Copyright Kate Wurtzel
Students attend classes and accumulate days of practice toward eligibility for tests. Adult Ranks are determined through a nationally standardized set of examinations, which are held periodically.
For adults, there are six kyu ranks, beginning with 6th kyu through 1st kyu. Kyu ranks are followed by black belt ranks, called dan (shodan – “beginning” dan, 2nd dan, 3rd dan, etc.). A black belt indicates a senior student, not an expert. On average, students practicing at least three days per week, and applying themselves seriously, achieve the rank of shodan in about six years. Rank awarded through the USAF is recognized worldwide and is transferable to all organizations affiliated through Aikikai Hombu Dojo, world headquarters of Aikido.
In our kids program, the first rank that can be attained is 10th kyu C. Ranks continue with 10th kyu B, 10th kyu A, 9th kyu C, and so on through 7th kyu A. We have a colored ribbon system (sewed onto their white belt) used to indicate kids rank. For example, one yellow ribbon stripe denotes 10kyu C, while three yellow ribbon stripes denotes 10th kyu A.
All are encouraged to practice; there is no discrimination in Aikido.