Re: Shodan is another start of Aikido?
Great points! My sensei mentioned that many people quit after achieving shodan, but he considers it the beginning. The kanji for shodan (初段）means "first step". It signifies that we have become real students. It also means a big increase in responsibility, both to ourselves and others around us.
It is similar to becoming an adult at 18 or getting a driver's license at 16 (20 and 18 in Japan, of course). Are they really mature adults or expert drivers? No, but society recognizes them as beginning the journey to maturity and responsibility.
We should be proud of our past achievements, but also prepare ourselves for future challenges. Hope you're enjoying it as much as I am!