There are three categories of grades mentioned in the Aiki No Michi syllabus.
- Kihon This refers to a grasp of the basics, before the usual grades;
- Kyu These grades begin with 6th Kyu and end with 1st Kyu. Students wear white belts when they are either ungraded, kihon or kyu grades.
- Dan These grades are often referred to as the black belt grades and start at 1st Dan (also shodan), 2nd Dan (nidan), 3rd Dan (sandan) and so on.
No one in the Belfast Aikido Circle will be forced to take gradings.
Those interested in obtaining gradings will find the full support of the club. It is prudent to tell your sensei that you intend to grade, and to give good notice, so that some appropriate material may be covered, and to obtain advice on whether you are ready to grade. However, note that given the variety of grades in the class and different nights that people can attend, it may not be possible to tailor classes completely towards a grading. Therefore it remains the responsibility of the student to ensure they understand the appropriate material on the syllabus for the grade they are attempting. It is often possible to approach your sensei or fellow students before or after the class to ask questions or to practice a technique briefly.
Please ask about the names of techniques and attacks, you may find this list useful.