Testing is a part of the Aikido learning process. As students progress in their training, they accrue experience and gain technical knowledge. Once a student has reached the requred number of practice hours, he/she will be invited to test by the chief instructor (see requrements below).
Along with learning the physical tecnhiques of Aikido, students should develop a broader philosophical understanding of the art. It is not enough to merely get out on the mat and throw people around - a true student of Aikido must seek to understand O'Sensei's vision of Budo.
To ensure this learning occurs, each kyu test has an associated book students must read. These books are avialable in our dojo library for you to take out. For dan promotion, students will write a breif essay in which they express their understanding of Aikido at that time in their practice.
Required Reading for Tests
The Art of Peace - Morihei Ueshiba (6th kyu)
A collection of sayings, quotes and poems by Morihei Ueshiba. This is the compact version that will fit in your pocket. At 125 pages, it's a great way to get a sense for how O'Sensei envisioned Aikido in his own words.
Invincible Warrior - John Stevens (5th kyu)
A pictorial biography of O'Sensei's life. Beginning with his upbringing in the Japanese countryside, this book traces his martial development from his early training in Daito-Ryu Jujitsu through his eventual creation of Aikido. There are also some wonderful candid shots of O'Sensei sprinkled throughout the book.
Budo: Teachings of the Founder of Aikido - Morihei Ueshiba (4th kyu)
In his lifetime, Morihei Ueshiba only authored one book, which he gave to select individuals. With the approval of Kisshomaru Ueshiba, his son, Kodansha was able to publish it here. Filled with some stunning pictures of the founder, this book is a historical treasure and recommended reading for anyone who practices Aikido.
Remembering O'Sensei - Edited by Susan Perry (3rd kyu)
A collection of stories, memories and reflections on Morihei Ueshiba by his students. Much of what O'Sensei himself said can be hard to understand because it's wrapped in Shinto mythology - hearing what his students have to say reveals a mischievous, warm-hearted side of the Founder we otherwise wouldn't see.
Aikido Poineers - Stanley Pranin (2nd kyu)
A collection of interviews with O'Sensei's pre-war students. This is a great way to learn about Aikido as it was first practiced, and hear the various interpreations of the art from a variety of talented Aikidoka who studied directly with the Founder.
The Heart of Aikido - Morihei Ueshiba (1st kyu)
A recent translation of writing and talks given directly by the Founder, this is one of the best collections of O'Sensei's direct words. Though often shrouded in mystical Shinto terms and imagery, O'Sensei lays out his vision of Aikido, the martial arts and the universe in rich detail.
For our testing guidelines, see the link below: