The TAE grading syllabus presents a check-list of techniques against which a student’s development of Aikido principles can be tested. It is not a teaching curriculum – which can, and should be, broader.
The emphasis at this entry level is on developing ukemi and footwork plus a clear sense of direction and basic movement skill (front and back, entering and turning) in the context of basic solid technique (kihon waza) both with weapons and empty-handed training. Attacks at the ‘grasping’ level are emphasised (katate dori, morote dori, ryote dori and kata dori) and the basic format for Aikido training, that of a ritualised agreement (kata) where attacker and receiver take turns practicing prearranged techniques (nage and uke format) is established.
At the body level the focus is on coordinating hands and feet and relaxing the body weight downwards into the ground as the principle of being balanced is emphasised throughout.
Indicative training hours prior to 6th kyu grading used in West Cumbria Aikido - 30-hr. Training time should ideally be split at 25% ken, 25% jo and 50% tai jutsu.
Tai sabaki (all three exercises)
Morote dori kokyu ho (basic form)
Suwari waza kokyu ho (basic form)
Indicative training hours prior to 5th kyu grading used in West Cumbria Aikido - an additional 50-hr (80-hr in total). Training time should ideally be split at 25% ken, 25% jo and 50% tai jutsu.
6th kyu plus:
Indicative training hours prior to 4th kyu grading used in West Cumbria Aikido - an additional 70-hr (150-hr in total). Training time should ideally be split at 25% ken, 25% jo and 50% tai jutsu.
6th and 5th kyu plus:
The following definitions aim to illustrate how the terms are used within the context of the TAE grading syllabus:
Aikido – interpreted in various ways, one of which is ‘way of harmony’.
Gyaku hanmi – foot, handwork arrangement, where nage has right (or left foot) and hand forward, and uke has the opposite. See also nage and uke.
Ikkyo – first arm/wrist pin.
Jo – the short staff.
Jo roku no kata – the six-count jo kata. See also ‘jo’ and ‘kata’.
Kamae – stance / posture.
Kata – a predetermined sequence of moves, but see also ‘kata dori’ which relates to a grab.
Kata dori – upper sleeve grab.
Katate dori – wrist grab.
Ken – used as shorthand for bokken, meaning wooden sword.
Kihon waza – basic techniques.
Kokyu ho – exercise to develop coordinated whole-body power.
Kosa dori – cross-body wrist grab.
Kote gaeshi – wrist turn-out technique.
Kyu – a level of white belt grade.
Mae ukemi – forward rolls / breakfalls.
Morote dori – arm grab where your opponent grabs your lower arm with both hands.
Nage – the one who throws, the one who does the technique.
Nikkyo – second arm/wrist pin.
Omote – techniques where you move across the front of your partner.
Ryote dori – where both wrists are grabbed.
Shiho nage – a four-direction throw.
Suburi – a short and specific movement / sequence of movements with a weapon (see 'jo' and 'ken') undertaken as a solo exercise.
Suwari waza – techniques undertaken from a kneeling (seated) position.
Ki no nagre – a level of technique undertaken in a flowing dynamic fashion.
Tai jutsu – empty-handed / unarmed Aikido techniques of pinning and throwing.
Tai no henko – body turning exercise.
Tai sabaki – solo body movement exercises.
Uke – the one who attacks and also receives the technique.
Ukemi – the art of receiving a technique, including rolls and breakfalls.
Ura – techniques where you move to the back of your partner.
Ushiro ukemi – rear or backward rolls / breakfalls.
Waza – group of techniques.