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Sam
03-14-2001, 06:01 AM
This question comes from somebody commenting to me that aikido is famous for how easy it is to obtain first dan.

I personally don't think it is true, but that person had being doing judo for sixteen years and was only a first kyu.

I know that everybody has different syllabi (pl?) for their shodan grading, but I would like to ask what you believe to be the minimum requirement in terms of experience or time before a person is awarded first dan?

It took me six years to get to first dan, but I was at university for that time and went training every day instead of going to my lectures.

andrew
03-14-2001, 06:29 AM
It really depends on where you are. I've seen people acheive shodan after a grading which convinced me that their conduct at previous training was all that was being taken into account (They did technique for fifteen minutes..). I've seen a guy promoted to shodan without actually doing any grading. (?!?)
However, in some places they're much tougher. I imagine Yoshinkan gradings are quite strict, because I know they have a live tanto-waza for shodan. Ditto for France, where I am unsure of the full story, but there's two or three large dan gradings in the country every year, and that's it. The grading panel are strict, and I'm told a single attack that's less than totally comitted results in failure, for instance. There's some more on that(French gradings) in an interview with Christian Tissier on http://www.aikidofaq.com.
I think shodan is regarded as more of a minor thing in some aikido schools than in other martial arts, though. As a 5th dan said on this forum once(More or less)- Nobody minds if your shodans can't look after themselves too well, but if your sandans can't handle themselves you'll look like an idiot.

Most Aikido shodan aren't going to be used to resisting partners, or able to deal with this easily. It'd be typical of many judoka I've met to dismiss an entire art because they met somebody they felt they could throw about a bit. (And obviously not typical of others..)
andrew

TheProdigy
03-14-2001, 06:36 AM
Hey, well.. for lack of a more concrete answer, I'd say about 5yrs minimum to reach 1st dan. Although, it varies alot, and I'd say 5yrs would be the fastest you could get it in my dojo. And chances are that if you did get it this quick, it would be because you were already proficient in another art and as such picked up aikido that much quicker. I know of one person who was at blue belt for 5yrs alone... she's now a very capable 1st dan (performs like a 2nd dan as I'm told... and really as uke its understandable why).

Oh yea, by the way.. I'm in the kokikai style.

To me, it's not about the time or the rank, but rather the harmony you achieve with yourself. This harmony is my goal, but thats just me.

-Jase

[Edited by TheProdigy on March 14, 2001 at 05:47am]

Greg Jennings
03-14-2001, 08:42 AM
Sam wrote:
This question comes from somebody commenting to me that aikido is famous for how easy it is to obtain first dan.

I personally don't think it is true, but that person had being doing judo for sixteen years and was only a first kyu.

I know that everybody has different syllabi (pl?) for their shodan grading, but I would like to ask what you believe to be the minimum requirement in terms of experience or time before a person is awarded first dan?

It took me six years to get to first dan, but I was at university for that time and went training every day instead of going to my lectures.

I've heard periods ranging from two to ten years with about five or so years being the average.

Everyone is always complaining to me about how difficult Aikido is and how long it takes to become yudansha.

FWIW, YMMV,

Gerardo A Torres
03-14-2001, 09:05 AM
I say 5 years is the average. You could meet the requirements to test for shodan in 3 years, but I don't think the basics and ukemi would be very solid yet. Got to have very good ukemi at shodan level, and that's what takes time. Anybody could learn the movements and pass a test, but taking advance ukemi takes time to learn. So I think 5-7 years is appropriate time.

I've seen shodans whose technical level are varied. Some are very good some are not very good (technically). However, I, nor anybody could tell what level of mental/spiritual balance/transformation the student has achieve.

I think it is more difficult to get a shodan in Aikido (at least Aikikai, for what I know)than most martial arts. That's what I've heard, maybe you've heard differently.

Ray Kissane
03-17-2001, 08:50 PM
It really depends on the style. In my style of Nihon Goshin Aikido we are a more combative style. It takes about 4- 6 years depending on the individual. The test for DAN will last anywhere from 9 months to 1 1/2 years to complete. This is a test on all of the classical techniques and applicantions plus KI techniques. Written test on first aid and a written test about Aikido. The final part of the test is to do a defense line that will incorporate a 100 single person attacks, empty and non-empty handed and then an additional 20 mutiple attacks with 2 to 3 attackers,and handgun defenses.

I have seen some people who make Shodan that are not the best practioners of the style. That is ok as long as they are trying there best and they put in the time and work to get to that rank. We have to remember that not everyone is able to preform at the same level due to age, phyisical ablities. What is important is that when they teach they put out correct information and show the students respect also.

dainippon99
03-17-2001, 10:41 PM
Since tomiki aikido (the style i practice) is so scientific, it takes about 3 to four years to get a black belt. So thats my input. ;)

DiNalt
03-17-2001, 11:28 PM
It takes me about 3-4 days to get a black belt through my style which is called UPS Ground Shipping.

Cheers.

lt-rentaroo
03-17-2001, 11:52 PM
Hello,

Dinalt, I recommend next day shipping, it costs a little more but you get your belts faster :)

On a more serious note, It seems that most Aikido students who attend class regularly and dedicate themselves to learning the art seem to earn their Shodan in about five or six years. Of course, I know of someone who earned their Shodan in about two years (and it shows). Pesonally, rank is not that important to me (what good is it for really?) Sure, the scrolls look nice in a frame and you can say "I'm a Shodan or Nidan", etc. However, rank doesn't mean that you are proficient in the art. Of course rank does imply a certain degree of proficiency, especially to those who do not study the martial arts. For example, if you tell someone you are a blackbelt they will most likely formulate the opinion that you are an expert and can kick anyones butt. Perhaps this is a result of movies and the media.

On a side note, I work with someone who studies Judo very regularly and has even competed on a national level. I asked him how the ranking system in his dojo is constructed. He told me that in his dojo rank is achieved by accumulating points through competition. If the individual who was a 1st Kyu for sixteen years also belonged to such an organization perhaps he / she did not compete that often or was not successful enough during the competition. Just something to think about.

Matt Banks
03-18-2001, 06:36 AM
The lenght of time required for a shodan varies soooo much. Ive heard of shodan being obtained in judo in a year in japan. The same is true with aikido. By the same token ive heard of people train for 4 years and have only got to 5th kyu.

For the style I train in it takes about 4 years of training at least 3 times a week, to get a shodan. Sometimes alot more. What are the requirements? Well the person grading you can quiz you on any of the tecniques in the grading syllabus, you have to then perform various jiu waza's,and then you have to perform certain jo kata. Then you have to perform a live tanto jiuwaza (any attack). The standard of tecnique required is high. All tecniques have to be crisp. One sensei described it as the diffrence between dvd and vhs?


Matt Banks