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Old 04-14-2011, 10:16 AM   #26
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
United_States
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

FWIW, obviously folk here on these forums hear this question a lot. The honest answer is that it varies by student, teacher, school, style, and on and on. Some go fast, others go slowly. For a variety of reasons my very first test seemed to take forever (I even had yudansha asking me why I was still wearing the white belt). But then it seemed like I flew through the kyu ranks (Two of my promotions pushed me up 2 ranks so I guess that was due to testing later than I should? Don't really know.)

The reality is that if you are going to do this long term and really study the art, well, you're going to hit a point where the whole ranking thing becomes basically a memory more than anything else. In our group we stop testing at Sandan and I realize as I type this my memories of that test are really fading. When was that? Man, so much life has happened in between... I do remember one thing I screwed up. I remember something else where I laughed partway through my test realizing suddenly, as I was doing a technique, that this was my last formal test ever in this style. From that point on I relaxed a bit more and enjoyed the rest of my test oddly enough.

Anyway, don't worry, it is a normal question and quite common. In truth the answer to the question asked varies considerably so there's no good answer for the direct question. And as others have pointed out hopefully if you stick around long enough you'll find that the question wasn't really all that important anyway...

Best of luck.

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Old 04-15-2011, 04:38 AM   #27
amoeba
Dojo: Aikido Netzwerk
Location: Düsseldorf, NRW
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 80
Germany
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

I think it's not so bad for the people who wait so long themselves, but it does create kind of an imbalance. Like when there's one dojo that tends to take very long before gradings, people from other places feel bad compared to them. Like - "I cannot grade before XY has, he/she is so much better than me!"

I had the same kind of situation with a few young guys from sweden. But then I decided - what the hell, it's hardly my fault that those people only go for shodan when they are at least nidan level!

Still, I don't think that's the right way either. People should grade when they're ready for it. Most definitely not before, but not much later, either...
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:36 AM   #28
Dave Forde
Location: Galway
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 12
Ireland
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

The thing with aikido and grades is that there is such a variance in what is considered shodan level from my own limited experience. I have downloaded various lists of requirements for all gradings and what strikes me is the sheer volume of techniques required even at low kyu level. I would think myself that very few 5-3 kyu students would be able to really apply that many techniques with true aiki but then again that might just be me and my slow learning curve . I myself still cannot apply many techniques consistently with what I would term true martial efficiency i.e leaving no opening not pushing or pulling etc. I can do the mechanics but that imo is not mastering the technique. is it a case that until 1st kyu/shodan level a student is really not expected to perform true aikido but more learn the names and the external mechanics of all the various techniques?
speaking personally and just as a novice I would prefer to be graded on my ability to grasp the essence of moving from my centre, keeping my balance, not manipulating uke not needing to muscle the technique etc. I am coming to the conclusion that there is really only one 'technique' as such and all the other stuff is just sort of wrapping. you can do what you like with hands and even feet but if the four quarters aren't acting in unison and connected to the centre it's not going to work on a resisting partner.
by the way for my own 4th kyu test I was simply put out on the mat with four ukes for a 10-12 minute multiple attack and my teacher said you moved and protected yourself to 4th kyu level. he puts very little emphasis on actual technique as he reckons- from what I have gathered- that technique while useful for training is not so useful in a real situation involving multiple attackers. he says your only hope is to move decisively with real intent. lots of irimi tenkan and tai sabaki. the technique will happen if you get that first part right.
I think I may have drifted off topic slightly so I'll leave it at that. this is a very interesting thread I enjoy reading the different takes on the ranking/grading it shows me what a diverse art aikido is.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:50 PM   #29
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
Location: Tampa, Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 176
United_States
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

Rank doesn't take time-----it takes knowledge. The knowledge you have should back up the rank you have. Don't worry about rank---worry about grasping all the knowledge you can. Then rank won't matter.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:44 PM   #30
matty_mojo911
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 38
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

Quote:
Dave Forde wrote: View Post
I have downloaded various lists of requirements for all gradings and what strikes me is the sheer volume of techniques required even at low kyu level. I would think myself that very few 5-3 kyu students would be able to really apply that many techniques with true aiki but then again that might just be me and my slow learning curve .
We must always remember that Aikido is a martial art, that means it has a martial aspect and an art aspect. Over time art develops, more and more techniques develop - think of that as the art side. There is nothing wrong with it, it is a natural evolution.

And then there is the martial side - and of course that is different again. Not every piece of the art, can be used in the martial sense.
Bruce Lee once said that when you geta in a fight you generally revert to about 6 techniques, next time you do, or watch someone else do, Randori (free form) you will see how true this is.

Martial Art - two things.
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:46 PM   #31
Zoe S Toth
Dojo: Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina
Location: Columbia, SC
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 40
United_States
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

Quote:
Dave Forde wrote: View Post
I would think myself that very few 5-3 kyu students would be able to really apply that many techniques with true aiki but then again that might just be me and my slow learning curve .
From my understanding the kyu ranks aren't about being able to perform real aikido- they are about proving you are a serious student & learning the basic motions/ defenses against the techniques. Personally, I kind of view them as some bizarre combination between a vocab. test and an in class project demonstration.

We are doing testing right now at our dojo (lovely time minus all the seiza sitting of course) and it was interesting to see how many gokyu ranked students had trouble recalling the japanese. At the same time, I did notice that a lot of the students who had been preparing for the test got techniques they had been worried about; most of them ended up smiling when they realized that their work had actually given them quite a boost.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:10 PM   #32
tim evans
Location: The lake
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 195
United_States
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

I have been in aikido for over 2 years tested only once for 5th kyu and may try for 4th in june I would rather train than worry about belt color

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:02 AM   #33
Dave Forde
Location: Galway
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 12
Ireland
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Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

Quote:
tim evans wrote: View Post
I have been in aikido for over 2 years tested only once for 5th kyu and may try for 4th in june I would rather train than worry about belt color
I am with you 100% on that Tim. grading is the last thing I think about. actually managing to land just one single committed attack on my instructor during randori without being left wondering what the hell just happened would do me for now.
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