting point; we also usually test at our spring and fall retreats to a summer camp in the countryside, and we dont usually test untill having doubled the minimum days/classes between tests. As my sensei said 1)thats how we was tested 2)you know you are there!

This year was an exception. 2 ikkyu tests were given last week (not at a retreat), and those were in preparation for their shodan tests this summer/fall, as we will be receiving a number of people from our parent dojo in Japan (sandan+)...to test a number of us for shodan. My sensei is nidan, and therefore cannot test anyone for shodan himself.

03-09-2001, 02:22 PM
Our dojo conforms to the test and rank requirements of the USAF. That said, a general rule is that one cannot take two tests within a year of each other, with the exception of 5th to 4th kyu. We seem to offer testing about every six months or so right now.

03-09-2001, 03:19 PM
BC wrote:
That said, a general rule is that one cannot take two tests within a year of each other, with the exception of 5th to 4th kyu.
Wow -- if I remember correcly, I took four kyu tests in the span of nine months when I first started...

(No, I wasn't training at a USAF affiliated dojo...)

At our dojo, people sign up to test for kyu ranks. I believe the kyu tests occur about every four months or so with the 5th, 4th, and 3rd kyu tests happening on a different evening (and with a different examiner) than the 2nd and 1st kyu tests.

We don't have sign-up sheets for dan exams, though. Our head instructor basically just tells you if/when you're testing -- and being 1st kyu isn't something that's always necessary. Some people get told a while in advance (a couple of months) that they'll be taking a dan grade testing, while others may receive 24 hours' notice...

-- Jun

03-09-2001, 05:48 PM
Typically we test every 6 months . Though people usually train a year to test. Of course if sensei tells you to test you test. Shodan test typicaly people test after a year to year and half .

George S. Ledyard
03-09-2001, 06:52 PM
Aikidoka2000 wrote:
Hello everyone,
Question for you.
In your Dojo, how frequently do you see students advancing in Kyu?
Of course, this depends largely on student ability and time in, but usually there is a "average" time from kyu tests.
What is yours per say?
From white to next, and so on.
-Thank you,
Warm Regards,

The Aikido Schools of Ueshiba uses the following standard:

Rokyu (30 hours/3 months)
Gokyu (60 hours/4 months)
Yonkyu (60 hours/4 months)
Sankyu (70 hours/4 months)
Nikyu (80 hours/6 months)
Ikkyu (90 hours/6 months)
Shodan is minimum 1 year after attaining 1st Kyu

Think of hours as "class days" rather than real hours. So these time frames are based on someone training just over 3 times per week.

Kai Zimmermann
03-10-2001, 06:07 AM
Hi there... Thought I might de-lurk after all and post my first message here...

Because yesterday I took my first grading. I'm here in Cardiff as an exchange student from Germany and am going to leave again in two weeks after having trained with the club here for near six months. Kyu gradings are done usually every six months or so, plus on summerschool; unfortunately I would not have been able to grade undere these circumstances (came too late, went too early...).
However, when someone told our sensei I would be gone shortly, he waited till I had left the changing room to get on the mats and then said to the others present, "Right, let's grade him."
So in the middle of the training we were told to form a line and I was asked to get up, etc and so on.

So now I'm 5th kyu.

And so much to learn...

Yours etc,


03-14-2001, 02:03 AM
Please excuse me if this is off-topic. I am aware that some organizations and/or dojos award colored belts after passing an exam. From all I have read so far, this seems a bit odd or strange to me. I think I understand why they exist. I don't understand why it should matter. Perhaps there are considerations I am unaware of. Thank you for any replies.

03-14-2001, 02:27 AM
This is a good point, although i think kyu grades were initially introcuced to benifit us(western aikidoka).To gove us an idea of progress etc. and to encourage us into the art initially.the fact is though once we begin regular practice and start to advance up theses grades we realise their non-importance.Good point though.

03-14-2001, 08:40 AM
CraigJamieson wrote:
This is a good point, although i think kyu grades were initially introcuced to benifit us(western aikidoka).
The color belt system was not developed for "Western minds" but was introduced in Japan by Jigoro Kano.

The rec.martial-arts FAQ states:

"A brief history of kyu/dan ranking systems and belts, contributed by Steve Gombosi (sog@rainbow.rmii.com), is given below:

"Before Jigoro Kano invented Judo, there was no kyu/dan ranking system. Kano invented it when he awarded "shodan" to two of his senior students (Saito and Tomita) in 1883. Even then, there was no external differentiation between yudansha (dan ranks) and mudansha (those who hadn't yet attained dan ranking). Kano apparently began the custom of having his yudansha wear black obis in 1886. These obis weren't the belts karateka and judoka wear today - Kano hadn't invented the judogi (uniform) yet, and his students were still practicing in kimono. They were the wide obi still worn with formal kimono. In 1907, Kano introduced the modern gi and its modern obi, but he still only used white and black.

"Karateka in Okinawa didn't use any sort of special uniform at all in the old days. The kyu/dan ranking system, and the modern karategi (modified judogi) were first adopted by Funakoshi in an effort to encourage karate's acceptance by the Japanese. He awarded the first "shodan" ranks given in karate to Tokuda, Otsuka, Akiba, Shimizu, Hirose, Gima, and Kasuya on April 10, 1924. The adoption of the kyu/dan system and the adoption of a standard uniform based on the judogi were 2 of the 4 conditions which the Dai-Nippon Butokukai required before recognizing karate as a "real" martial art. If you look at photographs of Okinawan karateka training in the early part of this century, you'll see that they were training in their everyday clothes, or (!) in their underwear.

"Most other arts that have ranking/belt color systems adopted them from the Japanese."

-- Jun

03-15-2001, 01:41 AM
Thank you for your replies. If I may, I have similar questions regarding hakamas. I came across this link---

Here is a short exercpt from it---

Currently, most Aikido dojo do not follow O Sensei's strict policy about wearing the hakama. Its meaning has degenerated from a symbol of traditional virtue to that of a status symbol for yudansha. I have traveled to many dojo in many nations. In many of the places where only the yudansha wear hakama, the yudansha have lost their humility. They think of the hakama as a prize for display, as the visible symbol of their superiority. This type of attitude makes the ceremony of bowing to O Sensei, with which we begin and end each class, a mockery of his memory and his art.
Worse still, in some dojo, women of kyu rank (and only the women) are required to wear hakama, supposedly to preserve their modesty. To me this is insulting and discriminatory to women aikidoka. It is also insulting to male aikidoka, for it assumes a low-mindedness on their part that has no place on the Aikido mat.
To see the hakama put to such petty use saddens me. It may seem a trivial issue to some people, but I remember very well the great importance that O Sensei placed on wearing hakama. I cannot dismiss the significance of this garment, and no one, I think, can dispute the great value of the virtues it symbolizes. In my dojo and its associated schools I encourage all students to wear hakama regardless of their rank or grade. (I do not require it before they have achieved their first grading, since beginners in the United States do not generally have Japanese grandfathers whose hakama they can borrow.) I feel that wearing the hakama and knowing its meaning, helps students to be aware of the spirit of O Sensei and keep alive his vision.
If we can allow the importance of the hakama to fade, perhaps we will begin to allow things fundamental to the spirit of Aikido to slip into oblivion as well. If, on the other hand, we are faithful to O Sensei's wishes regarding our practice dress, our spirits may be more faithful to the dream to which he dedicated his life."
Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, "The Principles Of Aikido"

I feel I have seen some evidence of this and am inclined to agree. Does anyone else hold similar or opposing views? Thank you for your insights.

03-17-2001, 12:24 AM
I believe Daniel asked about colored belts; most of the dojos i've trained in did not use them, but one extremely nice Nihon Goshin (i hope i spelled that correctly) dojo that let me train for a month while i was on temporary assignment to their state did use them. It was explained to me that they were primarily used so visiting seniors from their organization would know what level to expect of the various kyu students (as in 'all white belts otherwise look alike'). Something similar was explained to me when i first joined my present dojo, which uses brown belts (my previous dojo, although the same organization, used only white and black)--that at seminars, the seniors wanted to know which kyu students were of higher rank. As for ego, i've seen it in students of many different ranks, kyu or dan, with or without hakama, and a variety of belt colors. i think those inclined to puff themselves up do it no matter what they or others wear.

03-17-2001, 08:25 AM
Shodokan Aikido Honbu uses coloured belts and because of that so do I.

My main reason is because they do but their reasons make some sense and apply to my very small dojo also.

In a large dojo a teacher can tell at a glance your approximate skill level. The belt are just blue, green, brown and black.

A student, especially a beginner, can tell at a glance the level of his seniors. Some less advanced are far more verbose than their seniors but often do not have the knowledge.

The first belt - usually obtained after the first three months - is a nice mark of becoming a member of the dojo. Before that you are just trying it on and whether you come or go is of no consequence. It is a welcoming gesture.

University and College dojos by the way are just white and black but these guys train everyday. Honbu has many members from the neighbourhood that come once a week or disappear for a time. It is hard to remember who all the faces belong to.