Aikido gradings are not the main focus of students, but it's always good to have some feedback to be sure that you are on the right track in your training.
Most styles of Aikido offer their students a path that leads through a series of ranks. But it does vary how many levels there are, and the importance of each.
In many clubs there are only two belts... white and black.
There are many different levels and often an Aikido grading allows you to pressure test yourself in more stressful, but controlled circumstances.
Once you have achieved your black belt, you'll have the right to wear the hakama, which is a pleated divided skirt. This is at the discretion of your Instructor, as some organisations don't allow lower dan grades to wear.
Some organisations see dan grades as degrees, which gives you more of an indication of the expected time and effort required to achieve it.
From Aikikai Hombu Dojo Website...
5th Kyu - 30 days of practice
4th Kyu - 40 days of practice after obtaining 5th Kyu
3rd Kyu - 50 days of practice after obtaining 4th Kyu
2nd Kyu - 50 days of practice after obtaining 3rd Kyu
1st Kyu - 60 days of practice after obtaining 2nd Kyu
1st Dan - 70 days of practice after obtaining 1st Kyu
2nd Dan - Minimum 1 year since 1st dan, with 200 days of practice
3rd Dan - Minimum 2 years since 2nd dan, with 300 days of practice
4th Dan - Minimum 3 years since 3rd dan, with 400 days of practice
course, many other associations, organisations, systems, and styles are
different, but this gives you an idea of the work involved.
In the West its more common for students to expect aikido gradings, certificates and coloured belts. This is because people have been brought up based on hundreds of tests and confirmation of their skill levels in every area of society...
They tend to crave recognition!
The aikido grading levels of the Aikido Yoshinkan group I trained with in the UK, and that we use at the Arun Aikido Club are...
8th kyu - white belt
7th kyu - yellow belt
6th kyu - green belt
5th kyu - blue belt
4th kyu - orange belt
3rd kyu - brown belt
2nd kyu - brown belt
1st kyu - brown belt
1st Dan - black belt
We have an aikido grading system that involves lots of hard work. Our Aikido ranks and certificates are very difficult to achieve.
Unfortunately some students hoped for an easy path through the grades, and stop training because it is difficult to advance.
This can be seen as a good way of filtering out the weaker students with one eye on the training and the other eye on the belt (ego).
Unfortunately, this leads to reduced student numbers, and many come and go. But the most important thing is to protect the art and...
avoid diluting it!
it comes down to it your Aikido ranks, belts, and certificates will not help you in difficult situations, but solid aikido skills and aiki principles will.
Aikido Success Blueprint learn how to fast-track your grading preparations, and excel in your training. Plus Aikido First Aid Kit ebook to prevent injuries.