Ancient Daito ryu had no ranking system equivalent to the one held today in some of the lines of style. There were some denominations for stages of teaching, like Oku, or initiation; Te-hodoki , or hand-untying, etc. But there were no numerical differentiation of levels, nor colored belts assigned to each level. Today the kyu-dan system is regularly accepted, or the catalogue (mokuroku) equivalent. In some cases the kyu rankings are just nominal, and many teachers do not observe the colored belt system at all.

Above: A Daito ryu mokuroku[catalogue] of techniques.

In some dojos lower ranks are grouped in sections like shokyu, chukyu and jokyu.

A "rank chasing" student would do himself/herself a favor by staying away from Daito ryu. The true nature of the art, when taught at the traditional level, does not lend itself to status seekers, nor to those interested in displaying achievement by means of a colored belt, certificate, or a trophy. A technique practiced in haste offers nothing of value. For those in a rush for promotion and self-advancement, Daito ryu will appear to be very slow moving. It would also be unsuitable to those trying to absorb technique at a great speed. If any of those is your purpose in seeking a Daito ryu dojo, we would recommend that you pursue another art, or re-evaluate your priorities.