Martial Arts: A Look At The Aikido Ranking System

Aikido is a martial art that is influenced by progression and collaboration, with an emphasis on various throws and joint locks. “Ai” means join. “Ki” means energy. “Do” means way. Aikido is simply a fighting system that highlights the act of combining combats, meaning that the individual that uses the Aikido fighting system can use an array of assorted flings and joint associations to merge with his/her opponent. Aikido’s fighting system embraces the grab, the throw, the strike, the return, and the thrust techniques.

Aikido is a martial art that is has become very popular around the world, but is most popular in Japan. One thing is certain, martial arts belts are often ranked in an effort to help real martial artists not only reach their goals, but allow them to learn and expand from the level they have already mastered.

There are over five different styles of Aikido (Yoshokai, Shodokhan, Aikikai, Yoseikan, Manseikan, Tendoryu, Kobayashi, etc), however; despite this, the levels, as well as, the belt system are remain true to the origin, but different depending on the Aikido sensei (or Aikido master). It is a well known fact that not every martial art includes the level and belt system, however; Aikido is a martial art that does.

Aikido has two primary belt systems. A white belt and a black belt.

The white belt is the first belt you will receive. There are six individual degrees of white belts you must achieve before you can advance to the black belt. The beginner level starts at 6th kyu. Once you have accomplished the 6th, you can forward to the 5th, then to the 4th, next is the 3rd, followed by the 2nd, and finally to the 1st kyu. The 1st kyu represents the degree (or rank) one must pass to get to the black belt.

The black belt is the second belt you will receive. Although degrees tend to vary, most of they start with the 8th kyu and go up to the 1st kyu. Once you master the black belt, you can move onto the Hakama rank. The Hakama represents the dan grades and Shodans, which are the individuals who have mastered the Aikido martial art.

Some Aikido styles have a five belt and one tag system. The white belt, followed by the yellow belt, orange belt, green belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, black tag, and black belt.

The white belt starts at the 8th kyu, rather than the 6th kyu. Instead of extending all of the way from the 5th to the 1st, the 7th kyu becomes the yellow belt. Then once you have accomplished the yellow belt, you can move onto the 6th kyu which is the orange belt. The green belt represents the 5th kyu, as the blue belt represents 4th kyu. The purple belt is the 3rd kyu. The brown belt is the 2nd kyu and once you pass the test for the brown belt, you move onto what is referred to as the black tag which is the 1st. The black belt represents the 1st Dan Grade or Shodans on the path to the Hakama.

Several other forms of Aikido embrace the stripe concept. Most of the time, these forms represent only four different colored belts, because each color represents a stripe, as a result of passing the test. The white belt is always the 7th kyu and the beginning towards training. The 6th kyu represents the yellow belt, as the 5th represents the yellow belt with a stripe. The 4th kyu represents the blue belt, as the 3rd kyu represents the blue belt with a stripe. The 2nd kyu is the brown belt, as the 1st kyu is the brown belt with the stripe. Once you pass the test, you can achieve master rank. There is no black belt.

If you attend an Aikido class in Washington DC vs. an Aikido class in Miami vs. an Aikido class in Los Angeles, you can expect a different rank, as well as, belt system. If you attend three different classes and six different Aikido seminars in Los Angeles, CA alone, you can expect that the vast majority represent an entirely different rank, as well as, belt system.


Anonymous said…
Glad to be one of many visitants on this awesome internet site :D.