Adult Test Requirements
Rank advancement testing for kyu ranks (non-black belt) is conducted at the dojo on a quarterly basis. Test dates are posted on the dojo calendar. The test curriculum is established by the head of our national organization, Andy Sato Sensei(6th dan, Aikikai). All tests are cumulative of prior tests. You must receive the permission of the Dojo Cho to test.
Testing for Aikido rank is quite formal. Strict etiquette and protocols are followed. Testing takes place before the entire dojo and is judged by a Test Committee composed of high ranking yudansha (black belts). It is quite common for students to not meet expectations and not pass their examination. Such attempts should not be viewed as failures, but rather as a call for improvement. The rate at which aikido principles become internalized varies from person to person. Specific suggestions will be made by the Test Committee.
The test curriculum specifies a minimum period of training and study before a student can take the next exam. A student can qualify for the first test (7th Kyu) after two months of training (20 training days). You will note that the interval between tests becomes longer as one advances to higher ranks. At the black belt level, the interval is measured in years. With diligent training of two to three sessions per week, a student can expect to test for shodan (1st degree black belt) after four to five years. All dan (black belt) testing takes place before a national Technical Committee headed by Sato Sensei.
Aikido is effective and beautiful, but it is a difficult art to learn. There is no rush to test. Students should be mindful that the path of Aikido is a journey of lifelong learning. Achieving black belt rank is simply an indication that one has acquired a basic understanding and is now prepared to learn the true nature and complexities of Aikido.