Policies governing rank promotions may vary, sometimes dramatically, from
one aikido dojo or organization to another. According to the standard set by
the International Aikido Federation (IAF) and the United States Aikido
Federation (USAF), there are 6 ranks below black belt. These ranks are
called kyu ranks. In the IAF and USAF, kyu ranks are not usually
distinguished by colored belts. Other organizations (and some individual
dojo) may use some system of colored belts to signify kyu ranks, however.
There is a growing number of aikido organizations and each has its own set
of standards for ranking.
Eligibility for testing depends primarily (though not exclusively) upon
accumulation of practice hours. Other relevant factors may include a
trainee's attitude with respect to others, regularity of attendance, and, in
some organizations, contribution to the maintenance of the dojo or
dissemination of aikido.
Whatever the criteria for rank promotion, it is important to keep in mind
that rank promotion does not necessarily translate into ability. The most
important accomplishments in aikido or any other martial art are not
external assessments of progress, but rather the benefits of your training