Policy on Kyu Promotion

Kyu (white belt) tests are to be conducted by the candidate’s personal instructor or another ASU instructor in good standing as follows:

  • Tests for Rokyu through Sankyu may be conducted by an instructor ranked Shodan or above;
  • Tests for Rokyu through Nikyu may be conducted by an instructor ranked Nidan or above;
  • Tests for Rokyu through Ikkyu may be conducted by an instructor ranked Sandan or above

Policy on Dan Promotion

Testing Venue: Dan testing is to take place before a testing board: either at an ASU seminar, intensive or camp lead by one or more ASU instructors or at a “testing-only” event at an ASU dojo, at which other ASU Dojos are invited to participate. It is recommended that the student submit a Candidate Biography to the testing board prior to the test.

Yudansha Testing Boards: These will consist of senior ASU instructors (5th dan or above) in good standing. At a minimum, the board will include:

  • For shodan ranking, one 6th dan; or two 5th dans, one of whom is the candidate’s personal instructor.
  • For nidan ranking, a 6th dan and one other of at least 5th dan rank.
  • For sandan ranking, two 6th dans.
  • For any of these ranks, the candidate may test before a single 7th dan.

Policy on Signing Yudansha Passport Books: These may be signed by instructors ranked 6th Dan or above. In order to be certified or stamped for an ASU event, the attendee must have participated in at least ¾ of the event. Single night or single day attendance does not qualify for a multiple-day event. E.g., for a 4-session seminar, attendance must be a minimum of three sessions; for a 4-day camp/intensive attendance must be minimum three days; for a 5-day event, attendance must be minimum four days; and on a 7-day event, attendance must be minimum five days. Any exceptions to the seminar and camp/intensive requirement must be reviewed by the Examination Committee six months before the scheduled test and written approval received. Anyone needing an exception and arriving at a testing venue without this written approval will not be allowed to test. It is the responsibility of the candidate’s instructor to verify that all requirements are met and to notify the testing board of this in advance.

Materials to be Submitted: The ASU Dan Application Form (Shodan Application, Nidan-Sandan-Yondan Applicationfor the appropriate rank is to be filled online and the printed pages (Candidate Biography, Application for Replacement Passbook if applicable) duly filled in and signed, and must be submitted to ASU along with the testing fees as soon as possible after the examination in order to validate qualifications and to send on to Aikikai Hombu in a timely manner.

Approved ASU Seminars for Dan Requirements

There are published requirements for attending a certain number of approved ASU seminars and camps in order to qualify for black belt testing.  The following requirements must be met for an event to qualify in meeting a student’s black belt qualifications.

  1. For an event to be billed as an “ASU Event”, it must feature a majority of ASU member instructors. Then the ASU organizational logo and the term “ASU (Misc Name) Event” may be used in promoting the event on the dojo website, fliers, etc.
  2. For an event to satisfy the “seminar attendance requirement” for Dan testing qualification, it must be taught by an ASU member instructor of 6th Dan, or 7th Dan, or Saotome Sensei.
  3. For an event to satisfy the “Two Four-day Intensives attendance requirement” for Dan testing qualification, it must be taught by an ASU member instructor of 6th Dan, or 7th Dan, or Saotome Sensei. Aiki Randori (Aikido Eastside), Aiki Principles (Nashville), and Aiki Sword (Orlando) are taught by Sensei George Ledyard every year.

  4. For an event to satisfy the “camp attendance requirement” for Dan testing qualification it must feature a majority of ASU member teachers of 6th Dan or 7th Dan rank. These are the only approved, annual seminars that qualify to meet the ASU requirements for yudansha “camp attendance”:

Approved Annual ASU Testing Seminars

In order to help ASU students plan for and identify qualified yudansha examination seminars,  the senior instructors and Dojo Cho of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba organize a number of qualified, annual, regional seminars around the United States. These seminars are designed to give all students the opportunity to test with their peers in front of a qualified panel of senior ASU teachers for ranks up to and including sandan.  Additional seminars (beyond those listed below) led by qualified rokudan and nanadan instructors may be listed on the ASU seminar calendar.

  • ASU Summer Camp, held annually in Washington D.C. (around July 4)
  • ASU International Winter Intensive, held annually in St. Pete Beach Florida (December 26-January 1)
  • The Annual Florida Shihan Seminar is held in mid-August of every year, and rotates annually between Tampa (the University of South Florida Aikido and the Aikido Chuseikan Dojo), Orlando (Shindai Aikikai) and Sarasota (ASU Sarasota Dojo). The seminar is taught by and presided by a panel of at least five rokudan or shihan instructors.  This seminar is the oldest of the rotating ASU testing seminars, having been founded in 2002.
  • Washington-DC area testing seminars are held quarterly and in partnership with several regional Dojos.  The tests are held in March (Baltimore), June (Shobukan), October (Aikido of Northern Virginia) and December (Shobukan), and are presided by a panel of Shobukan rokudan instructors and local godan (and higher) instructors from partner dojos.
  • Ledyard Sensei Annual Randori and Weapons Intensives – Yudansha testing is regularly scheduled at this seminar series hosted by Aikido Eastside.

ASU has several annual, repeating seminars that are presided by a senior Shihan instructor, at which testing is also encouraged. Testing is also held at many shihan seminars across the US.  Please refer to the ASU event calendar and inquire with the seminar organizers for details.

Annual ASU Test Preparation Workshops

A number of annual yudansha test preparation seminars are organized at ASU Dojos across the US.  These workshops are intended to focus specifically on the core expectations for yudansha promotion, and to give students the opportunity to participate in mock testing and gain practice for the exams themselves.  While participation in these seminars is not requisite, students are strongly encouraged to participate at one of these venues.  Participating students and instructors alike have expressed that these workshops and seminars are very helpful for setting expectations, increasing confidence, and improving test performance.  Students from any ASU dojo can participate in any of these seminars.

  • Tampa Bay, Florida: The Aikido Chuseikan Dojo (Tampa Florida) in partnership with the JionJuku Aikido Academy (Largo Florida) has been holding preparation workshops since 2010 every July (in preparation for the annual Florida Shihan Seminar), and occasionally November (in preparation for the ASU Winter Intensive).  For details contact info@tampaaikido.com.
  • Washington D.C.: The ASU Shobukan Dojo in Washington D.C. hosts monthly weapons workshops and Dan test preparation classes throughout the year (with a break through months of June through August).  The classes are held on the 3rd Saturday from 1:00pm to 3:30pm and are open to all ASU students. For details go to their home page at http://aikido-shobukan.org/ or contact .
  • Seattle, Washington: Aikido Eastside hosts a series of One-Day Test Preparation workshops, regular weapons intensives, and randori intensive seminars.  For more information, please visit the events calendar or the Aikido Eastside website.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: The Shidokan Dojo hosts an annual four-day intensive focusing on the requirements & preparation for shodan, nidan & sandan examination, presided over by John Messores Sensei.  The event will be held annually in Las Vegas NV every April. For details visit the event website at http://www.usashidokan.com/events.html.

In addition to the above formal preparation workshops, additional test-focused seminars may be hosted throughout the year. Please refer to the ASU event calendar for details.

Promotion Application Forms and Resources

  • Candidate Biography Sheet. (09/2016, Microsoft Word).  This form is required to be filled out by the yudansha test candidate’s instructor, and submitted to the coordinator of the testing event.
  • Shodan Application Form. (09/2016, Microsoft Excel).  This form must be filled out by all candidates for shodan rank, and submitted to the coordinator of the testing event.
  • Application Form for Nidan, Sandan, and Yondan. (09/2016, Microsoft Excel). This form must be filled out by all candidates for nidan, sandan, or yondan ranks, and submitted to the coordinator of the testing event.
  • Application for Replacement Passbook. (09/2016, Microsoft Excel).  Candidates for nidan or higher ranks, or existing yudansha may use this form to apply for an official replacement passbook from Hombu.  This form is to be submitted to the coordinator of the testing event.
  • ASU Yudansha Exam Preparation Handbook (2011). A guidebook of useful advice from ASU’s top instructors on how to mentally and physically prepare for a strong test.

For each of the Application Forms, please follow all instructions on the first worksheet and fill out all required fields.  Upon completion, print the second worksheet (which will be auto-filled with the information you provided), and submit the printed forms to the coordinator of the testing event (who may be the presiding examiner).  The coordinator / presiding examiner will submit all forms to ASU for processing and review.  Candidates who have questions or problems completing the forms may contact admin@