Re: The black belt Issue (thoughts)
I have always told my students that to be shodan, you must know and be able to perform all the basic techniques of aikido competently and be able to teach them to others. Prior to that time, you are learning aikido. After that time, you are practicing aikido. That has been my experience. I was learning the basic techniques through practice but after shodan, I began to understand their relationship, flow and connectedness better and I began to practice the art without worrying if I was doing it right or wrong. I began to just train. I still learn and I always practice but ideally, shodan is a line that you cross that says you are knowledgeable and comfortable with the basics of the art and are ready to practice what you know.