Kwan Jang: great posts! At our school, a student who trains in the dojang about 6-8 hours weekly (or more) and practices at home and is deemed ready to test at each opportunity, it will take at the very least 2 and a half years... although the normnal time within our school is about 3-4 years for 1st dan. (Some people who rise quicker have a background in another art and pick the concepts and effective practice quicker.) Take a look in my journal to see what we cover in classes on a normal basis. Something I wanted to point out though concerns the training of an art in Korea for example (I trained in Hapkido and TKD and dan tested in Korea). The process was faster than in the states... because of a couple different reasons. The first reason was that the schools I choose offered lots of classes and I was able to get into a class (equivilent to a "Black Belt club") that met morning and night daily. We trained about 4-5 hours daily and were able to progress faster. Granted, the class was limited to students approved by the master. The other main concern is that I found the curriculum for both TKD and Hapkido in Korea to be much simpler. We learned fairly small blocks of technqiues and practiced them over and over and I learned most of the required techniques for black belt at white and yellow belt levels. The rest of the time was spent practicing the technqiues over and over. For black belt we weren't evaluated on how many diffiult and flashy technqiues we knew... but rather on how well we could apply the handfull of basic technqiues that we had first encountered at the beginning of our training. This was to show the true essence of a omprhension of the basic concepts, I believe. I think some programs in the states try to be comprehensive and therefore need a bigger array of techniques and skills... and this in itself will necessitate a longer period of basic learning just to reach 1st dan. I know that's how our school works.