Student Guide

Testing and Promotion: Adults

Adult students (12 years of age and older) progress through five levels of rank before black belt, and nine levels of black belt ranks. Students achieve rank through a combination of practice time and formal evaluation (testing). Each student must satisfy the minimum number of days of practice before being considered for evaluation to a new rank. At this Dojo all students start unranked as a "Beginner" (white belt). The following table lists the minimum number of days that a student must practice before being considered for testing for a new rank.


Rank Belt Color
Days Practice
Gokyu (Fifth Kyu) Canary
Yonkyu (Fourth Kyu) Purple
Sankyu (Third Kyu) Purple w/ Black Stripe
Nikyu (Second Kyu) Brown
Ikkyu (First Kyu) Brown w/ Black Stripe
Shodan (First Dan) Black
Nidan (Second Dan) Black
200 (1 year)
Sandan (Third Dan) Black
300 (2 years)
Yondan (Fourth Dan) Black
400 (3 years)
Godan (Fifth Dan) Black
By Reccomendation



The number of days of practice required at each level are counted from the last testing date (or the date the student first began practicing). Students become eligible for testing only after the minimum number of days of practice are met; however, it is always up to the instructor whether a student is ready to test (or not), regardless of the total number of days each person has practiced. The "Black Stripe " is a strip of black cloth sewn lengthwise down both sides of the belt. A record of your practices will be kept at the Dojo. This record will list the date of your last promotion (or the date you started practicing), your current rank, and the number of days of practice since your last promotion. As you near the minimum days required for your next evaluation you should approach Sensei and inquire about that promotion. Sensei will then schedule a time to discuss the exact requirements for that evaluation with you, and to plan necessary practice and review sessions.


Sensei will also give you an evaluation checklist, which will detail the skills that you will be asked to demonstrate at your evaluation. As you progress in rank you will add your own "student selected" arts to this checklist, having an opportunity to show those skills you like the best or feel the most proficient at.


In this way no promotion is ever overlooked or forgotten, nor is any evaluation a surprise. Properly followed this procedure ensures that you will have more than adequate preparation for each test, making that experience more a demonstration of your current knowledge than a experience that you feel you will "fail". Your evaluation is also a chance for you to reaffirm your growing skills in Aikido in front of your fellow students, friends, and family. It is a time to be happy in your success, and visitors are especially encouraged to come to class on evaluation days!


The running record of practices is obtained from the weekly sign-in rosters available at each class. For this reason it is vitally important that you sign in each and every time you attend an Aikido practice. If you forget to sign in at a class, or believe that the information on this running record may be incorrect, be sure to bring it to Sensei's attention immediately.


Aikido is aikido, whether practiced at the Prairie Aikikai dojo or elsewhere. Many students will travel to other places to practice Aikido, whether as part of a seminar, special camp, or just while away from the Prairie Aikikai on vacation. Your practice time while at these other Dojos counts towards your practice time for evaluation purposes. Just keep a running record of when you practice (what days), the number of hours practiced, and the kinds of things you did (arts practices, new things learned, etc.). Bring that information back to the Prairie Aikikai dojo and it will be added to your cumulative attendance record. A friendly warning, though -- it is not uncommon for students who visit other Dojos to be asked to share new things they have learned once they return to the Prairie Aikikai! Try to remember at least one or two new "arts" while you practice at a different location so we may all benefit from your experience.