Aikido is non-competitive and there are no tournaments. The first adult grading is 7th Kyu (pronounced 'Q'). You progress your way up to 1st Kyu before grading for your 1st Dan, known as Shodan (black belt). As with other Japanese martial arts, the black belt grade has a number of rankings, with first dan being the lowest, second dan the next rank up and so forth.
Rimutaka Aikido Club holds gradings up to four times a year and grading is by invitation based on attendance and skill level. Children's gradings are held on an 'as required' basis, again based on attendance and skill level.
Adults and children each have their own syllabus and grading structure.
How often should I train?
When you begin training, once or twice a week is good. Soon, however, most people find that if they are training just once a week, this is not enough to maintain progress. Training twice a week means you maintain your level and make steady progress. If you regularly train three times a week, you will make excellent progress.