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I was just wondering if anyone could clarify the different rankings in Aikido. Starting with the lowest(white) and how high it goes and in what order. Also, is there a difference between black belts and dans?? In addition to, when is it exactly that one gets his/her hakama? No one has ever really explained that, and I can't seem to find it on the net. Thanks for the info. Train Safe!!
The kyu/dan ranking system used in modern budo was invented by J. Kano Shihan, the man that started Kodokan Judo. There are mudansha (ungraded) and yudansha (graded students also know as "blackbelts")
Different aikido systems use this ranking system in various ways. Some have more kyu classes and others have less (Jiyushinkai starts beginners out at gokyu or 5th kyu and progresses to ikkyu or 1st kyu). The dan ranks go from shodan (1st dan to 10th dan). Some systems stop at hachidan (8th dan), I think and others go to kudan (9th dan) with judan or 10th dan reserved for posthumous award.
Some systems reserve the hakama use for yudansha (women in some of these systems are required to wear hakama as beginners). Other systems treat hakama use differently. For example, in Jiyushinkai you can wear a hakama after yonkyu (4th) promotion if you want. Hakama are worn by all yudansha most of the time. Women and men are treated the same within Jiyushinkai.
This should hold you until you have more questions. Please feel free to email me if you have questions that you can't find answers for or figure out on your own.