To assess the student's ability in Aikido, he or she has to take an examination before a Dan Grade (Black Belt). In this examination, the students with their partners go through the techniques that have been taught. These techniques have been laid down in the grading syllabus. This applies for all the Kyu grades up to 1st Kyu.
If a pupil is trying for a Black Belt then he can only be graded by a 4th Dan or above. This method has been laid down by the Aikikai, the world centre of Aikido. All Black Belts who have been graded by Aikikai teachers receive a diploma from Japan. It is a great honour to receive one of these as there are only fifteen British students who hold them.
Do not forget that there is a lot of hard work before one reaches this standard. The usual time is three years based on two practices a week. I believe that ninety per cent of people who practise Aikido could arrive at the Black Belt stage if they had the strength of mind and determination to keep up their practice.
It is not so much the practice that is the difficult part but the getting down to the club. For instance, the pupil may return from work on a cold evening, have his dinner and afterwards sit by the fire.
It is one of the hardest things to get oneself out of the chair and to get down to the club for training. This is where the mind must be strong and control the body. This dedication is a part of the training and discipline which must go with Aikido.
Try to adapt Aikido to everyday life and I am sure that you will understand more easily the true principle and feeling of this wonderful art and more easily progress up the grades towards your goal.
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