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Old 12-02-2001, 09:24 PM   #1
Edward
Location: Bangkok
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Grading requirements in different schools

Dear All,

I don't know if this issue has been already discussed, but I am curious to know the number of training hours required to be allowed to pass the grading test for a certain level at your schools. My Dojo's table is as follows:

10 Kyu 30 hours
9 kyu 40 hours
8 kyu 40 hours
7 kyu 40 hours
6 kyu 40 hours
5 kyu 60 Days
4 kyu 60 days
3 kyu 60 days
2 kyu 60 days
1 kyu 60 days
Shodan Ho 1 year (minimum 200 days training)
Shodan 1 year ( " " " " )


Shodan Ho is black belt but not allowed to wear a Hakama. Our Shihan considers that wearing a Hakama entails big responsibility towards the correct representation of Aikido, and thus grants Shodan rank only to individuals with high morality and devotion to Aikido.

Hope to read your feedback soon.

Regards,
Edward
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Old 12-02-2001, 09:53 PM   #2
akiy
 
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Here's the time guidelines from Aikikai hombu dojo:

5th kyu: 30 days after joining
4th kyu: 40 days after 5th kyu
3rd kyu: 50 days after 4th kyu
2nd kyu: 50 days after 3rd kyu
1st kyu: 60 days after 2nd kyu
1st dan: 70 days after 1st kyu (>15 years old)
2nd dan: one year after 1st dan (>200 days)
3rd dan: two years after 2nd dan (>300 days)
4th dan: two years after 3rd dan (>300 days)

I've heard it's not uncommon for people who train pretty consistently at Aikikai hombu dojo to reach shodan in less than a year and nidan the year after that.

-- Jun

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Old 12-02-2001, 09:59 PM   #3
Greg Jennings
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Most schools here in the U.S. seem to have 6 kyu grades.

Sometimes one has to test for 6th kyu and sometimes it's the default rank.

We have 6 and the first test is for 5th kyu.

Our time-in-grade requirements are stated in terms of quarters.

I can't remember the exact scale, but it seems like it goes like this:

1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4.

Not that Sensei pays any attention to it.

We're small and he trains with everyone just about every class. When you look like you're going to stick around for the long haul and you feel right to him, he invites you to test. Not meet either criteria and he doesn't invite you. Period, end of story.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 12-02-2001, 10:11 PM   #4
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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AANC Requirements:

5th - 50 days
4th - 60 days
3rd - 80 days
2nd - 100 days
1st - 150 days
shodan - 200 days
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Old 12-02-2001, 11:01 PM   #5
Edward
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Thanks for the information, guys. I really appreciate it. It seems that training at the Hombu Dojo is the fastest way to get graded. This seems curious to me as logically it should be the other way around. Does this mean that training at the Hombu is worth more in terms of experience and progression than other dojos? As a 5 Kyu student, I have practiced over 300 days in the past year. Maybe I should ask Shihan to give me Shodan ;-) (I know his reaction in advance: very painful Ukemi and Nikkyo)
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Old 12-02-2001, 11:12 PM   #6
Young-In Park
Location: Santa Ana, CA
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward

Does this mean that training at the Hombu is worth more in terms of experience and progression than other dojos?
No.

YoungIn Park
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Old 12-03-2001, 01:54 AM   #7
Duarh
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Hmm.

Surprising stuff, that, about Hombu Dojo.

My dojo has 4 months for 6th kyu, 5 months for 5th kyu, etc, with variations, till 10 months for 1st kyu and 1 year for shodan. But that's just 'minimal time'; as I understand, it usually takes longer here. (There's a lot of people with 4th kyu after 3 years)

Duarh
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Old 12-03-2001, 03:15 AM   #8
Creature_of_the_id
 
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Hmmmm... it seems that most other associations have time trained as part of the grading.
we dont, you can grade when you feel you are good enough. if you are profficient enough then you pass... if you are not, you fail.
You cannot chose to grade to shodan, you must be invited by the head of the association who must feel you are proficient enough in all aspects. So many people race up the grades and stay at 1st kyu for a long time. others race up and get to shodan very quickly because they are naturaly talented in the art.
The majority take their time through the kyu grades, but it does have the benifit of not 'holding back' those who are naturally talented and can give a welcome reality check to those who are over confident or boastfull.

I like the idea that we can choose when to grade ourselves through the kyu grades.
it does work out that people generally take similar lengths of time to go from one grade to the next. but I enjoy the freedom it gives people.

Kev
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Old 12-03-2001, 05:28 AM   #9
deepsoup
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
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Here are the minimum times in the Shodokan system:

8th kyu - 20 hours after joining
7th kyu - 20 hours after 8th kyu
6th kyu - 20 hours after 7th kyu
5th kyu - 40 hours after 6th kyu
4th kyu - 40 hours after 5th kyu
3rd kyu - 40 hours after 4th kyu
2nd kyu - 60 hours after 3rd kyu
1st kyu - 60 hours after 2nd kyu
1st dan - 100 hours after 1st kyu

(Although in the UK, the general rule is one year of continuous practice between 1st kyu and Shodan, which equates on average to about 200-300 hours.)

Sean
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Old 12-03-2001, 07:52 AM   #10
Edward
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Quote:
Originally posted by Creature_of_the_id

we dont, you can grade when you feel you are good enough. if you are profficient enough then you pass... if you are not, you fail.
[/b]
I understand that in some schools, if you are allowed to present the exam, you are almost sure to pass it no matter your performance. In others, it is a real exam where your performance decides whether you pass or not.

On the other hand, the grading system in Aikido can be so messy in some cases, that sometimes I see black belts whose technique really sucks, who are afraid to take Ukemi (especially Koshi Nage), and 2nd or 3rd kuys who have excellent technique, have been practicing diligently for several years, and for some reason do not advance in grades....
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Old 12-03-2001, 08:57 AM   #11
bcole23
Dojo: Eagle Rock Aikido, Ammon, ID
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I've noticed that many of the best people who understand the budo of Aikido, lose interest in testing because it means nothing. Don't get me wrong, it's useful (other debate, don't want to get into it here).

If I was a white belt but had the ability of a nidan, would my attacker call foul? "hey, your better than your belt! No fair!"

You should respect all your fellow partners equally. Were just at different points on the road, some are left lane drivers, some are quite content to go the speed limit, and some are out enjoying life.
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Old 12-03-2001, 09:27 AM   #12
Creature_of_the_id
 
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"I've noticed that many of the best people who understand the budo of Aikido, lose interest in testing because it means nothing. Don't get me wrong, it's useful (other debate, don't want to get into it here)."

I agree, my sensei describes this as the "having" and the "being" mentality.
he says that many kyu grades have their belts, they HAVE a green belt etc and look towards changing the colour of their belt, they see it as temporary.
but at shodan and above people become their grade. I AM a black belt, rather than having the belt, in this way people have lost interest in grading.
I have found that many people find it difficult to make the transition between the two mentalities and when they get to shodan they quit because the amount of time between gradings (if at all) becomes much greater. they still have their sights set on the grading and the having, rather than the experiencing and the being.

there are also many people who achieve this during the kyu grades but I think the grading system is there to slowly break people into that concept with larger and larger times between gradings.


but anyway....

Kev
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Old 12-03-2001, 10:33 AM   #13
PeterR
 
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Also an hour usually translates into a day of training - doesn't really matter if it was one hour or four. At Honbu the gradings are held every three months. On occaision there are double gradings but this in unusual and limited to the lower kyu grades. More frequently, especially at higher kyu grades, even with the required time grading is delayed till the next time.

Quote:
Originally posted by deepsoup
Here are the minimum times in the Shodokan system:

8th kyu - 20 hours after joining
7th kyu - 20 hours after 8th kyu
6th kyu - 20 hours after 7th kyu
5th kyu - 40 hours after 6th kyu
4th kyu - 40 hours after 5th kyu
3rd kyu - 40 hours after 4th kyu
2nd kyu - 60 hours after 3rd kyu
1st kyu - 60 hours after 2nd kyu
1st dan - 100 hours after 1st kyu

(Although in the UK, the general rule is one year of continuous practice between 1st kyu and Shodan, which equates on average to about 200-300 hours.)

Sean
x

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-03-2001, 11:31 AM   #14
Rastamon
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it is funny to me to see that in most places rank is decided on time in rather than ability. the reason i bring this up is because i was just attending a 2nd degree blackbelt presentation for <someschool> Aikido on saturday. in this system when one puts in the time required by the school, it matters not weather you can perform a technique correctly and effectively. rank is given when the teacher "decides you are ready" and there is no test of sorts, it is merely a presentation. this was all fine with me until the guy who was recieving his rank attempted to play aikido with his peers in which it was plainly obvious that his technique and stamina rivaled that of a beginner.
i can say that it is a shame to me to see that most people can progress through a system simply by paying their dues on time and showing up to class. as far as learning techniques, that seems to be something taken quite lightly. it seems some schools would rather give rank because you paid for it rather than because you have achieved a certain level of physical and mental conditioning which would allow for a very beautiful and effective form.
it is my opinion that to achieve rank in the martial arts (not just aikido) one should have a certain level of mental and physical conditionig in which the true art can be expressed to all.

Last edited by Rastamon : 12-03-2001 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 12-03-2001, 11:42 AM   #15
PeterR
 
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In the end your Aikido is about you. Doesn't matter about the person next to you. There will always be someone more skilled, faster, stronger, bigger - just as there will always be someone more inept, slower, weaker and smaller.

Nice to compare but so what.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-03-2001, 12:11 PM   #16
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
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Rastamon:
Quote:
it is funny to me to see that in most places rank is decided on time in rather than ability. . . rank is given when the teacher "decides you are ready" and there is no test of sorts, it is merely a presentation.
In many cases, the time one spends training is not the only deciding factor in one's grading (I can't imagine how it could be). One does have to test and show what s/he has learned, and if one is ready after that number of hours, s/he may test, but if s/he is not ready, s/he is not simply given a rank because the sensei has said "hey, you've been around a while--here, have a belt." If someone's sensei has done this, and holds a rank that s/he doesn't deserve yet, it will only serve as an embarassment to him/herself and his/her sensei. I think most often, though that if a sensei invites you to test, you are most likely ready for the next level. Sometimes sensei will give rank as a means of encouragement (which I don't agree with personally, but we won't get into that). But I think that most often, you will find that people (especially those who are not rank-hungry) are generally at or above the level that their belt indicates. It is sad to see rank given to those who don't deserve it, but just know that those who take their time and learn the techniques' subtle details will get much more out of their training, despite what color their belts are.

Arianah
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Old 12-03-2001, 01:03 PM   #17
akiy
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rastamon
it is funny to me to see that in most places rank is decided on time in rather than ability.
I don't think any of us who have given information on the time guidelines have said that the number of hours/days one has trained is the only factor involved in obtaining rank.

And you say "most places." Really?

I have to say that in my limited experience, most dojo have people conduct some sort of test as part of obtaining their rank -- one that they can fail. The dojo where I train has tests from 5th kyu through 4th dan.
Quote:
the reason i bring this up is because i was just attending a 2nd degree blackbelt presentation for <someschool> Aikido on saturday. in this system when one puts in the time required by the school, it matters not weather you can perform a technique correctly and effectively.
Sounds like the exception, not the norm.
Quote:
rank is given when the teacher "decides you are ready" and there is no test of sorts, it is merely a presentation.
I've been to dojo in which the ranking test was more a formality than a real "test." The teacher did, in fact, pretty much say so. Of course, he wouldn't promote someone unless they were ready. I saw one shodan test at one such dojo and, to my eyes, the person showed great aikido.

It sounds like you saw one bad example which sure sounds like the exception and are painting things with a mighty big brush...

-- Jun

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Old 12-03-2001, 03:32 PM   #18
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
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Rank Time

Here in St Louis at AIMA I use the following guidelines for myself and my students:

Rokkyu - 60 hrs minimum
Gokkyu - 60 hrs minimum after Rokkyu
Yonkyu - 80 hrs min. after Gokkyu
Sankyu - 80 hrs min. after Yonkyu
Nikkyu - 120 hrs. min. after Sankyu
Ikkyu - 120 hrs min. after Nikkyu
Shodan - 400 hrs min after Ikkyu
Nidan - 800 hrs. min after Shodan
Sandan - 1500 hrs min after Nidan

These are not necessarily the Seidokan standard, actually I require more hours than the Seidokan standard, but that has to do with distance from headquarters and wanting to make certain that my students have plenty of practice.

Some students go up a few hours short of the minimum and most of the Shodan candidates wish they had more once they get near their 400 hrs.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:44 AM   #19
Johan Tibell
Dojo: Aikido Dojo Gamlestaden
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Here's the minimum requirements for our (Iwama) dojo. From 4th kyu you have to get Sensei's permission first.
  • 6th kyu - After completing beginners course (about 3,5 months)
  • 5th kyu - 6 months after 6th kyu
  • 4th kyu - 6 months & 40 training sessions after 5th kyu
  • 3rd kyu - 12 months & 50 training sessions after 4th kyu
  • 2nd kyu - 12 months & 60 training sessions after 3rd kyu
  • 1st kyu - 12 months & 70 training sessions after 2nd kyu
  • 1st dan - no exact number of days/sessions, usually 2-3 years after 1st kyu

A normal training session is between 1:15 and 2:00 hours.

This saturday I'm up for my 3th kyu test, I'm beginning to get nervous now even with about 5-7 days of practice/week the last few months (normally practice 4-5 sessions a week).

Regards,

Johan Tibell
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Old 12-04-2001, 11:11 PM   #20
wildaikido
Dojo: Hans de Jong Self Defence School
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I have always thought hour requirements were strange. Where I train one of the 'sensei's' just got his ikkyu after about 15 years and one of the other sensei's is working on his shodan and it has been nearly 20 years. I have been training for 3 1/2 years with about 4 hours formal training a week and about an hour a day of practice and I am a yonkyu.
Just to give some perspective.
How I wish I could test for shodan after 300 days with the Aikikai syllabus

Graham Wild
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Old 12-05-2001, 08:46 AM   #21
Andy
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Quote:
Originally posted by wildaikido
I have always thought hour requirements were strange. Where I train one of the 'sensei's' just got his ikkyu after about 15 years and one of the other sensei's is working on his shodan and it has been nearly 20 years. I have been training for 3 1/2 years with about 4 hours formal training a week and about an hour a day of practice and I am a yonkyu.
Just to give some perspective.
Why is rank so important to your instructor and your dojo?

Sheesh! A black belt is not a goal.
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:52 AM   #22
Richard Harnack
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Square Hours in rank

1. While hours may sound "strange" to some, they do give a general idea of frequency of attendance. Thus is someone trains only once a week for 1 - 2 hours each time, they are not necessarily going to advance as quickly as someone who trains three or four times a week for 1 -2 hours each time.

2. I have had some students who come into training with great natural abilities, who figure that because they have these natural abilities they don't need to put in time. The problem is that even the ones who stay around to reach shodan seldom stay with the art because they feel they can "short circuit" everything. Natural ability comprises less than half of what is needed.

3. By the same token I have had students who were extremely uncoordinated when they started training. They had to earn every bit of gracefulness along the way. They usually stay past their shodan and go onto a long career in Aikido. Ultimatley they surpass the "natural athlete".

4. Lest you misunderstand, however, those who show up and spend their whole time talking about Aikido and telling others what to do, do not advance as quickly as those who show up and train.

5. So it is hours in rank, plus time spent training, plus time spent achieving understanding, plus developing skill and gracefulness which add up to being "qualified" to test for your rank.

6. Lastly, only those who stay in training ever earn their rank.

Last edited by Richard Harnack : 12-05-2001 at 09:54 AM.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 12-05-2001, 08:51 PM   #23
Edward
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I am curious to know how would you compare Shodans from different schools. I mean it took some guys 20 years to get their black belts and others less than a year. How do these people compare in terms of skill, experience, efficiency in real combat...etc. One of my senseis says jokingly, in Aikido, the first 10 years are the most difficult ones, then it becomes easy.
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:29 PM   #24
wildaikido
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I think some misinterpreted my post.
Andy the fact that my instructors haven't got their shodans yet shows that they are not just after a belt. Don't you think if a nikkyu is teaching a class he would be capable of doing so? Also the school doesn't stress grading it is up to the person, if you have put in the time and can show the ability then you can go to advanced classes.
Grading doesn't take so long because people are crap it takes so long for completely opposite reasons. Our grading process is long and physically demanding. I train where self-defence is high on the list of priorities so you have to be able to defend your self against the worst-case scenario every time, that's multiple attackers constantly attacking and then when you are under pressure is when the grading really begins.
We also have exercise to develop timing, rhythm, breathing and ki extension. As with all Yoseikan schools the syllabus has more 'graded' techniques such as core "judo" techniques and as with other schools we have weapon taking and training. Last we have a large number of sutemi waza, 17 from sankyu to ikkyu that are also graded.
As I look through my file there are 8 A4 pages almost full from rokkyu to ikkyu in our syllabus and then I look at the copy of the Aikikai syllabus I have with the same font, it is two thirds of a page. Now this isn't said to say your crap and we are better, it's said to show why one spends so long training to achieve their shodan. I understand the theory and philosophy behind the Aikikai syllabus and I respect it.
Simply put if your after a belt then you chose the wrong school. That said in regards to the current poll after a few years 2 maybe, almost all of the students here could defend themselves in a self defence situation if need be, maybe not in a boxing match, that would take a little longer .

Graham Wild
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:33 PM   #25
wildaikido
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Edward I would make it 20 years

Graham Wild
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