Gradings are wonderful opportunities for growth and change, as well as recognition for our hard work. The intensive effort of properly preparing for a grading often helps us break through barriers and obstacles in our training, yielding new insights into our practice, deepening our awareness and understanding, and developing our ability to teach ourselves. A beautiful essay on Takeda Shihan’s approach to gradings can be found here.
Adults and teens students progress through a series of ‘kyu’ or ‘white-belt’ grades (6th kyu to 1st kyu) and then through the ‘dan‘ or ‘black-belt’ grades. Gradings from 6th kyu to 2nd kyu are held at Sydney City Dojo four times a year in March, June, September and December. Gradings for 1st kyu to 2nd dan are conducted at intensive training camps called ‘gasshuku’ which are held several times a year. Higher dan gradings (3rd dan and above) are taken in Japan with Takeda Shihan.
AKI gradings are internationally recognised and registered with Aikikai Japan.