In Mikao Usui’s time, the masters most likely did not teach Reiki in the way we know today. Students came daily to be with their master and to practice. This is seen clearly in the story of Hawayo Takata as she described her time as a student of Chujiro Hayashi. It is thought that when he came to visit Hawayo Takata, they needed to begin to teach in a different way because the circumstances were different. Eventually, the First and Second Degree classes emerged as separate time frames in which a portion of the teaching was passed on to the student.
This form of Reiki practice emphasizes preparation for each of the levels of initiation. This is represented by the length and timing of the classes, the monetary exchange for the teaching, and the commitment to daily practice. Preparation for mastery takes the form of a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a chosen initiating master. This preparatory process is recommended for no less than one year and more are advised.
At this time of this writing, the average time for preparation for a Reiki-Master-Candidate is 3-5 years after the student has had several years of 1st and 2nd degree practice.