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Old 02-06-2015, 09:02 PM   #1
ManOfKaya
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Beginner - Confused about ranks?

Hi all,

I'm new here as well as new to aikido and I just have sooo many questions. One question is about the rank system at my dojo. Every student wears a white belt unless they are a black belt. Sensei was speaking about "kyu" yesterday?

A girl in her later teens had passed her 4th kyu test while an older gentleman had passed his 5th kyu test. What exactly is this and at what kyu do they start? Do I have a kyu? I've taken 2 lessons so far.

Thanks in advance for your time in reading this,

Gauthier
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:50 PM   #2
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Beginner - Confused about ranks?

Quote:
Gauthier Delalleau wrote: View Post
Hi all,

I'm new here as well as new to aikido and I just have sooo many questions. One question is about the rank system at my dojo. Every student wears a white belt unless they are a black belt. Sensei was speaking about "kyu" yesterday?

A girl in her later teens had passed her 4th kyu test while an older gentleman had passed his 5th kyu test. What exactly is this and at what kyu do they start? Do I have a kyu? I've taken 2 lessons so far.

Thanks in advance for your time in reading this,

Gauthier
Hi Gauthier

Here is an example of the kyu/dan ranking criteria for the largest of the aikido organisations:

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/information/review.html

You'll see that it starts at 5th kyu and progresses up to 1st kyu after which students can take 1st dan, 2nd dan and so on.

Kyu grades are usually either white belts or there is a system of coloured belts depending on the dojo. Dan grades are black belts and in most cases include the wearing of a hakama.

There is a great deal of variation in how these ranks are applied according to style, lineage and individual dojos.

Carl
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:11 AM   #3
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Beginner - Confused about ranks?

Quote:
Gauthier Delalleau wrote: View Post
Hi all,

I'm new here as well as new to aikido and I just have sooo many questions. One question is about the rank system at my dojo. Every student wears a white belt unless they are a black belt. Sensei was speaking about "kyu" yesterday?

A girl in her later teens had passed her 4th kyu test while an older gentleman had passed his 5th kyu test. What exactly is this and at what kyu do they start? Do I have a kyu? I've taken 2 lessons so far.

Thanks in advance for your time in reading this,

Gauthier
You should ask a senior at your dojo for a student handbook. A good student handbook should contain some organizational information, local dojo information, basic history and lineage, and the rank structure and testing syllabus required for each rank.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:03 PM   #4
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Beginner - Confused about ranks?

Every dojo has their own way of handling rank and belt colors. Some like yours are white or black. Some use a different color for each kyu rank. Shodan and above wear black.In my dojo people start with no rank and their first grading will be for 6th kyu. All students who own a gi, wear a white belt until they test sankyu (3rd kyu), then they wear a brown belt until they reach shodan.The ranking works backward from 9 to 1, but many dojo will start at 6th or 5th for a students first grading. ikkyu or 1st kyu is the last rank before one becomes shodan (1st degree black belt).

There is also a lot of variation on the wearing of hakama. In some dojo no one wears them before they reac shodan. Where I train anyone can begin wearing once once they have had their first grading (6th kyu). In other places women should wear them from day one while men have to wait until they test shodan. In some dojo no one ever wears one.

Lots of variation on these things between dojo. The best person to explain how it works in your dojo would be one of your senpai or your teacher.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:37 PM   #5
JP3
 
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Re: Beginner - Confused about ranks?

To the original poster's question, yes, you have a kyu grade/rank, it simply indicates your level of learning, time in the art, experience and sometimes, ability. The problem is, different Aikido styles have different levels of kyu grades, and different levels are in different arts as well. Shoot, judo has one set for adult students and another one for child students.

If you were in our school, we use the colored belts to indicate different kyu grades, but we don't have many. White, green, brown then black (Tomiki school). But, I've heard of other Tomiki schools inserting a yellow in there between white and green, and if they want to do that, good on them.

My first judo school didn't give out color belts for kyu advancement, you just trained and advanced in the kyu grades until you reached shodan, and were given a black belt. I've found out since that start that is a quite olde-school approach, but it worked fine for them.

Tomiki aikido, in my personal experience, seems to have a different viewpoint on shodan than other styles of aikido, and definitely with other arts. In youth, I was hard-core into taekwondo, and earning the 1st degree black took me 4.5 years, and the similarity in trainng and methodology - to say nothing of similar curriculum - had me to balck belt in 3 years. In Judo, it took 8 years, which was 3 years shorter than it took my buddy in BJJ to get his black belt. By contrast, my Tomiki shodan took less than 2 years.

To different arts/styles, the black belt, as a level of achievement, means different things. It's not comparing apples to apples when you compare one to another.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 02-08-2015, 03:29 PM   #6
lbb
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Re: Beginner - Confused about ranks?

Quote:
John Powell wrote: View Post
To the original poster's question, yes, you have a kyu grade/rank, it simply indicates your level of learning, time in the art, experience and sometimes, ability. The problem is, different Aikido styles have different levels of kyu grades, and different levels are in different arts as well. Shoot, judo has one set for adult students and another one for child students.
This is not true of every style of aikido. In many, students are simply unranked until their first test -- no kyu ranking.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:43 PM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Beginner - Confused about ranks?

Quote:
Gauthier Delalleau wrote: View Post
Hi all,

I'm new here as well as new to aikido and I just have sooo many questions. One question is about the rank system at my dojo. Every student wears a white belt unless they are a black belt. Sensei was speaking about "kyu" yesterday?

A girl in her later teens had passed her 4th kyu test while an older gentleman had passed his 5th kyu test. What exactly is this and at what kyu do they start? Do I have a kyu? I've taken 2 lessons so far.

Thanks in advance for your time in reading this,

Gauthier
Hello. Welcome to aikido and Aikiweb.

This is a discussion forum and so you will receive a variety of answers to your questions -- and so you might well be none the wiser.

Question: "What exactly is this (kyu and kyu tests) and at what kyu do they start?"
Answer: Kyu [級] is a Japanese word meaning level, grade or class. It is used in aikido as a word for grading beginning students.

Usually, the students take a test and if they pass, they are awarded a certificate that indicates what level of kyu they have. In my dojo we have children's classes and the numbering starts at the top and works downwards. So the first grade is 10th kyu. When they get to 5th kyu, they join the adult classes, where the grades start at 5th kyu and go down to 1st kyu.

Everyone takes a test and receives a certificate / diploma. In my dojo, the kyu certificates are issued by the Aikikai and have Doshu's signature, but I think this is not done outside Japan.

For the children's classes we have coloured belts, but when they receive 5th kyu, they wear a white belt until they receive their black belts. A black belt indicates the second system of grading in aikido, the dan ranks [段 or 段位], which are numbered from 1st dan upwards.

Question: "Do I have a kyu? I've taken 2 lessons so far."
Answer: Probably not. In my dojo students are unranked until they receive their first kyu grade. However, there might be dojos where you receive a kyu as soon as you walk in the door. I do not know. The best person to ask is your instructor.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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