Why We Have Gradings
The grading process is an important part of Aikido it helps a person focus their training and knowledge and helps a person refine their technique and understanding.
It is important after a grading to thank and get feedback from the examiner regardless of whether you pass or not.
If you do not pass, the examiner can advise you on what improvementsyou need to make to achieve a pass and a possible time frame, you should not think of this as a failure it is just that you were not quite ready for the grade.
There is no shame in not passing and many seniors including members of the grading committee have not passed a grading at one time or another. If you pass it is worth asking where you can improve and what direction you can take your training, Shidoin have a great deal of experience and will be able to guide you forward.
Kaishukan Aikido dojo is affiliated to the British Aikido Federation, as such we follow their technical and grading syllabus as laid down by the Honbu Aikikai Foundation. All our grade examinations are conducted by the Shidoin who are members of the technical and grading committee. This way we maintain the practice and philosophy of the B.A.F. and the Honbu Aikikai Foundation. Grading are given in by two methods: examination or promotion.
An examination is taken in front of the grading committee at large gatherings such as B.A.F. summer school or locally in the presence of Shidoin or Fuku-Shidoin The results of the grading are announced at the end of the examination. However Ikkyu (1st kyu) and above are currently taken at B.A.F. summer school in front of the grading committee, and the visiting Honbu instructor.
All Yudanshia grading must be countersigned by Shidoin before hand usually six months prior to the examination. Shodan and Ni dan examinations require an essay. also all dan grades need to be confirmed and ratified by the Honbu Aikikai Foundation after the examination.
Members of the grading committee reserve the right to grant grades without the need for a formal examination. This is by no means considered a give away but an indication of the dedication, time, effort, skill and hard work the candidate has put in.
All grades above Yondan in the B.A.F. are promotions recommended by the Grading Comittee to the Honbu Aikikai Foundation as it is tradition. This is for services to Aikido, and the B.A.F. as well as their technical abilities. These recommendations are formalized and confirmed by the Doshu at the Kagami Biraki Ceremony (translates as “Opening Of The Mirror”) at New Year each year.
For Shodan and ni dan it is a long held tradition to write a short essay, recommended to be around 1500 – 2000 words long on the subjects of either “Aikido in Everyday Life” or “Aikido as a martial art”. these are required to be submitted a few months before the examination to give the grading committee time to digest them.