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Grades Edit

The kyū(級) and dan(段) grading system, created in 1883, is used to indicate one's proficiency in kendo. Starting from the beginning, kyu are numbered in descending order with the lowest grade being sixth kyu (六級 rokkyū) and the highest grade being first kyu (一級 ikkyū). The next level up from first kyu is first dan. Dan grades then ascend in skill from first dan (初段 shodan) to tenth dan (十段 jūdan). Ranks granted among member organizations are mutually recognized as equivalent[1] There are no belts or colors that signify kendo grades; those below dan-level may essentially dress the same as those above dan-level.

Rank Examinations (Shinsa) Edit

All candidates for examination face a panel of examiners. A larger, more qualified panel is usually assembled to assess the higher dan grades. Kendo examinations typically consist of jitsugi (a demonstration of the skill of the applicants through matches), Nihon Kendo Kata, and a written exam. The hachidan exam is extremely difficult, often with a pass rate of less than 1 percent.[36]

Requirements for dan grade examination within FIK affiliated organizations.
Dan Prerequisite Minimum Age
1 (Shodan 一段) Ikkyu 14 years old
2 (Nidan 二段) At least 1 year of training after receiving 1-dan ~15
3 (Sandan 三段) At least 2 year of training after receiving 2-dan ~17
4 (Yondan 四段) At least 3 year of training after receiving 3-dan ~20
5 (Godan 五段) At least 4 year of training after receiving 4-dan ~24
6 (Rokudan 六段) At least 5 year of training after receiving 5-dan ~29
7 (Nanadan 七段) At least 6 year of training after receiving 6-dan ~35
8 (Hachidan 八段) At least 10 years of training after receiving 7-dan At least 46 years old
9 (Kyūdan 九段)* Hachidan At least 65 years old
10 (Jūdan 十段)* Kyūdan

*No longer awarded

Once a kendoka turns 60, changes in eligibility apply.

Dan Prerequisite Age
6 (Rokudan 六段) Two years or more after 5 Dan 60+
7 (Nanadan 七段) Three years or more after 6 Dan 63+
8 (Hachidan 八段) Five years or more after 7 Dan 68+

Hachidan and Beyond Edit

As of 2000, Eighth-dan (八段 hachidan) is the highest dan grade attainable through examination. The grades of ninth-dan (九段 kyūdan) and tenth dan (十段 jūdan) are no longer awarded, but a few ninth-dan kendōka are still alive today. International Kendo Federation (FIK) grading rules allow national kendo organizations to establish a special committee to consider the award of those grades. Only five, now-deceased, kendōka were ever granted the rank of 10th-dan following the establishment in 1952 of the All Japan Kendo Federation. The five kendoka, all of whom had been students of Naitō Takaharu at the Budo Senmon Gakko, were:

Titles (Shogo) Edit

Titles (称号 shōgō) can be earned in addition to the above dan grades by kendōka. These are renshi (錬士), kyōshi (教士), and hanshi (範士). The title is affixed to the front of the dan grade when spoken, for example renshi rokudan (錬士六段). The qualifications for each title are below.</p>

Title Required Grade Conditions Min. Age
Renshi(錬士) Rokudan (6) After receiving 6-Dan, one must wait 1 or more years, pass screening by the kendo organization, receive a recommendation from the regional organization president, and then pass an exam on kendo theory. ~30
Kyōshi(教士) Renshi Nanadan (7) After receiving 7-dan, one must wait 2 or more years, pass screening by the kendo organization, and receive a recommendation from the regional organization president then pass an exam on kendo theory. ~37
Hanshi(範士) Kyōshi Hachidan (8) After receiving 8-dan, one must wait 8 or more years, pass screening by the kendo organization, receive a recommendation from the regional organization president and the national kendo organization president then pass an exam on kendo theory. ~54

Kata

Nihon Kendo Kata, created in 1933.Main article: Kendo Kata

References Edit

  1. Standard Rules for Dan/Kyu Examination.Tokyo, Japan: International Kendo Federation. December 2006
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