Meaning and Levels of Dan Degrees
Written by Nobuyoshi TAMURA Shihan.
1 – 初段 SHODAN – The First DAN:
SHO represents the beginning, beginner.
The body eventually begins to respond to the given commands and to produce technical forms. One can have ambiguous ideas about what Aikido could be.
At this point, we must force ourselves to apply the techniques as precisely as possible and to train accurately.
2 – 弐 段 NIDAN – The Second DAN:
While more intense mental continuity is being revealed, at the same time strength and speed are added to the first dan rank. This progress perceived by the student as self-development.
The jury should feel this progress noticing that the work has a certain form and is evolving towards a certain direction.
3 – 参段 SANDAN – The Third DAN:
This is the stage where the kokyu-ryoku concept begins to be understood. It is the start of the spiritual dimension of Aikido. Technical delicacy, sharpness, and effectiveness begin to manifest themselves. The student reaching this point can start to train beginners.
4 – 四段 YONDAN – The Forth DAN:
At this technically advanced level, the principles that guide the techniques begin to be comprehended. It is possible to fill in for the Sensei when it is necessary.
5 – 伍 段 GODAN – The Fifth DAN:
The art of Aikido is being liberated from the physical obstacles while it passes beyond one’s spiritual being.
6 – 六 段 ROKUDAN – The Sixth DAN:
As techniques become state of the art, movements are fluent and solid. The person who follows her/him must feel the serenity of the progress. Strength and physical flexibility just like the purity of the spirit merge into behaviors and express themselves in life.
7 – 七 段 NANADAN – The Seventh DAN:
One is liberated from the obscuration of self-being and converges into his true self without any devotion to worldly pleasures.
8 – 八段 HACHIDAN – The Eighth DAN:
Beyond life and death, with a clear and open mind, in the ability to bring the opposites together, s/he refuses to fight, refuses to have enemies. Unguided and uninvited, s/he is the eternal winner. It is explained with the words of O Sensei
“To face the enemy, I just have to stand without saying a word.”
This is not the stage that everything ends. One should remember the soul of a beginner. Even the brightest water can disappear in a marsh.
The required fundamentals to be eligible for a dan level
|The way one walks
|The guard, basic position
|The willpower, energy/vitality
|KOKORO NO MOCHI KATA
|Control of the senses
|Distance and timing
|Mental and physical sight
|NICHIJO NO TAIDO
|The state of mind
|Movement and settlement of the body from one certain point to another