Progression of Training

Progression of Training

Testing and Rank

Studying with a goal in mind helps in motivation, yet rank and testing themselves are not the most important aspect of training. There is no competition in Yoshokai Aikido. We focus on studying and enjoying Aikido’s way of harmony.

Yoshokai Aikido’s ranking system is divided into Kyu and Dan ranks.

Kyu Ranks

White Belt to Brown Belt advancement is through Kyu testing. Kushida Sensei and Akira Sensei have developed a very organized curriculum that builds a strong foundation of basics, through to advanced techniques.

Kyu testing begins at a base level of 8th Kyu and continues up to 1st Kyu.

Intermediary ranks called “Jun” or “Pre-” are available. This Pre-Kyu rank prepares the students for the content of the “full” Kyu level.

  • 8th Kyu
  • Pre-7th Kyu
  • 7th Kyu
  • Pre-6th Kyu
  • 6th Kyu
  • Pre-5th Kyu
  • 5th Kyu (eligibility for Kenshu)
  • Pre-4th Kyu
  • 4th Kyu
  • Pre-3rd Kyu (brown belt, eligibility to attend Genyokan Advanced Class)
  • 3rd Kyu
  • Pre-2nd Kyu
  • 2nd Kyu
  • Pre-1st Kyu
  • 1st Kyu

Dan Ranks

Black Belt advancement is through Dan testing.

Dan testing begins at a base level of Shodan (First Degree). 

As with Kyu rank levels, intermediary “Jun” ranks are available. There is an additional level called “Jokyu Jun” or “Senior Jun” rank.

  • Jun-Shodan
  • Jokyu Jun-Shodan
  • Shodan
  • Jun-Nidan
  • Jokyu Jun-Nidan
  • Nidan
  • Jun-Sandan (Shidobu – Senior Instructors Group)
  • Jokyu Jun-Sandan
  • Sandan
  • Testing beyond Sandan is by invitation only.

Study Progression

Yoshokai Aikido offers a step-by-step curriculum of study which gradually expands and builds on a progression of basic through advanced techniques.

At the Genyokan Dojo, this is formalized into Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced classes. (Genyokan Schedule.)  Each Dojo location may have a different organization of class schedules–but the underlying curriculum is the same. (Directory of AYANA Dojo Locations.)

Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced: open hand techniques with partner, pins, breakfalls, and weapons are studied.

Ukemi (Breakfalls)

While they can look dynamic and sometimes daunting,  Variations of Breakfalling (falling safely) are introduced one at a time, in a very step-by-step and safe manner–so that anyone can learn.

  • Back Breakfall
  • Backward Roll
  • Forward Roll
  • Jumping Breakfall

Buki (Weapons)

From Intermediate level, weapons study is also gradually introduced.

  • Bokken (wooden sword)
  • Jo (wooden staff)
  • Tanto (wooden knife)

Students study techniques both solo and with partner. 


Calisthenics and conditioning are also incorporated into training.


Clinics are special classes focused on specific aspects of Aikido study, such as Testing techniques, Buki (weapons) techniques, and Basic and Advanced Hand techniques. Clinics are open to registered AYANA members only, and are not open to spectators. 


Kenshu is a 20-month intensive study course for students 5th Kyu and above, who wish to study Aikido more deeply. Kenshu typically begins with lectures on Aikido and Budo philosophy, history, and culture. In Kenshu, techniques are studied in more detail. Yoshokai teaching techniques are also studied.

Kushida Sensei developed and started the Kenshu course in 1973, and it is continued on today by Akira Kushida Sensei