A little bit about gradings
As Aikido gradings have no competitive element, they take on a different meaning.
A grading is a point in time when all you've been studying should come to together and you focus on a specific range of techniques. There are many variations to Aikido techniques but we follow a set syllabus for gradings. Everyone, at whatever grade you are attempting, will be expected to do the same foundation version of the nominated technique.
This simplifies the process for the grading panel so they can compare students more easily against a base criteria. But for students it is even more important that they know and carefully study these foundation techniques, as the rest of their training is based on an assumption the student has a clear understanding of these particular movements.
The syllabus has been constructed to take a new person through various levels of understanding regarding movements, grips, holds, pins and throws, from both a standing and kneeling perspective. This process never stops. The syllabus on this page is for Kyu grades, that is, white belt from 5th to 1st Kyu. Junior students have their own specially structured syllabus, click here to go to that page. The black belt syllabus is based on the same techniques, but a higher standard of technical ability is expected, plus weapons and variations on movements form part of this testing procedure.
The grading process
You are required to train for a minimum number of days before attempting your next, or first, grade. Your dojo instructor will assess your progress and when that person is satisfied you have met the minimum requirements AND you have a working knowledge of all the techniques for that level plus the one above, they will recommend you apply for testing at the next grading event. You must have your instructor's signed recommendation before you can apply to test for a grading.
All grades are issued by Aiki Kai Australia and are both nationally and internationally recognised. Therefore, gradings are not usually held at dojo level but conducted at a state or territory level.
At the actual grading
The general rule at a grading is the first person called will be the one to test first (Nage) and the second person called is their partner (Uke). During the grading the roles will be reversed, each person receives for the other. Nage should kneel closest to the grading panel. When indicated to start, both people turn towards the photo of O Sensei and bow, turn to the grading panel and bow and then face each other and bow. Nage leads the timing of when to bow, Uke follows that timing. At the end of the grading follow this same procedure.
Message for family and friends: Photography is NOT ALLOWED during gradings. It is more important for these events to be remembered from the heart by the participants.