The Aikido Center of Los Angeles has been granted Konin or "official recognition" by the Aikikai Foundation - Aikido World Headquarters located in Japan. 

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The Aikido Center Los Angeles follows the same system of ranking and promotion set forth by
the Aikido World Headquarters in Japan.

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In Japan, prior to the Tokugawa era (1603-1868), budo arts were martial systems only taught within families or clans. Students were training primarily for the battlefield. With this focus, there really wasn’t a system of rank. 

After 1603, budo arts became available to people outside of clans and families. The is where the birth of rank and promotion begins. At this time, a dedicated student could receive a menkyo or verification or license that they had attained proficiency in a system. If a student was truly proficient, dedicated and loyal then they could receive a menkyo-kaidensho which meant “License of total transmission” and they were allowed to open their own school.  

In 1883, during the Meiji era (1868-1912), Judo teacher Jigoro Kano adopted the kyu and dan ranks from the game Go to Judo which has been adopted by martial arts schools all over Japan and Asia.  

White Belt

Beginners start with no rank. There are six Kyu ranks, in reverse order. In other words, you are first awarded 6th Kyu, then 5th Kyu, and so on through 1st Kyu.

Black Belt

There are 10 degrees of Black Belt, in ascending order. In other words, you are first awarded 1st Dan (shodan), then 2nd Dan (nidan), and so on.


Often, people inquire about how long it takes to achieve 1st degree black belt or shodan. The answer really depends on the individual. In our experience, if a student were to come to class every day for three years then they would likely have developed the necessary skills to the level of shodan. For further understanding, see the helpful article below written by ACLA founder Reverend Kensho Furuya. 

Read What Does a Black Belt Really Mean?