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        Ki Grading Terms |  Instructors |  Criteria for Examination
Ki Exams |  Minimum Requirements |  Aikido Essay |  Multiple Attacks
Grading Etiquette |  Shokyu Ki Test |  Chukyu Ki Test |  Jokyu Ki Test

Grading


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Aikido Grading Terms

Kyu Levels: These are the beginning levels of Aikido understanding. There are six kyu levels: 6th kyu being the lowest and 1st kyu being the highest

Dan Levels(Black belt): These are the senior levels of Aikido understanding. Dan means step, Shodan being the first step, Nidan the second, Sandan the third, Yondan the forth, and so on. There are 10 levels in Aikido

Ki Grading Terms:

KYU LEVEL: These are the beginning levels of Ki understanding.
There are three kyu levels: Shokyu, Chukyu and Jokyu.

DAN LEVELS: There are senior levels of Ki understanding. There are three Dan levels: Shoden, Chuden and Okuden

Instructors:

There are three levels of instructors in Ki Society International. They are Assistant Lecturer, Associate Lecturer; Lecturer. Certain senior instructors are certified by Ki Society International to be Qualified Examiners.

Criteria for Examination

The information below will help you understand the idea behind gradings.

Firstly, all students pass the grade when they are examined. There are no marks, points or percentages awarded. Only when the instructor feels you are ready, and you have attended the required number of classes, may you go for the exam.

Note that it is inappropriate to ask to be graded - your instructor keeps a close eye on your progress and will invite you to grade when you have met the requirements.

The reason you do the exam is to show that you can perform with confidence and extend Ki in front of your fellow students. Learning to do this will boost your confidence and assertiveness in your daily life.

Sometimes students are reluctant to grade, preferring to simply train. However, the grading syllabus is carefully structured to ensure steady progress through the basics. In reality, preparation for a grading is more important than the grading itself. By achieving a specific level of competence in a number of particular techniques you consolidate your progress in Aikido. It is important to complete the process by doing the grading so that you can integrate the experience and reap the maximum benefit from your training.

Ki exams show your understanding of the four basic principles.

Kyu exams show how well you blend this understanding with the physicaltechniques.

Ki grade certificates and black belt certificates are sent from Japan. This certification means that your level is recognised internationally. Every student is asked to affiliate with the world headquarters and you will receive a card with your membership number. This is important so that we are recognised as part of the international body and we are kept up to date with visits from the Masters and ongoing developments in Aikido.

Minimum Requirements

Below show the minimum training requirements before you can be considered for grading by a qualified examiner. The number of classes may vary slightly between dojos Once you achieve Shodan, your progress is measured in years of dedicated training, rather than the number of classes you attend. In each case, the minimum requirement listed is in addition to the previous level achieved.


Gradings & Ki Exams Minimum Requirements
5th kyu ( & Shokyu ) 25 classes
4th kyu 30 classes
3rd kyu ( & Chukyu ) 35 classes
2nd kyu 45 classes
1st kyu 70 classes
Shodan ( & Jokyu ) 100 classes
Nidan 2 years
Sandan 3 years & Shoden
Yondan 4 years & Chuden
Godan 5 years


Unlike the kyu levels, the senior levels of Ki understanding: Shoden, Chuden and Okuden, are not examined at the same time as Aikido grading levels. Although Den levels of Ki understanding are examined independently, they are still linked to the Dan levels of Aikido. Before you can grade to Sandan, you must have a Shoden in Ki understanding. Similarly, before you can grade to Yondan you must have a Chuden in Ki understanding. Den level examinations are conducted only by the President and the Chief Lecturer of Ki No Kenkyukai Headquarters.

Students about to grade should:
  1. Select a partner to help you prepare. As a general rule, your partner should be a rank or two above your own.
  2. That your partner has the experience and the responsibility to help get you ready, and to assist you in every way that can to prepare you for your grading.
  3. Assist you with understanding each technique required, and the grading process and etiquette.
  4. Be aware that the examiner can change uke's during the examination.
  5. Demonstrate ukemi at a level appropriate for the rank tested for.
When you are asked to grade your instructor should notice in you Person.
  1. Attitude - humility, courtesy and respect to all living things
  2. Spirit - aliveness, vitality and a willingness to develop and nurture the growth of one soul
  3. Interaction - willingness and readiness to train with others
Technical
  1. Knowledge - your understanding on how the technique works (form and principle) - for your level
  2. Proficiency - showing how the technique works
  3. Stamina - endurance and mental conditioning appropriate for your level
  4. Ukemi - rolling and falling skills growing at the same level as your throwing skills

Ki Exams

The first Ki exam is called Shokyu and this can be done together with the 5th Kyu grading. The Shokyu Ki exam covers two kyu levels - 5th and 4th.

The Chukyu Ki exam can be done together with the 3rd Kyu grading. The Chukyu Ki exam covers three kyu levels - 3rd, 2nd and 1st.

The Jokyu Ki exam is done with Shodan (black belt). The Jokyu Ki exam covers Shodan and Nidan.

Shokyu Ki Exam

All testing at this level is tested at first level.
  1. 1. Standing
  2. 2. Unbendable arm
  3. 3. Thrusting out one hand with weight underside
  4. 4. Sitting seiza
  5. 5. Sitting down and standing up
  6. 6. Breathing exercises
  7. plus the 3 minutes exercises (toitsu taiso)

Chukyu Ki Exam

At 2nd level testing.
  1. 1. Standing
  2. 2. Unbendable arm
  3. 3. Thrusting out one hand with weight underside
  4. 4. Sitting seiza
  5. 5. Sitting down and standing up
  6. 6. Breathing exercises
At 1st level testing.
  1. 7. Sitting cross-legged
  2. (a) while being pushed from behind
    (b) while being raised by one knee

  3. 8. Thrusting out one hand while being pushed by the wrist
  4. 9. Bending backwards
  5. 10. Stooping with mind and body unified
  6. 11. Unraisable body

Jokyu Ki Exam

At 3rd level testing.
  1. 1. Standing
  2. 2. Unbendable arm
  3. 3. Thrusting out one hand with weight underside
  4. 4. Sitting seiza
  5. 5. Sitting down and standing up
  6. 6. Breathing exercises
At 2nd level testing.
  1. 7. Sitting cross-legged while
    (a) while being pushed from behind
    (b) while being raised by one knee
  2. 8. Thrusting out one hand while being pushed by the wrist
  3. 9. Bending backwards
  4. 10. Stooping with mind and body unified
  5. 11. Unraisable body
At 1st level testing.
  1. 12. (a) Leaning backward on a partner (b) Leaning forward on a partner
  2. 13. Thrusting out one hand & raising one leg
  3. 14. Holding up both hands
  4. 15. Walking forward & being held from behind
  5. 16. Sitting cross-legged while holding both hands of the examiner from
    underneath with both hands while being pushed by the shoulders.
Unlike the kyu levels, the senior levels of Ki understanding: Shoden, Chuden and Joden, are not examined at the same time as Aikido grading levels. Although den levels of Ki understanding are examined independently, they are still linked to the dan levels of Aikido. Before you can grade to Sandan, you must achieve Shoden in Ki understanding. Similarly, before you can grade to Yondan you must have Chuden in Ki understanding.


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Aikido Essay

An Aikido essay is a requirement for all those grading Shodan, Nidan or Sandan. The essay should explain what impact Aikido training has had on your life and what you envisage you will do with it in the future. All essays submitted are held in confidence, between Sensei and student.

The essay provides the opportunity to reflect on where you have been and where you are going in the art of Aikido. It is a point of reference to which you can refer in future years in order to reflect on your progress - to discover your own journey.

Over the years, many different styles of essays have been submitted. Every single one is unique, special in its own way. Many are creative and ingenious. They are an opportunity to 'put it on paper' just like when you 'put it on the mat'. Some essays have been in the form of a painting, a letter to a friend, a script for a play, a children's story, a leaflet for introducing the art to beginners and so on. Some are typed, some use graphics or photos, some are even written on rice paper. Use your imagination, but most important, write from your heart.

Multiple attacks (san, yon and goningake)

Why ryokatatori?

All attacks are ryokatatori (both shoulders hold) for uke's protection. With only one attack and one throw, uke is not forced to respond quickly to atemi and so on. Also, ryokatatori is one of the more difficult attacks to deal with.

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Static practice. Uke holds with unbendable arms, keeping weight underside. You cannot move uke without first leading the mind:
  • Maintain mind-body coordination.
  • Remain unaffected by uke (don't receive his or her ki).
  • Drop your one point and touch inside uke's arms.
  • Step forward and turn your hips (and arms) through 180o to throw behind you.
  • Keep your arms in front of your hips.
  • Lead uke down with your leading hand and out with your trailing hand.
It sometimes seems that nage uses his or her arms to throw uke. However, if you try to throw using the strength of your arms, not only will you tire very quickly but also you will not be able to throw some ukes at all.

It can be difficult to move a static uke. Think half, half, half. Extend slightly forward and up before throwing behind you.

Usually, send ki strongly through uke and then strongly behind as you turn to throw. However, if uke is a dead weight, you can throw them backwards. Feel what uke wants, where uke wants to go. Moving practice In multiple attacks you must deal with each uke quickly but completely. That is, you must execute the full technique but not waste any time. Move and throw without pause. Let your ki flow continuously. Move through each uke, rather than stopping to throw. Although you must turn to look (and send your ki) in the direction that you throw, don't wait and watch uke roll away or the next attacker will be on top of you - keep moving forward. In moving practice, go for uke's upper arms rather than elbows.

The Grading

Sensei calls 'Hajime!' during your bow. Use the energy of the kiai to move. Go to either end of the line of ukes, not the middle.
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  • Don't throw ukes left, right, left, right - it's difficult to keep one point and you might lose coordination at the start. To start with, throw ukes L, L, R, R, L, L, R, R. This will give you a good start. Always move forward. Use big tenkans.
  • Don't be afraid of your ukes - welcome them like friends. Extend ki towards uke.
  • Move on uke's ki - begin the technique when ma-ai is broken. Don't change uke's direction - move out of the way (but not too far, or you will draw uke towards you). Follow uke's rhythm - don't clash.
  • Move your hands inside uke's. Lead forward and down with your front hand, project out with your back hand. Throw with your hips, not with your hands.
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Problems

  • If you are knocked down, roll.
  • If you become rattled, return to the L, L, R, R rhythm.
  • If your wrong foot is forward, do the same move from your 'wrong' side.
  • If your ukes don't want to fall, be more in the centre, do the technique earlier, send a stronger signal.
Strategy of movement to space multiple ukes
  • Go to one end of the line of ukes, not the centre, to begin. Vary moving through with moving to the outside. If you do only one, ukes will bunch.
  • Move forward - if you back away, ukes are drawn towards you. Don't move straight into uke (don't clash). Go forward but let uke come at you.
  • Keep moving. Don't stand still and wait for an attack - move to the uke you want to throw next. Circle around the outside of a group of ukes rather than go through the middle.
  • Lead and position ukes so they obstruct each other in getting to you. Take the one furthest away: if two ukes are coming too close together, spin past the first and throw the second.

Grading Etiquette

To begin your grading, bow three times:
  1. Kamiza rei
  2. Sensei rei
  3. Uke rei.
At the end of your grading bow three times:
  1. Uke rei
  2. Kamiza rei
  3. Sensei rei.
It is uke's responsibility to ensure that weapons are readily available for nage's use. All students on the mat must be sitting in seiza at the beginning and end of each grading. Any student participating in a grading must stay until all gradings are completed unless prior arrangements have been made with Sensei.

A young boy travelled across Japan to the school of a great swordsman. When he arrived at the school he was given an audience with the founder, who was impressed that this young boy had made such a long journey."

What do you wish from me?" the master asked."
I wish to be your student and become the finest swordsman in the land," the boy replied.

"How long must I study?"
"Ten years at least," the master answered."
"Ten years is a long time.
What if I studied twice as hard as all your other students?"
"Twenty years," replied the master."
"Twenty! What if I practise relentlessly, day and night, with all my effort?"
"Thirty years," replied the master."
"How is it that each time I say I will work harder you tell me that it will take longer?" the student asked, quite confused by now."

The answer is clear," said the master.
"When there is one eye fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."



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Mastery of Aikido is a journey, not a destination.

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