Promotion Requirements

These are the official promotion requirements for advancement in the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, our rank-providing organization. Unranked (new) students will test first for the 6th Kyu (rokyu) white belt. Advancement is made through 1st kyu (ikyu), which is the last white belt rank before black belt. Aikido rank progression is slow compared to many commercial or competitive martial arts, and cannot be rushed; achieving black belt (shodan) can often take five years or more of dedicated training.

Students are expected to keep track of their own hours, time-in-grade, and other records toward promotion. However, we provide a convenient online system to help make this simple. The posted requirements are only the minimum definitions; actual candidacy for testing is at the discretion of the instructors and their evaluation of the student’s ability to perform at the new level. Testing is held every four months, usually at the end of March, July and November.

Prior to testing, candidates are expected to submit their test fees and annual ASU dues. Students who are not in good standing with respect to membership dues will not be considered for testing or promotion.

6th – Rokyu (30 hours/3 months) 3rd – Sankyu (70 hours/4 months)
  • Tenkan
  • Shomenuchi iriminage
  • Munetsuki kotegaeshi
  • Katate dori shihonage
  • Yokomenuchi shihonage
  • Kokyu tanden ho
All previous techniques plus:

  • Bokken kata #2
  • Ushiro ryokata dori ikkyo
  • Ushiro ryote dori shihonage
  • Ushiro kubi shime kotegaeshi
  • Ushiro waza kokyunagi
5th – Gokyu (60 hours/4 months) 2nd – Nikyu (80 hours/6 months)
All previous techniques plus:

  • Shomenuchi ikkyo and nikyo
  • Kata dori ikkyo and nikyo
  • Munetsuki kaitennage
All previous techniques plus:

  • Bokken kata #1
  • Yokomenuchi nikyo, sankyo and yonkyo
  • Koshinage from shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, katate dori and munetsuki
  • Hanmi handachi:, Katate dori shihonage, Ryote dori shihonage
  • Suwariwaza: Shomenuchi ikkyo, Kata dori ikkyo
  • Yokomenuchi ikkyo
4th – Yonkyu (60 hours/4 months) 1st – Ikkyu (90 hours/6 months)
All previous techniques plus:

  • Shomenuchi sankyo and yonkyo
  • Yokomenuchi ikkyo, kotegaeshi and iriminage
  • Ryote dori tenchinage and shihonage
  • Katate dori ryote mochi kokyu tanden ho
All previous techniques plus:

  • Bokken kata #3
  • Jiyu waza: Standing, Hanmi handachi, Suwariwaza
  • Tanto dori: Munetsuki, Shomenuchi, Yokomenuchi

In addition to testing requirements:

  • 6th kyu students and higher are expected to wear a hakama, be able to help new students through the warmup, and be comfortable performing front rolls and back falls.
  • 4th kyu students are expected to be able to perform back rolls.
  • 3rd kyu students are expected to own a boken, and be able to teach new students how to roll the way the instructors teach.
  • 2nd kyu students are expected to be able to take breakfalls comfortably.
  • 1st kyu students are expected to own a jo, tanto, and shinai, and be able to lead warmup if necessary.

Further discussion about responsibilities and expectations regarding promotion and training at different levels are available in a short writeup by Sensei Hagen.