Re: Testing requirements kyu levels
Belonging to the Okinawa Aikikai, I can tell you how they interpret the Hombu requirements (as much as I can really see... being a beginner).
The Hombu page say lists 30 days. That's not necessarily one month. That's 30 training days with a training day considered as one hour of dojo time. Say you do three one and a half hour classes a week which is 4 1/2 hours a week which turns into 18 hours a month while is actually approx 7 weeks of decent training for the first belt. If you study less than that, it takes you longer. Say you're going only once or twice a week...its going to be considerably longer. Also, the requirements are the bare minimum. Realistically, you should start to pick up the other things but when they tell you to do irimi nage, you better be able to do it.
Yes, people can become Shodan in 2 years... but it requires dedicated study. Realize, those training days are the minimum. Just because you hit that many days doesn't mean you're even ready! The Hombu lodge actually has an intensive 1 year shodan program.
I think people get too hung up over shodan, from what I've heard... it's only the beginning.