View Full Version : Getting to Shodan?
Hello Akidoka, I just started taking up aikido and would like to set some goals for myself. I'm not doing aikido just to get my blackbelt but am curious as to how long some you took to reach the rank of Shodan. I am also aware that Shodan isn't the end all but rather the beggining. :bow: I plan on doing 3-4 hours of training a week and am fairly athletic. I also know that its very subjective for each student...just curious.
This is one of the questions that your sempai is most likely to know the answer to. Time and effort to shodan can vary between dojo and organisations (and between different countrys in the same organisation as well).
For me it took about 6 years of active training with breaks because of injuries and inconvienient work schedules. Iīd say thatīs pretty normal in the swedish Iwama clubs.
Novice to Shodan took me around 6 years, although I was a 1st Kyu for a few years as our instructor left us to do our own thing.
After failing my Shodan exam I realized that I needed to go and find a good teacher so I started to train under the instruction of Ken Broome and Itsuo Haba, who in turn introduced me to Dr Lee Ah Loi who became my instructor from 1980 untill she retired to Australia 2003.
Things nowdays are a lot better Aikido has a better coverage so finding a good club should be easier.
The key to advancement in Aikido is practice and a good instructor. When looking for a club don't worry about asking the instructor about his history if he of she is not willing to answer go to another club.
Things are different in different countries in the UK instructor have to provide a duty of care so he/she should have a recognised coaching qualification, First Aid, Health & Safety qualifications and if teaching children attended a child protection course.
IMHO, the fastest way to achieve Shodan (and beyond) is to set that as a direction (not just a goal), slow down, pay attention to basics, do what your teacher tells you to do, relax, breath, and enjoy yourself.
I don't study aikido, but since the jujutsu I study comes from Daito-Ryu as well, I can relate to this subject.
Becoming proficient in ukemi's many facets is key: for safety, for learning, for teaching, for coming in touch with the essence of the art. This proficiency needs to be there throughout a given technique, not just when you're in the process of falling and hitting the mat (since much about ukemi has nothing to do with breakfalls).
One side note on how I helped motivate myself was asking my teacher after I made yellow belt what the fees were for testing and registering as a shodan in our system. After he told me, I paid him that instant in full.
My advice to you is
Train at least 2-3 times per week from join date.
When your uke, try to 'feel' what tori is doing to you, I found this to help my own tech.
You can only learn so much from a book but there a good source for basics and the Japanese names and terms. There are many aikido books out there - get your coach to recommend some. Re-read them now and then.
Go to as many Aikido courses as you can around your area.
It took me two and a half years to get to shodan...about 24 months of training (I took a few months off).
My first year I trained in Boston, then moved to Japan and got it over there.
In Japan I trained an average of 3 hours per day, usually 7 days a week. There was never a day I was not sore (for more than 5 years).
I think Shodan is a great goal to have and yes, like you stated it's only a beginning.
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