I really enjoyed Adam's first post in reply to Kaylas original Qx. And ... I laughed out loud for some reason at Janet's response about the 2 years. I wonder if Kayla ever got her answer from her sensei?
After training all this time in all these places because of life-moves, I'm in firm alignment with George's perspective, especially on well-run and established training facilities, not just the promotion-based money machines (only really see those in the Korean art places, TKD, Tang Soo Do, etc. Good traditional arts when practiced "traditionally," but seem to be easily convertible to black belt factories for the low, low price of $150/month plus the costs of your uniform, sparring gear, and accessories "All of which we sell right here for your convenience!").
In the good aikido/judo schools where I've trained, Teacher promotes Student to the rank which Teacher feels will not embarrass Teacher when Teachers colleagues, or Teacher's own Teacher(s) (*gasp*) show up. So, it is relative in the community in which one trains. An exception to this is probably judo, which has some pretty decent benchmarks to keep ranking standards sort of universal, though people in one part of the country don't always seem to equal to people other places, but that might be individual, too.
As Adam said, "most" organizations use the model for rank he described, which I'd modify to say most non-Tomiki organizations. The promotion structure in the Tomiki aikido schools I've been associated with and about which I've learned (through this forum and online) follows those judo thoughts pretty close (if not the judo timelines anymore). But goes from 5th kyu (sometimes 6th) down to ikkyu, then shodan and up to whatever dan grade the person reaches.
The concept of the shodan in Tomiki aikido seems to be one of, "OK, you've got the basic toolkit , so you are ready to actually learn this stuff. Now it gets challenging, because we are going to expect you to both understand and use it without thought."" Sort of like the concept of the proficiency Adam described above at the 5-7 year point, which I would draw a parallel to the sandan level in Tomiki, which is "internalization." If someone comes to class (2 hrs/class) for 3x/week, they can get what we call the basics and receive their 1st degree in a year and a half, but it almost always seems to take at least 2 years, since life gets in people's way all the time. And, people sometimes go backwards in training, or fall in the kitchen and twist a knee, whatever. But, you see the point, one organizations rank is literally different, while sounding the same, as the others.
is that a homonym? Right, homonym. Shodan vs. shodan. Well, sort of.