Grading or Testing
Ranking in aikido, as in many other Japanese martial arts, adopts a standard Kyu-Dan system. The Newcastle Aikido Club follows the convention of six Kyu ranks (white belt) followed by the Dan ranks (black belt). The first grading a student will take is 6th kyu, then 5th kyu and so on until 1st kyu. After 1st kyu students progress to the first black belt grade, called "shodan" or "1st Dan". Thereafter, seniors may progress to 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan or even higher.
Newcastle Aikido Club Kyu grade examinations will be conducted twice a year, occasionally three times. Dan grade examinations are carried out by shihan (senior level instructors) from France on behalf of the Aikikai Foundation under the Edinburgh Aikido Club.
"...Gradings are an important part of our training as they allow us to mark our progression. They are to be celebrated as recognition of the personal improvement our efforts have produced. But then they are best forgotten so that you can focus on getting back to class and regular training."
Scott Reed - Edinburgh Aikido Club
Newcastle Aikido Club Grading Syllabus
Grading Syllabus in video format
"Gradings in Aikido" an essay by Scott Reed