Yudansha roughly translate as "a person who has a dan grade"
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.
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 is perceived by the student as self-development.
The jury should feel this evolution noting that the work has entered a certain way and is moving towards a certain direction.
参段 SANDAN – The Third DAN
This is the stage where kokyu and ryoku concepts are begun to be understood. It’s the spiritual dimension of Aikido. Technical delicacy, sharpness, and efficiency begin to manifest themselves. The student reaching this point can start to train beginners.
四段 YONDAN – The Forth DAN
At this technically advanced level, the principles that guide the techniques are begun to be comprehended. It is possible to fill in for the Sensei when it is necessary.
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.
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 itself in life.
七 段 NANADAN – The Seventh DAN
One is liberated from the obscuration of self-being and converge into his true self without any devotion to worldly pleasures.
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 where everything ends. One should remember the soul of a beginner. Even the brightest water can disappear in a marsh.