In Hokuo Aikikai we use a grading system that puts great weight on weapon techniques, especially jo and bokken, all according to Nishio sensei's aikido philosophy. The unarmed techniques also focus on the self-defence aspect, and all techniques must be perfomed with complete control of the partner with adequate joint locks.
Requirements for dan examinations in Hokuo Aikikai
All techniques displayed during the examination must be performed in the way and according to the principles taught by Nishio sensei, from the initial entry to the final joint lock, with full control of the partner.
Apart from general examination requirements such as technical expertise and diversity, balance, awaze, maai and aiki, the applicant shall at the examination display particular emphasis on entry, meeting the partner, timing and partner control through the entire technique, using correct atemi and joint locks in the manner taught by Nishio sensei.
Moreover, each grade demands a corresponding understanding of the system developed by Nishio sensei in his aikido, i.e. the connection between tachiwaza and weapon techniques (tantodori, bokken and jo no tebiki, ken tai ken and ken tai jo).
Also under scrutiny will be the applicant's general conduct, such as etiquette, posture, correct footwork and correct handling of weapons, both when using them and when disarming an opponent.
Additionally, the applicant is expected to be prepared to show any technique from any lower grade (including kyu grades) at the behest of the examiner.