Ranks and Promotion

Ranks & Categories of The Aikido Hierarchy

The hierarchical structure of aikido follows substantially the ranking system adopted by almost all the other major martial arts. The students of the art are divided into two categories:

i) Students of kyu rank
ii) Students of dan rank

The founder of the art (O’ Sensei), his son (the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba), and his grandson (the present Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba), according to Japanese custom, are above the ranking system. The students who hold dan rank from 1st dan upward, wear the black belt over their uniforms (gi) and under the divided skirt or trousers (hakama).

*In Aikido Federation (Singapore) dojos, female students who have passed their grading are allowed to wear the hakama. However, the colour of the hakama is restricted to blue for these students, as the traditional black hakama is worn only by students who have attained dan ranking (regardless of gender).

The following is a table of the categories as well as the ranks of the Aikido hierarchy adopted by Aikido Federation (Singapore).

Children’s Kyu Category
12th kyu White belt with single gold tip
11th kyu White belt with double gold tip
10th kyu Yellow belt
9th kyu Red belt
8th kyu Green belt
7th kyu Orange belt
6th kyu Blue belt
6th kyu I Blue belt with single gold tip
6th kyu II Blue belt with double gold tip
6th kyu III Blue belt with triple gold tip
*Note: Children at 13 years of age at 6th kyu III are eligible for 4th kyu (Brown belt)
Adult’s Kyu Category
7th kyu Orange belt
6th kyu (rokkyu) Blue belt
5th kyu (gokyu) Blue belt with gold tip
4th kyu (yonkyu) Brown belt
3rd kyu (sankyu) Brown belt with single gold tip
2nd kyu (nikyu) Brown belt with double gold tip
1st kyu (ikkyu) Black belt with gold tip
1st dan (shodan) 1st dan (shodan) Black belt with hakama
2nd dan (nidan)
3rd dan (sandan)
4th dan (yondan)
5th dan (godan)
6th dan (rokudan)
7th dan (shichidan)
8th dan (hachidan)
9th dan (kudan)
10th dan (judan)

Promotion

There are three basic methods of conferring class or rank.

i) Examination (or grading)
ii) Honorary
iii) Combination of Examination and Honorary

In the case of examination (grading), for each kyu class and dan rank, there are certain precise requirements pertaining to hours practiced, techniques mastered, etc., which must be fulfilled. However these requirements may differ according to dojo. Honorary promotion is given for contributions to the introduction and promotion of aikido. The third method is the combination of both examination (grading) and honorary, one supplementing the other.