Rank in aikido is not easily or quickly attained. There are no colored belts, only white and black. Aikido is not about collecting belts.
The youth aikido program has 6 ranks before the student, regrdless of age, joins the adult ranks. These ranks, called shima (stripes), do corolate to a color. The first test will be for 1stshima. Tests are done in front of a panel of teachers. Passing of this rank test allows the student to wear a belt with a grey stripe on it to show you, and others, that you are ready for higher training.
Students who progress through all the shima ranks will then test for 6 th kyu ranks and enter the adult ranks. This stage of rank leads to the black belt ranks. Adult ranks wear only a white or black belt, with no stripes. This is the traditional rnak system of Japan that our dojo follows. While much of the material of the 6th kyu test will be familiar to the student, having had it on previous tests, it is expected taht student preform at a higher level during the test.
Ikkyu, or 1st kyu, is the last of the kyu ranks. It is the last stop on this part of the Aikido journey. The dan ranks, starting with shodan, are awarded by Hombu Dojo, the Aikido World Headquaters in Tokyo, Japan. Testing for these ranks is only done after the student is 16 or older, and is usually at special times or seminars. When a student tests for shodan, they are on the world stage!
Each rank requires a specific minimum of training days (counted from the last test) to be eligible for testing. This is a minimum, and does not mean that having that many days lets a student test. That choice is made by the dojo instructors.
The path to Shodan (1st degree Black Belt) takes, on average, approximately six or seven years of serious, frequent practice in the kyu ranks. Shodan is not the destination on your journey, it is just a stop along the way.