PDA

View Full Version : Making sense of aikido lineage/associations


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


dalen7
04-08-2008, 02:31 PM
My club is a part of the Hungarian Aikido-Culture Association.
This is under N. Tamura Sensei 8th Dan.
I suppose our "technical leader" (suppose that is country leader?) is Varszegi Rudolf 5th Dan. (I have never seen or heard of him until now.)

As I believe I have mentioned elsewhere here, the regional leader is Imre Martin 4th Dan, followed by the sensei of our city, Tamas Toth 1st Dan. (Both of them are pretty impressive.)

Anyway, I suppose this post is to see how this association fits into the whole scheme of things in the Aikido world.

We have 6 kyus which follow quite a different testing system than what I see posted on the net.

Was curious if there are any 'relatives' out there, so to speak, that follow a similar testing path and perhaps are connected to Tamura Sensei?

I know there are Hungarians lurking on the boards that may be able to shed some light onto this. :)
{And again, Im curious of any other connections to this system throughout the aikdio world...so you dont have to be from Hungary to respond.} :)

Peace

dAlen

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2008, 02:39 PM
One good place to start is to do a search on Aikido Jounal website about N. Tamura Sensei. Another is to search online for other specific dojo associated with him, and to see if they have a testing structure posted.

I might also question your local, regional, and national instructors to see if they spent any significant time under other instructors. And / or ask them directly...

Best,
Ron

dalen7
04-08-2008, 02:49 PM
One good place to start is to do a search on Aikido Jounal website about N. Tamura Sensei. Another is to search online for other specific dojo associated with him, and to see if they have a testing structure posted.

I might also question your local, regional, and national instructors to see if they spent any significant time under other instructors. And / or ask them directly...

Best,
Ron

This is the first I have heard of either of the 2.
(Well I believe I have heard Sensei Tamura's name mentioned last year around the time that we had the seminar, but with the language barrier some of the info gets crossed in how I understand it. (japanese names, then hungarian to english...hehe)

Your right, a search is a good place to start...though it would be interesting to see if any members here are connected. :)

I wonder how all of this would be translated over if I ever move back stateside...seeing the testing is really totally different. Dont suppose I would have to start again, but maybe have to re-test to establish where Im at in that given system? (I have compiled a list of requirements for each kyu so that I can see what is expected from the 2 systems.)

Anyway...again thanks for the reply. :)

Peace

dAlen

Karen Wolek
04-08-2008, 03:24 PM
Tamura Sensei is quite well-known in USAF circles. He teaches at our seminars all the time. I think that when you return to the states, if you join a USAF dojo, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Peter Goldsbury
04-08-2008, 08:42 PM
I wonder how all of this would be translated over if I ever move back stateside...seeing the testing is really totally different. Dont suppose I would have to start again, but maybe have to re-test to establish where Im at in that given system? (I have compiled a list of requirements for each kyu so that I can see what is expected from the 2 systems.)

Anyway...again thanks for the reply. :)

Peace

dAlen

Mr Johnson,

I have experienced this problem with members of the US military who are stationed in Japan. Kyuu grades were never a problem, but if the members were yudansha, the crucial point was who signed their dan application forms. For the Aikikai Hombu, there has to be a lineage link here. For example, if I myself came to Hungary, held a grading examination and awarded you 3rd dan, the Hombu would want to know my own connection with the person who gave you 2nd dan. In the case of Tamura Shihan, however, this would not matter, since Tamura Sensei is one of the very few shihans attached to the Hombu who can award Hombu dan ranks anywhere.

As for your organization, I suspect that there is no one posting on these boards who can give you authoritative information. You would need to contact the Hombu directly (Mr M Tani, aikikai.or.jp). I see that your association has not received Hombu Recognition, but I do not know why. Mr Varszegi once came to an IAF Congress seeking membership. We would not give it to him because his organization did not have Hombu Recognition. Tamura Sensei was at the Congress and might well have discussed the matter with the Hombu. However, Recognition has still not been given. Other organizations have come to us with the same purpose and the answer has always been the same.

As for you own personal situation, I suppose it depends on how much you value membership of an aikido organization. Many posting here are independent and there are very good reasons for this. However, if you intend to return to the USA and continue your training in an organization like the USAF, then your dan lineage will become very important.

Best wishes,

dalen7
04-09-2008, 01:52 AM
Tamura Sensei is quite well-known in USAF circles. He teaches at our seminars all the time. I think that when you return to the states, if you join a USAF dojo, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Thanks Karen... :)

peace

dAlen

dalen7
04-09-2008, 02:03 AM
In the case of Tamura Shihan, however, this would not matter, since Tamura Sensei is one of the very few shihans attached to the Hombu who can award Hombu dan ranks anywhere.

You would need to contact the Hombu directly (Mr M Tani, aikikai.or.jp). I see that your association has not received Hombu Recognition, but I do not know why. Mr Varszegi once came to an IAF Congress seeking membership. We would not give it to him because his organization did not have Hombu Recognition. Tamura Sensei was at the Congress and might well have discussed the matter with the Hombu. However, Recognition has still not been given. Other organizations have come to us with the same purpose and the answer has always been the same.

However, if you intend to return to the USA and continue your training in an organization like the USAF, then your dan lineage will become very important.

Amazing and very insightful indeed.

So if I understand you correctly, Tamura Sensei is connected to Hombu and can give ranks virtually anywhere.
However any ranks received by him in the organization here in Hungary are not recognized by Hombu?

I suppose I was under the impression that if there was a ranking connecting official to the Hombu that it automatically created recognition...I suppose its two different things and just a matter of this organization obtaining recognition.

Again, I truly am not aware of the ins/outs of the politics of Aikido here in Hungary - Im happy I can learn Aikido despite that Im learning in a language I dont really understand. - Hungarian and Japanese... :)

However I will try to look into this further and take your advise in contacting Hombu to try to get clarification on this matter. It would be nice to know...especially after all of the time and effort that goes into learning. (i.e., my sensei just received his 1st dan...after 10+ years I believe it took him, and he is truly good.)

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
04-09-2008, 03:02 AM
I suppose I will add that if they ever do get recognition that the testing requirements are going to have to change quite a bit.

Looking at Hombus grading system its the typical 5 kyu ranks vs. the 6 we have.

One thing that I would love to know is where we got the current system. I suppose I will find out soon enough, I have tried to contact the top of the organization here in Hungary. (They need to update their website as one of the contact emails was no good.)

But seeing that there are a lot of dojos listed for Hungary in the search here at aikiweb there has to be a Hungarian on these boards that can give insight into where the totally different grading requirements came about. (Once you reach dan its all the same...well I suppose the main difference is that the our dan test appear to last quite a bit longer as the system we use includes quite a bit that really isnt found in the 5 level system...as far as testing goes.)

Anyway,

Peace

dAlen

Joe Bowen
04-09-2008, 03:20 AM
So if I understand you correctly, Tamura Sensei is connected to Hombu and can give ranks virtually anywhere. However any ranks received by him in the organization here in Hungary are not recognized by Hombu? Peace dAlen

Dalen,

This is not necessarily the case. If Tamura Sensei is the grading Shihan for the group in Hungary for the Aikikai, he submits his testing results to the Aikikai Hombu dojo and the Hombu dojo creates the dan certificates. All Dan grades issued under the auspices of the Aikikai umbrella are created and issued by the Hombu dojo and they maintain records of the specific certificates issued. I believe, and Mr. Goldsbury can correct me if I'm wrong, that all the dan ranks issued by the Aikikai bear the seal and mark of the Doshu. Your organization may not have an independent affiliation with Hombu dojo but may well be considered part of Tamura Sensei's organization.
During the many years I spent in Korea, our organization (the KAF) was affiliated with Kobayashi Dojos in Japan. Kobayashi Yasuo Shihan has always supported the Aikikai Hombu and before the KAF received independent recognition from the Aikikai, we received Dan grade certificates issued by the Aikikai through Kobayashi Dojos. We were tested by Kobayashi Sensei or one of his Shihan in his organization, the results were posted to the Aikikai and they issued the certificates.
If you ever travel to Japan and the Aikikai Hombu dojo, bring a photo copy of the certificate and they will verify it as one of theirs. They keep some very meticulous records....;)
The Aikikai issued certificates are easy to recognize as they bear a distinctive water mark that is visable when you hold the certificate in front of a light source.
So, don't jump to any conclusions about the Hungarian teachers certificates or lineages just because their organization doesn't appear as independently affiliated with the Aikikai. They may well just be one layer underneath Tamura Sensei.

dalen7
04-09-2008, 03:33 AM
Dalen,
So, don't jump to any conclusions about the Hungarian teachers certificates or lineages just because their organization doesn't appear as independently affiliated with the Aikikai. They may well just be one layer underneath Tamura Sensei.

Thanks for the post.
The only thing that lingers is the strange testing system we have which is not the standard 5 grading system presented on Hombus website...none the less I feel a lot closer to the answer than just a couple of days ago.

Peace

dAlen

Pauliina Lievonen
04-09-2008, 04:42 AM
Dalen, kyu grade testing varies a lot from country to country and organisation to organisation even between Hombu recognised organisations. There isn't a standard. A lot of Aikikai orgs have six kyu grades.

kvaak
Pauliina

Peter Goldsbury
04-09-2008, 04:44 AM
Mr Johnson,

Thank you. However, your post requires a few more comments.

Amazing and very insightful indeed.

So if I understand you correctly, Tamura Sensei is connected to Hombu and can give ranks virtually anywhere.
However any ranks received by him in the organization here in Hungary are not recognized by Hombu?
No. Joseph Bowen is correct. Unless Tamura Sensei has delivered his own dan ranks, which the Aikikai would not know about anyway, or the organization in Hungary has forbidden him to conduct dan examination (which is unlikely), any grades he has awarded in Hungary would be recognized by the Hombu, with a numbered certificate signed by the Doshu.

I suppose I was under the impression that if there was a ranking connecting official to the Hombu that it automatically created recognition...I suppose its two different things and just a matter of this organization obtaining recognition.
No. The situation is more complicated. If you take the case of Korea, for example, there was an organization recognized by the Aikikai and a member of the IAF, but they actually did hapkido, which, despite being written in the same characters as aikido, is a completely different art. The situation was made more confusing because the senior hapkido instructor regularly visited the Aikikai and said he was practising the same art as the Aikikai was. This organization was expelled from the IAF. Yasuo Kobayashi is an old Hombu deshi and his organization is 100% Aikikai. So the IAF will soon have a new member for Korea. I was approached by Kobayashi Sensei's son a few years ago, who asked how Korea could join the IAF. My reply was that the organization had to have Recognition first. They received this shortly afterwards. I think that a number of Japanese instructors visit Hungary, but this is not enough to create an aikido organization.

Again, I truly am not aware of the ins/outs of the politics of Aikido here in Hungary - Im happy I can learn Aikido despite that Im learning in a language I dont really understand. - Hungarian and Japanese... :)
Actually, Eastern Europe, as well as Hungary, is rather complicated. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who first had the dream of spreading aikido outside Japan and this was a direct consequence of Japan's defeat in World War II. However, he sent Japanese instructors to places like the UK and the US, Germany, Italy, France: countries that were directly involved in the war. Eastern Europe was hardly touched. In any case it was difficult to obtain visas.

Then shihans like Masatake Fujita began to visit Eastern Europe and aikido organizations were created. Thus, I myself visited Hungary and Bulgaria a few years ago and taught a course in Budapest to members of an organization created by Michel Gollo, who worked for an airline. Gollo was trying to create an organization, obtain Hombu Recognition and join the IAF, but local politics prevented this. There were too many local quarrels and splits.

I am British by nationality and began aikido in the UK, nearly 40 years ago. There was a resident Japanese shihan, sent by the Hombu, so the connection was already clear. But the number of shihans like Tamura Sensei, who were direct deshi of the Founder and Kisshomaru, is dwindling and soon there will be none left. No one teaching aikido will have had direct knowledge of the Founder and the Aikikai is already planning for this situation (the planning is not without controversy). It will no longer be possible for Japanese instructors to reside outside Japan and teach aikido professionally. Any Japanese who do live outside Japan will be there because of their jobs, not because of aikido. So the focus will move to the organization, not on the individual shihan. The organization has to be stable and have a history of good training, teaching and examining (as these are understood by the Aikikai). As I stated in my previous post, I do not know why no organization in Hungary has yet been given Aikikai Recognition.

However I will try to look into this further and take your advise in contacting Hombu to try to get clarification on this matter. It would be nice to know...especially after all of the time and effort that goes into learning. (i.e., my sensei just received his 1st dan...after 10+ years I believe it took him, and he is truly good.)

Peace

dAlen
Can I ask who awarded your teacher his first dan?

Best wishes,

dalen7
04-09-2008, 05:38 AM
Dalen, kyu grade testing varies a lot from country to country and organisation to organisation even between Hombu recognised organisations. There isn't a standard. A lot of Aikikai orgs have six kyu grades.

kvaak
Pauliina

Ah...didnt realize that. Thanks for the clarification.
(I would have thought there would have been a strict(er) guide for those under Hombu.

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
04-09-2008, 05:53 AM
1) Gollo was trying to create an organization, obtain Hombu Recognition and join the IAF, but local politics prevented this. There were too many local quarrels and splits.

2) It will no longer be possible for Japanese instructors to reside outside Japan and teach aikido professionally....
So the focus will move to the organization, not on the individual shihan.

3) Can I ask who awarded your teacher his first dan?

Best wishes,

1) The first bit, unfortunately, sounds like what you could expect here. {But I suppose that is human nature and can be found anywhere.}

2) The second part, above, may clarify why there are so many different kyu grading systems - or no standardized system under Hombu.
2a) So from my understanding the grading systems depend more on who the Shihan is vs. a set standard between the Shihans and Hombu.
2b) If the above is the case, it seems that this is what Hombu will try to accomplish after the last Japanese Shihan - who knew the founder - passes away. - But why japanese instructors have to stay in Japan...well, suppose that is the controversial part obviously.

3) My sensei just tested this past Sunday and received his 1st Dan rank. I honestly do not know who administered the test - but my bet is he was in Budapest, and it may have well been Imre Marton, 4th dan regional director who tested him.
3a) As for dan ranks Im pretty sure that Tamura Sensei only comes for seminar purposes...and is not at all testing ceremonies.
I say this because he was supposed to come last year but could not make it, so its more of a special occasion thing.

So I suppose the remaining question would be:
Did Tamura Sensei give the rank of black belt to the sensei that gave my instructor his? Would this not be official? Or would Tamura sensei have to actually be there to award the black belt.
(Even though the person awarding it received his black belt from Tamura Sensei?)

If he has to be present for all black belt testings then it may very well be that no one here is 'valid' or could become valid. In that case Hungary may stay outside of Hombu.

Mind you, this is all still new to me the political aspects of it, and ranking really. Your post went a long way in clearing quite a bit up though.

Thanks for your time.

Peace

dAlen

MM
04-09-2008, 01:04 PM
No one teaching aikido will have had direct knowledge of the Founder and the Aikikai is already planning for this situation (the planning is not without controversy). It will no longer be possible for Japanese instructors to reside outside Japan and teach aikido professionally. Any Japanese who do live outside Japan will be there because of their jobs, not because of aikido. So the focus will move to the organization, not on the individual shihan.

Sensei,
Hope you are doing well. Have you retired yet? What are you planning on doing with all that "free" time once you do? :)

And you've posted some news. There are quite a few ripples that could come of that. How are they going to handle the current Japanese instructors already abroad? How are they going to handle the aikido organizations once the current Japanese instructors are gone? There are tons of questions ... this is a major step for the Aikikai. Can you elaborate more on this?

Thanks,
Mark

Peter Goldsbury
04-11-2008, 07:41 AM
Hello Mark,

Sensei,
Hope you are doing well. Have you retired yet? What are you planning on doing with all that "free" time once you do? :)

I am fine, thank you. I retired at midnight on March 31. A few days beforehand, the President gave me a piece of paper looking rather like a dan diploma, which stated that I was a Meiyo Kyouju (Emeritus Professor). I do not know what this means in the US, but in Japan it means that you have retired as a 'normal' prof.

What will I do? Well, I have loads of books on Japanese culture and other subjects which I still need to read, but I intend to write at least one. I would like to write an aikido novel, a thriller with an intense and convoluted plot and lots of mysterious murders done by a serial killer (who clearly seems to be an expert in 'internal' skills), probably set in some intensive summer training seminar. Something like The Name of the Rose or the Cadfael thrillers, with an honest but 'dumb' hero, who is constantly aided by 'experts'.

And you've posted some news. There are quite a few ripples that could come of that. How are they going to handle the current Japanese instructors already abroad? How are they going to handle the aikido organizations once the current Japanese instructors are gone? There are tons of questions ... this is a major step for the Aikikai. Can you elaborate more on this?

Thanks,
Mark

I think the writing has been on the wall for some time, only it has not been very legible. If you look at how the Aikikai's international regulations have changed over the years, you will see that there has been a subtle shift from individual shihans to aikido organizations. Thus, in any recognized organization there is a 'person in charge' (Japanese: sekininsha), who may (or, NOTE, who may not) be in charge of teaching & examining.

Aikikai recognition is always tied to the power to conduct dan examinations and this has recently been coupled with a classification of shihan ranks. The classification was a response to requests from Japanese shihans residing in the US, that non-Japanese of 6th and 7th dan should also be shihans.

Thus, there are 'super' shihan, like (in the US) Yamada, Chiba and Sugano, who were direct students of O Sensei, and who can award dan grades anywhere. 'Lesser' shihan (which includes all non-Japanese shihan) can award grades only within their 'sphere of influence', which might be an organization or only a dojo. Eventually, there will be no more 'super shihan' and so the shihan title will be very closely tied to the organization.

At present the USAF 'shihan-kai' does not include any non-Japanese shihan, so there will need to be a change at some point, otherwise it will cease to exist. (Actually, the shihankai was created before the USAF existed and was simply a friendship and mutual support group of the Japanese shihans residing in the US: Yamada, Kanai, Tohei Akira, later, Chiba, Shibata, Kawahara from Canada, and Kurita from Mexico.)

I suspect that those instructors abroad who are 'super-shihan' are quite upset about the changes. In the past few months I have had serious conversations with two 8th dan shihans, who are worried about the possibility that all they have tried to do while living abroad and teaching aikido as they learned from the Founder will go for nothing.

One part of the problem is a generation shift. If you have trained with the Founder, then things are never quite the same afterwards. Another part of the problem is a change in attitudes. The Aikikai is no longer an organization of individual 'uchi-deshi', living a semi-monastic existence and undergoing daily shugyou for hours at a time. This might have been true in the Golden Age of the Kobukan (though I doubt this ever existed), but it is not true now. Why this is so, I am trying to explore in the AikiWeb columns I am writing.

I hope you can see the dilemma facing the Hombu. (It faces the IAF as well.) It is a bit like Neo taking the red pill, but the consequences are reversed. The blue pill will send you back to the early days (which I suspect the shihans would like very much). The red pill will open up vistas unimagined for aikido. It will be the 'real world', but there will also be unexpected consequences (which Aikido Neo has to find out for himself). In my opinion, the present Doshu is not really equipped to take the red pill, but has no other choice.

You state that that there are 'tons of questions'. Well, ask a few.

Best wishes,

PAG

dalen7
04-11-2008, 09:30 AM
...The classification was a response to requests from Japanese shihans residing in the US, that non-Japanese of 6th and 7th dan should also be shihans.

...I suspect that those instructors abroad who are 'super-shihan' are quite upset about the changes. In the past few months I have had serious conversations with two 8th dan shihans, who are worried about the possibility that all they have tried to do while living abroad and teaching aikido as they learned from the Founder will go for nothing.

I got lost between the 2 points.

So the super shihans that can give test anywhere because they tested with the founder are upset that a change happened?
And that change is that non japanese can now be shihans and part of the group they originally started long ago?

Hombu has to face the fact it has to change?

People can only give test within their sphere of influence?
What defines that sphere? If someone sets up a dojo is that their sphere? If they pick up and move to another country is that a new sphere - what is the limitation?

Still a bit unclear as to the exact issue and how all this is structured as well as changing. Guess it doesnt help that my own organization isnt even recognized by the Hombu. This goes to show that there are more issues than even the basic ones they think they have. (as far as organization goes.)

Anyway, thanks for the info...

Peace

dAlen

Dan Rubin
04-11-2008, 04:16 PM
Dalen

I think that you'll find the following thread helpful in understanding these issues. Start with George Ledyard's post, #59, on page 3.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12674&page=3

dalen7
04-12-2008, 01:46 AM
Dalen

I think that you'll find the following thread helpful in understanding these issues. Start with George Ledyard's post, #59, on page 3.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12674&page=3
Thanks...Im about to have a look at it now.

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
04-12-2008, 02:17 AM
Dalen

I think that you'll find the following thread helpful in understanding these issues. Start with George Ledyard's post, #59, on page 3.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12674&page=3

Simply amazing...
I get it now, and this is totally unbelievable. Im almost beside myself.

The question now is, when stated that Hombu will be making changes, what does this mean exactly?

As it now stands you have 3 levels of Shihans.
1) Super - who can give dan anywhere
2) normal - who give dan in a given country assigned to.
3) below normal - your organization.
What I dont get is #3.

If you move to a different organization, your belt, dan rank goes with you. So would the title not go as well? Doesnt the rank give you the title? (i.e., 6th dan, 7th dan?)

It would also make sense if you could make this progressive.
i.e. - assistant master, master, grandmaster, etc.

As it is, it would appear that once the supers die out that you will pretty much have #3s, which dont make sense.

It could be even understood having just #2 where you are assigned a country.

But it appears that now they will require all japanese Shihan to return home...not that I see what race has to do with anything or help the spread of Aikido by going back home...

I dont seem to get it at all.
Its almost like grasping at straws at keeping an idea alive that just isnt. The fact is the founder has passed on, and soon his students.

The aikido world will be changed in the sense that the original people are no longer here to guide.

It would seem this is the time when they could make the most of the situation.

Get the super shihans together to ensure proper, equal transmission to their shihans, and develop a consistent training path in the organization so that people can go from dojo to dojo seamlessly.

Otherwise it will get more fragmented than what it already is.
Those connected with Hombu are already not coherent amongst each others, let along the organizations operating outside of hombu.

Instead of bringing a coherency to the art, it may be in a state of true change...up to each persons interpretation.

The point about recognition is to know a standard.
If I get one shihan, or shodan, doesnt matter...5th kyu...there is an expectation that they know a base something.

But with titles going around loosely and being withheld, I dont know, just seems backwards.

Again, at the end of the day, it is as it is...but I truly had no idea that it was this disorganized. I asked for the picture and I got it.

Well its good to know.

Now on a practical aspect, I enjoy the art itself...whether its official or not. :)

Peace

dAlen

p.s.
Its basically about speaking the same language.
Are you a shihan...really...then you should have the right to give a black belt on the moon.
You either know it or you dont. To move forward there needs to be unity, so that we can go dojo to dojo and expect more of the same quality and knowledge being evenly shared.

p.s.s.
sorry, its the producer in me, I like to see reason and connection and clarity... :)

Peter Goldsbury
04-12-2008, 06:15 AM
Mr Johnson,

I don't think you should worry about the complications too much.

In the old days when everything was simple, in whatever art you practised where there were dan ranks, if you were 6th dan, you were shihan and that is how the term is still understood here in Japan. There are no certificates, no paper, just established usage.

With the expansion of aikido overseas after the war, for a long time the only shihans were Japanese: there were no non-Japanese good enough. With the expansion there also came organizations and rules. The rules established three ranks of teaching: fukushidoin, shidoin and shihan. Organizations were left to appoint the first two by themselves and if you look at the USAF's website, you will see a list.

The appointment of shihans was reserved by the Aikikai and for a long time there were no non-Japanese shihans, even when some people like Christian Tissier received 6th dan. So the Aikikai drew up rules for the appointment of shihan in overseas aikido organizations. So the USAF now has several. They are shihan, but they may not conduct dan examinations outside their own organizations. For the Aikikai it is means of keeping tight control over dan ranks.

For most aikido practitioners, all this does not obtrude on daily training. If you are independent, it does not matter anyway. If you train in a long-established dojo with a resident shihan, the link with the Aikikai is already established. The Aikikai has a large database, with the dan history of every single member.

Problems occur only when people move from one organization to another, or are members of organizations which are not recognized, like yours.

Best wishes,

MM
04-12-2008, 09:12 AM
Hello sensei,
I've been focused on answering Budd's questions on another thread. But I will post some of those questions soon.

Mark

dalen7
04-12-2008, 11:08 AM
Mr Johnson,

I don't think you should worry about the complications too much.

Best wishes,

I appreciate the response, yet again it unravels more of how things operate with Aikikai...thanks

peace

dAlen

JO
04-12-2008, 09:00 PM
Hello Peter,
While I understand why the Aikikai is moving away from sending Japanese instructors abroad, I wonder why they would go with a blanket rule against Japanese instructors moving overseas to teach. What if they move for non aikido reasons (other job, marrying a foreigner, etc)? I also wonder about all the areas in the world where there are no high ranked instructors, if others are not allowed to come in from the outside, aikido may not make it into areas where it might be well received.

I also have questions about moving from one organisation to another. This must happen very regularly, as it is not particularly exceptional for someone to change cities or countries for work or studies and most organisations have a fairly limited geographical coverage. So what happens if you move to an area and join a dojo in another organisations where the last common point in the lineage goes all the way to O-sensei, where the head person may not even be on speaking terms with the head of you last organisation. I can't imagine that the Aikikai would require you to retest a rank they have already issued you. Doesn't one of the International Regulations of the Aikikai state that a Hombu recognised organisation must honor all dan ranks issued under the authority of the Doshu?

Of course, your right that for most people, these things just don't come up much. I was personally lucky (in my opinion) to have only moved once and stayed not only in the same organisation, but moved to a dojo that regularly invites my initial teacher for seminars and where I already knew several people.

Shannon Frye
04-12-2008, 09:01 PM
...If you are independent, it does not matter anyway....,

BINGO! I think this quote is so worthy of standing out.
In short - get into Aikido, get out of politics.

Shannon

Peter Goldsbury
04-12-2008, 10:05 PM
Hello Jonathan,

I think I need to make another couple of points.

Hello Peter,
While I understand why the Aikikai is moving away from sending Japanese instructors abroad, I wonder why they would go with a blanket rule against Japanese instructors moving overseas to teach. What if they move for non aikido reasons (other job, marrying a foreigner, etc)? I also wonder about all the areas in the world where there are no high ranked instructors, if others are not allowed to come in from the outside, aikido may not make it into areas where it might be well received.
There is no such rule. What I wanted to stress is that the early postwar period, of Japanese instructors like Yamada, Kanai, Sugano and Chiba being despatched to the US or UK to teach aikido as their sole profession, is past. The job description, if you like, has changed and the supply of this kind of instructors has stopped. Of course, there are other Japanese instructors who live outside Japan and teach aikido as a secondary activity, supplementing their main profession and this will probably continue. I think the issue here is the possibility of being a traditional deshi, or uchi-deshi, at a time when the organization is much more attuned to working as a commercial operation. Actually, this is the main gripe of the older Japanese 'super' shihan.

I also have questions about moving from one organisation to another. This must happen very regularly, as it is not particularly exceptional for someone to change cities or countries for work or studies and most organisations have a fairly limited geographical coverage. So what happens if you move to an area and join a dojo in another organisations where the last common point in the lineage goes all the way to O-sensei, where the head person may not even be on speaking terms with the head of you last organisation. I can't imagine that the Aikikai would require you to retest a rank they have already issued you. Doesn't one of the International Regulations of the Aikikai state that a Hombu recognised organisation must honor all dan ranks issued under the authority of the Doshu?
Yes, it happened in my own case and my instructor (Chiba) wrote to the Hombu to tell them that I was coming to live in Hiroshima. The Hombu informed the local shihan here and the transition was quite smooth. If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.

Of course, your right that for most people, these things just don't come up much. I was personally lucky (in my opinion) to have only moved once and stayed not only in the same organisation, but moved to a dojo that regularly invites my initial teacher for seminars and where I already knew several people.
As I suggested earlier, the real issue is groups who want to join the Aikikai (and there are a few known to me), but whose leaders are not members of the Aikikai, with dan ranks given by the Doshu.

Best wishes,

dalen7
04-13-2008, 03:23 AM
BINGO! I think this quote is so worthy of standing out.
In short - get into Aikido, get out of politics.

Shannon

Here is the issue, yes get rid of the politics - but you want continuity...which an organization can help keep. - Its just they are not focusing on continuity but power.

So if I move, its a whole different ball game.
What I learn in 6th, 5th kyu, etc is totally a different program than another dojo.

For the sake of easily picking up where you left off, and to keep a certain degree of quality, the Hombu could begin to focus on these issue and not worry about how many dans are running around.

If it had continuity, and if I were a 6th dan, etc. I should be able to go to the moon and back and give black belts to who ever meets the requirements set forth.

As it is now, every dojo has a different view of what is required...anyway...

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
04-13-2008, 03:29 AM
As I suggested earlier, the real issue is groups who want to join the Aikikai (and there are a few known to me), but whose leaders are not members of the Aikikai, with dan ranks given by the Doshu.

Best wishes,

But I suppose from how I understand it, this would not be a problem for me...yet.
As of now I am not a dan grade.
So hypothetically an organization would take me where Im at now...consider my time of traning, test me, and rank me according to their rules?

After all my testing is probably going to be different then theirs if what I see is an reflection to what i will find when moving back stateside...and they wont accept any papers given to me showing my kyu rank...

Peace

dAlen

JO
04-13-2008, 07:46 AM
Hello Jonathan,

I think I need to make another couple of points.

There is no such rule. What I wanted to stress is that the early postwar period, of Japanese instructors like Yamada, Kanai, Sugano and Chiba being despatched to the US or UK to teach aikido as their sole profession, is past. The job description, if you like, has changed and the supply of this kind of instructors has stopped. Of course, there are other Japanese instructors who live outside Japan and teach aikido as a secondary activity, supplementing their main profession and this will probably continue. I think the issue here is the possibility of being a traditional deshi, or uchi-deshi, at a time when the organization is much more attuned to working as a commercial operation. Actually, this is the main gripe of the older Japanese 'super' shihan.


Thank you for the answer, this makes much more sense to me. Of course, many of the super shihan have their own deshi systems. For example, some of the new USAF shihan were uchi-deshi at the NY Aikikai.

If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.


Yeah, I've heard some pretty bad stories of yudansha moving into new dojos and having trouble being accepted. Of course, sometimes they don't help themselves. Word to the wise, if you're a shodan in a new dojo, be careful who you try to correct, he/she may be a sixth dan with 30 years of experience.

As for politics. You can't run any kind of organisation without politics, and that includes small independent organisations. The only real question is what kind of politics. The question I would ask is whether the leaders acting in the best interest of their members and the art of aikido, or simply in their own best interest. I don't agree with everythying the leaders of my organisation come up with, but without the political ties they represent I would not have had the opportunity to train with so many high ranking and skilled instructors. I mean, how many small independent groups could organize seminars with several of O-sensei's direct students.

gdandscompserv
04-13-2008, 09:23 AM
If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.
Yeah, I remember when I started attending a dojo in southern California. I had attained the rank of shodan in Okinawa. All of a sudden, I was one of the higher ranking students. I felt some anymosity, and weirdly enough the dojo-cho required that I pay a memership fee to join his organization, which was ASU. I wondered how this would work since I was already a Yudansha with the Aikikai. Turns out, my money disappeared and I never received any type of document in return for my money. I ended up "leaving" the dojo to begin my own place. I put "leaving" in quotes because I still train there every so often. Funny thing is, it wasn't long after my appearance at that dojo, that several of his students who had been waiting quite some time to receive shodan's, were rapidly promoted. I was happy for them as they certainly had earned it.:D

MM
04-13-2008, 09:50 AM
Hello Mark,
I am fine, thank you. I retired at midnight on March 31. A few days beforehand, the President gave me a piece of paper looking rather like a dan diploma, which stated that I was a Meiyo Kyouju (Emeritus Professor). I do not know what this means in the US, but in Japan it means that you have retired as a 'normal' prof.


Congratulations, sensei! Although, I'm not sure about the meaning of Meiyo Kyouju. Still, your accomplishments have stood out over here in the U.S. :)


What will I do? Well, I have loads of books on Japanese culture and other subjects which I still need to read, but I intend to write at least one. I would like to write an aikido novel, a thriller with an intense and convoluted plot and lots of mysterious murders done by a serial killer (who clearly seems to be an expert in 'internal' skills), probably set in some intensive summer training seminar. Something like The Name of the Rose or the Cadfael thrillers, with an honest but 'dumb' hero, who is constantly aided by 'experts'.


An interesting idea. I would like to read it once you are done. However, if you're going to write it in Japanese, just give me some warning ahead of time so I can continue my studies. :)


You state that that there are 'tons of questions'. Well, ask a few.
PAG

You've answered a couple in your later posts, thank you. I'm guessing then, that the Aikikai is "changing" the role of "super shihan" through attrition and once all the designated super shihan have passed on, there will be no more?

If part of the change is that no more Japanese will be sent abroad primarily for aikido, then how will the Aikikai change to the fact that there will be less Japanese shihan abroad?

If the Aikikai is going to a more organizational model, are there plans to reach out and work with the independent organizations?

There are very interesting organizational ties throughout the aikido world. For instance, a semi-independent organization will have ties to a major organization (like the Yoshinkan) and the semi-independent might be able to gain Aikikai certifications through that major organization. Will this still continue? Or is the Aikikai looking to clean up those lines of diploma issuances?

When the super shihan are gone, and there are only shihan outside Japan, how will the Aikikai look at dan examinations? Will they keep the two model that is currently in use (shihan able to issue within their organization and shihan who can only issue at his/her dojo), or will they narrow it down to one model?

The world always changes. :)

Thank you,
Mark

AsimHanif
04-22-2008, 09:16 PM
Thank you Peter.
I always look forward to reading your contributions.

Asim

mickeygelum
04-22-2008, 10:47 PM
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.

Mr. Goldsbury...With all due respect, you need to elaborate on this further, I think you have made an untrue statement. Please, clarify this for all.

Mickey

Peter Goldsbury
04-23-2008, 01:40 AM
Mr. Goldsbury...With all due respect, you need to elaborate on this further, I think you have made an untrue statement. Please, clarify this for all.

Mickey

Another way of restating what I said in my previous post is that the whole point of the Aikikai's International Regulations for overseas organizations is to establish a common framework for examinations and dan grades, that is dan grades awarded by the Doshu as a result of a test or recommendation given by someone who is authorized by the Aikikai to do so. So, I am a member of the Aikikai and my dan grades are validly awarded. if I moved outside Japan and trained in an organization recognized by the Aikikai, those grades would be valid in that organization. The shihan of that organization would not be in a position to state that they were not valid Aikikai grades.

So, with respect, I disagree. I think it is up to you to point out in what respects you think the statement is untrue and if you have a valid point, I will have to take it up with Doshu and the Aikikai.

mickeygelum
04-23-2008, 12:52 PM
Mr Goldsbury,

As per your re-statement, validation of any dan ranks is only within those organizations within the umbra of the Aikikai Foundation. Therefore, not to any valid organization recognized by the Aikikai Foundation, which is where I find the discrepancy in your first statement. Am I understanding this correctly?

Train well,

Mickey

Peter Goldsbury
04-23-2008, 05:28 PM
Mr Goldsbury,

As per your re-statement, validation of any dan ranks is only within those organizations within the umbra of the Aikikai Foundation. Therefore, not to any valid organization recognized by the Aikikai Foundation, which is where I find the discrepancy in your first statement. Am I understanding this correctly?

Train well,

Mickey

Not quite. On its website the Aikikai has a list of organizations it has recognized. The ASU, however, is not on this list, but the Shihan, Mitsugi Saotome and Hiroshi Ikeda, deliver valid dan ranks signed by the Doshu. There are also organizations that have applied for recognition but have not yet been given it. These organizations are usually visited by someone from a recognized organization, or a shihan recognized b y the Aikikai, who can deliver valid dan grades.

Best wishes,

Stefan Stenudd
04-23-2008, 06:05 PM
If you ever travel to Japan and the Aikikai Hombu dojo, bring a photo copy of the certificate and they will verify it as one of theirs. They keep some very meticulous records....;)
When you get your first Aikikai dan grade, you also get the Yudansha card, which is a kind of passport within Aikikai. If you have an Aikikai Yudansha card, you know that your grade is proper Aikikai.

Usually, the Yudansha card is what students training at Hombu dojo hand in at the reception, and the Hombu staff check with their records while you are at keiko.
Nothing to it.

Stefan Stenudd
04-23-2008, 06:12 PM
I retired at midnight on March 31. A few days beforehand, the President gave me a piece of paper looking rather like a dan diploma, which stated that I was a Meiyo Kyouju (Emeritus Professor). I do not know what this means in the US, but in Japan it means that you have retired as a 'normal' prof.

What will I do? Well, I have loads of books on Japanese culture and other subjects which I still need to read, but I intend to write at least one. I would like to write an aikido novel, a thriller with an intense and convoluted plot and lots of mysterious murders done by a serial killer (who clearly seems to be an expert in 'internal' skills), probably set in some intensive summer training seminar. Something like The Name of the Rose or the Cadfael thrillers, with an honest but 'dumb' hero, who is constantly aided by 'experts'.

Dear Peter, I did not know that you retired. That is good news for the IAF - now you have limitless time to spend on our organization ;)

So, you plan to write a book? Great. We have something to discuss as colleagues in Tanabe. The Name of the Rose was delightful, although I would have prefered to actually read Aristotle's work on comedy. Might you have some thoughts on it?

dragonteeth
04-23-2008, 07:51 PM
Might I inject a couple of really stupid questions? I ask them with complete respect, but also in complete ignorance. I have never trained in a Hombu affiliated dojo and so I'm completely clueless about how some things work within that organization....

Why is the ASU not on the list if Doshu signs their dan certificates? Is the AWA in the same category? Are there others with that status?

If only shihans can grant dan ranks either within their organizations or at large, how do recognized organizations not headed by someone of shihan rank issue those rankings?

Thanks!
(heads back over to the stupid newbie corner)

Peter Goldsbury
04-24-2008, 03:35 AM
Might I inject a couple of really stupid questions? I ask them with complete respect, but also in complete ignorance. I have never trained in a Hombu affiliated dojo and so I'm completely clueless about how some things work within that organization....
They are not really stupid questions. Just that they need only be asked and answered on comparatively rare occasions. In themselves, the answers do not really add one iota to the quality of one's training.

Why is the ASU not on the list if Doshu signs their dan certificates? Is the AWA in the same category? Are there others with that status?
The five organizations that do have recognition are on the Aikikai website. I am not American and have no experience of the complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US.

There were two sizable Aikikai organizations in the US: the USAF and Saotome Sensei's organization (which I suspect did not need recognition and so never requested it). In any case, the Aikikai once had a rule that it would recognize only one organization in each country. The other organizations either came into existence later, or were recognized by the Aikikai later, after it changed this policy of one-organization-per-country.

If only shihans can grant dan ranks either within their organizations or at large, how do recognized organizations not headed by someone of shihan rank issue those rankings?
The Japanese shihans who originally left Japan to teach aikido abroad were genuine pioneers and so could grade anywhere. They still have this power (so Doshu signs the certificates). However, the Aikikai have gradually changed the rules and made organizations eligible for recognition if the person in charge had 4th dan. The organizations were supposed to rule by committee (and not by the whim of the individual shihan). The Aikikai also changed the rules to confine the scope of the shihan rank to the organization in which they trained.

Thanks!
(heads back over to the stupid newbie corner)
As I suggested above, I have been around ling enough to know the value and, especially, the limitations of aikido organizations.

Peter Goldsbury
04-24-2008, 05:33 AM
Ahhh!!! The 15-minute editing rule!!!

I meant 'long enough' in the last post.

dragonteeth
04-24-2008, 07:33 AM
Thank you for answering the questions sir. Like I said, I don't train in a Hombu affiliated dojo right now, so in fact that has zero impact on my training. However, if I happen to relocate to another area at some point that may not always be so. The Japanese culture seems to put significant stock in one's lineage and association, so I thought a passing understanding of how it all worked might be useful some day.

Thanks again!

David Paul
04-24-2008, 10:44 AM
i haven't read all the posts--so i'd say the lineage is probably easier to trace than the associations. maybe i am really wrong on that assumption--but the associations never made that much sense to me.

Dan Rubin
04-24-2008, 10:51 AM
I am not American and have no experience of the complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US.

But I'll bet you hear some great rumors! :D :D :D

David Yap
04-25-2008, 09:41 AM
I am not American and have no experience of the complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US.

Hello Prof Goldsbury,

The complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US is understandable with the number of ‘super shihan' and organizations located there. On a conservative side, assuming the average number of Aikikai aikido practitioners in each state in the US is about 500, then 50 states will have an aggregate of 25,000. There are 5 bodies recognized by Aikikai Hombu and assuming everything is constant, then, there will be an average of 5,000 members in each organization and this is assuming that there are no independents.

This complexity is nothing compared to Malaysia. First of all, the aggregate of Aikikai trainees is less than a thousand at any time; yet, we have 3 bodies/groups recognized by Hombu and 2 other independent dojo. One of the independent dojo is under the technical supervision of Etsuji Horii shihan. In total, we have 3 authorities for grading of yudansha, viz:


Malaysia Aikido Association has Sugano ‘super shihan' 8th Dan of NY Aikikai
Aikiki Malaysia Association has its own technical and grading committee headed by a 5th dan and a member of IAF.
The Akademi Aikido Jyuku Aikikai Malysia group is under the resident shihan, Jun Yamada 7th dan. Jun Yamada sensei; he has been a resident of Malaysia for the past 35 years and the senior members of Aikikai Malaysia Association technical and gradings committee are mainly his former students.

Then more complication - a dojo cho under the Aikikai Malaysia body is a key member of its grading and technical committee that can grade its members up to 3rd dan but the grading of his own dojo members is conducted by Etsuji Horie shihan. Within that body, members are getting signals that he has two sets of standard for grading and upgrading of yudansha.

Finally, the last and truly independent dojo, headed by a senior member of the local Aikikai community, has also approached Etsuji Horie shihan to grade its members. Two scheduled grading sessions were cancelled at the last moment as it seemed Doshu did not give his approval to Horie shihan to conduct the gradings. Apparently, except for the Malaysia Aikido Association which is under a "super shihan", Hombu has directed that all recommendations for promotion and including grading outside the jurisdiction of AMA (i.e. 4th dan onwards) be referred to the resident shihan. Another exception is the dojo existingly affiliated with Etsuji Horie shihan. So the only resolve for this independent dojo to upgrade its yudansha members is either issue its own certificates (acquiring a McDojo status) or affiliate with one of the 3 recognized bodies.

Is the current development here consistent with your understanding of Hombu's rules?

Regards

David Y

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2008, 09:57 AM
But I'll bet you hear some great rumors! :D :D :D

;) ;) ;)

PAG

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2008, 10:27 AM
Hello Prof Goldsbury,

Is the current development here consistent with your understanding of Hombu's rules?

Regards

David Y

Hello David,

I am aware of all the points you make in your post, but I still do not claim to understand the complexities of aikido organizations in Malaysia. So I think it would not be appropriate for me to say anything here. Beyond stating the fact that over the past few years I have spent a long time corresponding and talking with people closely connected with aikido in Malaysia, from Doshu downwards. One aim of this is to attempt to establish a common framework of understanding, which does not exist at present.

I think that any system of rules has to be clear (easily understandable) and transparent (easily seen to be applied fairly wherever the rules have application). I think that this is true for a dojo as much as for a large organization like the Aikikai and the IAF. However, I doubt whether this is the case with the Hombu's International Regulations and is a source of some concern for the IAF.

I visited Malaysia last year and the main aim was to get to know better the IAF-member organization, which has been through a few upheavals recently and needed some urgent support. I think the visit was quite successful.

Best wishes,

PAG

David Yap
04-28-2008, 03:06 AM
Thank you, Prof. Goldsbury, for the reply.

As a Malaysian who has been practising Aikikai aikido for the past 15 years, I cannot claim to understand complexities either. My observation about the word "budo" is that it is mainly for lip-service and not to be practised as far as leadership is concerned. I guess by examining the complexities historically, the more passionate students here would probably find the common elements or personalities. I have written to the presidents of AMA (past & present) suggesting that it be made more apolitical and open its memberships to all Aikikai yudansha so that IAF is accessible to all and effectively making AMA a federation. For some reasons, it still remains a very tight-lid group.

...
I visited Malaysia last year and the main aim was to get to know better the IAF-member organization, which has been through a few upheavals recently and needed some urgent support. I think the visit was quite successful.

I was informed that your trip to Malaysia was cancelled at the last minutes due to illness and I was looking forward to attend your classes. Perhaps you will inform us here on Aikiweb about next trip to Malaysia.

Regards

David Y

rob_liberti
04-28-2008, 08:11 AM
The thing that strikes me hear about recognizing someone's rank from Tamura sensei, is that it is highly likely that if you have rank from Tamura sensei EVERYONE is going to recognize your ability. I had a shodan from Tamura sensei show up to my ASU dojo in CT. I was immediately impressed by his ability. I would have ranked him nidan by my standards. He watched my class. He took the next one. We took each other's ukemi. We evaluated each other favorably and had a wonderful time working together. He moved back to Europe before I could get him promoted, but I'm certain I could have made it happen.

So if Saotome sensei passes away, will Ikeda sensei still be able to promote with aikikai signed rants (in effect giving him some super shihan privileges)? Or would he have to officially become aikikai? What would become of aikikai Summer camps? No we step THEN turn! NO we turn THEN step! It'd be a blood bath. :)

Peter Goldsbury
04-28-2008, 12:45 PM
The thing that strikes me hear about recognizing someone's rank from Tamura sensei, is that it is highly likely that if you have rank from Tamura sensei EVERYONE is going to recognize your ability. I had a shodan from Tamura sensei show up to my ASU dojo in CT. I was immediately impressed by his ability. I would have ranked him nidan by my standards. He watched my class. He took the next one. We took each other's ukemi. We evaluated each other favorably and had a wonderful time working together. He moved back to Europe before I could get him promoted, but I'm certain I could have made it happen.

So if Saotome sensei passes away, will Ikeda sensei still be able to promote with aikikai signed rants (in effect giving him some super shihan privileges)? Or would he have to officially become aikikai? What would become of aikikai Summer camps? No we step THEN turn! NO we turn THEN step! It'd be a blood bath. :)

Hello Rod,

Question. Why would the shodan from Tamura Sensei have needed your support to obtain his second dan? He would normally have asked Tamura Sensei to have graded him for nidan--that is, unless he had already abandoned Tamura Sensei as his instructor.

One of the problems about threads such as this is that people come and ask questions here, when they should really sending these questions to the Aikikai directly, addressed to Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu. I think that if Doshu received enough letters from ordinary aikido people, asking him questions like those you are asking, he might realise that he needs to give answers.

Best wishes,

Dennis Hooker
04-28-2008, 12:57 PM
So if Saotome sensei passes away, will Ikeda sensei still be able to promote with aikikai signed rants (in effect giving him some super shihan privileges)? Or would he have to officially become aikikai? What would become of aikikai Summer camps? No we step THEN turn! NO we turn THEN step! It'd be a blood bath. :)

Rob, some adjustments will be made but plans are in place to transition. It is an issue that has been addressed but one none of us wants to put in place for several more years yet. Given the weekend we just had with Saotome Sensei there are many more yet to come.

Dennis Hooker

David Yap
04-28-2008, 06:37 PM
...
One of the problems about threads such as this is that people come and ask questions here, when they should really sending these questions to the Aikikai directly, addressed to Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu. I think that if Doshu received enough letters from ordinary aikido people, asking him questions like those you are asking, he might realise that he needs to give answers.

Hello Prof.,

Perhaps a good soul could suggest to the webmaster for Aikikai Hombu website to put in a Q&A section:D

Regards

David Y

dragonteeth
04-28-2008, 08:41 PM
One of the problems about threads such as this is that people come and ask questions here, when they should really sending these questions to the Aikikai directly, addressed to Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu. I think that if Doshu received enough letters from ordinary aikido people, asking him questions like those you are asking, he might realise that he needs to give answers.

I for one wouldn't feel significant enough to expect an answer from Hombu. Maybe there is a perception of inaccessibility to the common student? I think there might also be a fear of losing face by asking a question that is either disrespectful/offensive from a Japanese point of view or seen as stupid because there, the answer is common knowledge. It's truly a privilege to have folks like yourself who have feet firmly planted in both worlds to answer these questions.

It would be a wonderful thing to see some of the issues discussed here captured in either an aikiwiki or aikido faq article, if it has not been already. There are a lot of organizational questions that some of us lower ranked folks might have but are afraid to ask (or unable to obtain an answer to through normal channels). Yes, most of it has very little to do with our training until we hit the middle dan rankings. Nevertheless, it might result in a lot of things making more sense along the way, especially if we have to change organizations mid-stream due to relocation.

Thanks again for all your patient answers!
Lori
(who was, btw, voted most likely to have a question by her graduating class!)

rob_liberti
04-28-2008, 08:53 PM
Hello Rod,
Question. Why would the shodan from Tamura Sensei have needed your support to obtain his second dan? He would normally have asked Tamura Sensei to have graded him for nidan--that is, unless he had already abandoned Tamura Sensei as his instructor.


Answer, he was living in Connecticut for an indefinate amount of time. He trained in my dojo for maybe 2 years. I wasn't thinking too much about promotions until one day I really saw how great he had started moving and I thought this guy is sandan ability and shodan rank - I need to get him promoted to at least nidan. Later - sometime that week - he told me that he had decided to take another job in Europe. As far as I was concerned, had he remained in CT and he trained at my dojo with me doing my aikido, it was up to me. I don't really understand why Tamura sensei would have been involved with a promotion for that student (say for instance he had stayed in Connecticut for the rest of his life).

Hooker sensei - I certainly wasn't trying to knock Saotome sensei off!!! Just wondering how the shihan/super shihan deal worked post mortem.

Rob

Peter Goldsbury
04-28-2008, 09:52 PM
Answer, he was living in Connecticut for an indefinate amount of time. He trained in my dojo for maybe 2 years. I wasn't thinking too much about promotions until one day I really saw how great he had started moving and I thought this guy is sandan ability and shodan rank - I need to get him promoted to at least nidan. Later - sometime that week - he told me that he had decided to take another job in Europe. As far as I was concerned, had he remained in CT and he trained at my dojo with me doing my aikido, it was up to me. I don't really understand why Tamura sensei would have been involved with a promotion for that student (say for instance he had stayed in Connecticut for the rest of his life).

Hooker sensei - I certainly wasn't trying to knock Saotome sensei off!!! Just wondering how the shihan/super shihan deal worked post mortem.

Rob

Hello Rob,

My question was really about your own powers to hold grading examinations and award dan ranks. Would you yourself have graded him, or would your teacher Mr Gleason, or Saotome Shihan? For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Best wishes,

PAG

gdandscompserv
04-28-2008, 10:50 PM
For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Best wishes,

PAG
Peter,
In my case, my 'lineage' being started by Iwao Yamaguchi, will other shihan have nothing to do with any of my dan promotions? I have never attempted (or desired) a dan grading since returning to the US, but I am a bit curious. You do seem to be in a very informative mood.:D
Ricky

rob_liberti
04-28-2008, 11:31 PM
Hello Rob,

My question was really about your own powers to hold grading examinations and award dan ranks. Would you yourself have graded him, or would your teacher Mr Gleason, or Saotome Shihan? For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Best wishes,

PAG

Peter, sorry for being unclear.

About the previous affiliation, I simply take it as a given that if someone in that situation is asked to test they would let me know if they are still staying with their original lineage or not. As far as I understood he was living in CT forever (and Tamura sensei doesn't visit me - but he's very welcome to do so of course!).

As far as I go, I have no power to promote dan ranks. What I meant was as his active teacher, I would have put him up for promotion in the ASU. It would certainly be at Gleason sensei's dojo while one of the ASU shihan were there. Even if it weren't necessary, you kind of want the students to be known by the main teachers.

When Akira Tohei sensei passed and Kanai sensei passed, students in their lineages were already officially in the aikikai so I can see how their students could continue to promote aikikai dan ranks. My curiosity was sparked when I read that ASU is not officially in the aikikai, so the obvious question is what will happen in terms of aikikai ranks when we no longer have a super shihan. I get the feeling that the subject is taboo. I had no idea. Apologies...

Rob

Peter Goldsbury
04-28-2008, 11:40 PM
Hello Lori,

A few more observations.

I for one wouldn't feel significant enough to expect an answer from Hombu. Maybe there is a perception of inaccessibility to the common student? I think there might also be a fear of losing face by asking a question that is either disrespectful/offensive from a Japanese point of view or seen as stupid because there, the answer is common knowledge. It's truly a privilege to have folks like yourself who have feet firmly planted in both worlds to answer these questions.

But if you never ask the 'silly questions', you never realize whether and why and how they are silly. In my opinion, the sheer magnitude of the postwar shift in aikido, from being an exclusive, elitist art centered round the Founder in a collection of individual dojos headed by a direct disciple who trained all the hours of the day, to being a vast international operation, available to anyone to pursue, depending on time, family responsibilities, available options etc, is still not understood by many people in the aikido world, especially in Japan. It was certainly not grasped by the Founder.

I was having dinner with an 8th dan Aikikai shihan recently and the conversation turned to his life as a deshi at the Hombu. (As usual, I was the one asking the 'silly' questions.) What was looking after the Founder really like? What did he talk about, when he was not consciously being The Founder, giving one of his arcane discourses? Did he ever make small talk? The shihan looked a little stunned and confessed that in all his years as a deshi, he had never, ever asked O Sensei a question. This was simply not the kind of thing a deshi would do. I could not believe it!

I was reminded of Ellis Amdur's story about Terry Dobson. Terry once asked O Sensei a question about the triangle, square and circle and O Sensei told Terry to find out for himself. What Ellis did not mention was that Terry probably did not endear himself to his Japanese fellow-deshi by breaking ranks in such a way and, as it turned out, he had no place in the Hombu after O Sensei died.

I have never been treated as Terry was by O Sensei. The only 'blunt' answer I have ever received was from a certain shihan, now passed away, who told me to wait until I knew enough Japanese, so that I could really understand the answers. Actually, I remember Kisshomaru Doshu telling me at some point that he was very happy that I had learned Japanese, because now we could talk. However, even Kisshomaru Doshu was not someone you could argue with.

It would be a wonderful thing to see some of the issues discussed here captured in either an aikiwiki or aikido faq article, if it has not been already. There are a lot of organizational questions that some of us lower ranked folks might have but are afraid to ask (or unable to obtain an answer to through normal channels). Yes, most of it has very little to do with our training until we hit the middle dan rankings. Nevertheless, it might result in a lot of things making more sense along the way, especially if we have to change organizations mid-stream due to relocation.

Well, in my experience it is the middle dan ranks where all the trouble starts. The most difficult ranks are 3rd, 4th and 5th dan. If you relate this to the supposed equivalent skill level, the lower ranks are still too low: you do not know enough, whereas in the upper ranks you have gained a certain maturity. You know all the issues and it is most likely at this level that you have gained the humility that is essential for you to see what your skill level really is--and accept it. However, even 5th dans need to be nurtured, to feel that someone knows their problems and is there when needed. Many very senior shihans cannot play this nurturing role effectively.

Thanks again for all your patient answers!
Lori
(who was, btw, voted most likely to have a question by her graduating class!)

No problem, but please understand that I could never come on this website and claim to speak on Doshu's behalf. I do not have such a role.

Best wishes,

PAG

Peter Goldsbury
04-29-2008, 12:00 AM
When Akira Tohei sensei passed and Kanai sensei passed, students in their lineages were already officially in the aikikai so I can see how their students could continue to promote aikikai dan ranks. My curiosity was sparked when I read that ASU is not officially in the aikikai, so the obvious question is what will happen in terms of aikikai ranks when we no longer have a super shihan. I get the feeling that the subject is taboo. I had no idea. Apologies...

Rob

Rob,

I think there is a misunderstanding here. At Kisshomaru Doshu's funeral I met Saotome Shihan for the first time. My understanding is that the ASU is very much in the Aikikai. Simply, it is not one of the organizations listed on the Aikikai's website as having Recognition from the Aikikai, given in accordance with the Aikikai's posted International Regulations.

Apart from the USAF, which was recognized when the IAF was founded, all the organizations listed have sought Recognition from the Aikikai and received it. However, Saotome Sensei established a different connection with the Aikikai, via Kisshomaru Doshu directly, and I am pretty sure that this has been maintained by the present Doshu. I am also confident that if anything were to happen to Saotome Sensei, the Aikikai would take all the necessary steps to maintain the relationship.

However, I might be wrong. I am assuming in this post that yudansha whose the dan ranks are awarded by Saotome Shihan have numbered Aikikai membership cards, receive numbered dan diplomas signed by Doshu, and also have dark blue yudansha passports. Is this not the case?

Best wishes,

PAG

rob_liberti
04-29-2008, 12:25 AM
Rob,
I am assuming in this post that yudansha whose the dan ranks are awarded by Saotome Shihan have numbered Aikikai membership cards, receive numbered dan diplomas signed by Doshu, and also have dark blue yudansha passports. Is this not the case?

That is the case. Thanks. It is very confusing even after reading the clarification. So, if I have this right, ASU is in the Aikikai but not have "Recognition from Aikikai". I do not 100% follow why a connection with the Aikikai established via Kisshomaru Doshu directly does not automatically get the ASU listed on the Akikai's website as having Recognition from the Aikikai. I take it that must require some jumping through unnecessary hoops (for no further gain) or it just became one of those "because that's just not how it's done in Japan" type of things. (Like how a green traffic light is called "blue" in Japanese?)

Thanks for taking the time. -Rob

George S. Ledyard
04-29-2008, 02:04 AM
However, I might be wrong. I am assuming in this post that yudansha whose the dan ranks are awarded by Saotome Shihan have numbered Aikikai membership cards, receive numbered dan diplomas signed by Doshu, and also have dark blue yudansha passports. Is this not the case?

Best wishes,

PAG

Peter,
You are indeed correct. My certificates, after 4th Dan have all come from Hombu Dojo (my earlier certificates were from Saotome Sensei directly - before the rapprochement) and we all have the standard passports... although mine is one of the old ones that doesn't have the cool Doshu pictures...
- George

Alex Megann
04-29-2008, 04:07 AM
Hello Prof Goldsbury,
The complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US is understandable with the number of ‘super shihan' and organizations located there. On a conservative side, assuming the average number of Aikikai aikido practitioners in each state in the US is about 500, then 50 states will have an aggregate of 25,000. There are 5 bodies recognized by Aikikai Hombu and assuming everything is constant, then, there will be an average of 5,000 members in each organization and this is assuming that there are no independents.

This complexity is nothing compared to Malaysia. First of all, the aggregate of Aikikai trainees is less than a thousand at any time; yet, we have 3 bodies/groups recognized by Hombu and 2 other independent dojo. One of the independent dojo is under the technical supervision of Etsuji Horii shihan. In total, we have 3 authorities for grading of yudansha, viz:


You should come to the UK!

We have (at time of writing) five Aikikai-recognised groups here, one Japanese shihan and several native shihan. Two of these organisations (the BAF and the UKA) invite a shihan from Hombu Dojo to teach their respective Summer Schools: in fact Y. Kobayashi Shihan and S. Sugawara Shihan both come every year and alternate between the two groups. Despite this, there is no official contact between the two federations! The Scottish Aikido Federation and the British Aikido Fedaration are closely aligned under Kanetsuka Shihan, but are still recognised separately by the Aikikai: I think the original argument was along the lines of "if England and Scotland can have separate teams in the World Cup, they should have separate Aikido federations" (even though the BAF nominally represents England AND Wales). Apart from these, these is a group affililated to Chiba Shihan's Birankai, and one under Terry Ezra, who also invites shihan from Hombu Dojo.

That's just the "offical" organisations. The British Aikido Board, an umbrella body recognised by the Sports Council, has dozens of groups affiliated to it, of which twenty-two at the last count are nominally "Aikikai" or "traditional" in orientation. None of these has more than a thousand members, and many have fewer than a hundred.

There are long-standing feuds, of course; one group maintains a website dedicated to "British Aikido History", but which devotes most of its effort in attacking a certain prominent individual who they claim has misrepresented his own aikido career.

Aikido history here is certainly labyrinthine...

Alex

Peter Goldsbury
04-29-2008, 04:11 AM
Peter,
You are indeed correct. My certificates, after 4th Dan have all come from Hombu Dojo (my earlier certificates were from Saotome Sensei directly - before the rapprochement) and we all have the standard passports... although mine is one of the old ones that doesn't have the cool Doshu pictures...
- George

Hello George,

Thank you. At some point I received a new passport without asking. My assumptions have been confirmed. You might remember a similar discussion about this before: why the ASU is not on the list and why the ASU does not have shihan, shidoin and fukushidoin.

Well, I asked Doshu and he answered that the ASU has special arrangements via Saotome Sensei directly. I do not think it occurred to him that there was an issue for some people that the ASU is not listed on the Aikikai's website. Why? Because nobody tells him. He would need to know there is an issue from the ASU itself.

Certainly not from me. My main duty is to the members of the IAF, of which I am Chairman. Which in the US is the USAF. I have the impression, perhaps wrongly, that relations are somewhat cool between the ASU and the USAF, but I suspect that this is due in part to the history of both organizations in the US.

Anyway, I bow out of this discussion.

PAG

David Yap
04-29-2008, 04:26 AM
...Well, in my experience it is the middle dan ranks where all the trouble starts. The most difficult ranks are 3rd, 4th and 5th dan. If you relate this to the supposed equivalent skill level, the lower ranks are still too low: you do not know enough, whereas in the upper ranks you have gained a certain maturity. You know all the issues and it is most likely at this level that you have gained the humility that is essential for you to see what your skill level really is--and accept it. However, even 5th dans need to be nurtured, to feel that someone knows their problems and is there when needed. Many very senior shihans cannot play this nurturing role effectively...

This explains most of the complexities here in Malaysia.;)

Thank you, Prof. Goldsbury.

Kind regards

David Y

Peter Goldsbury
04-29-2008, 04:33 AM
This explains most of the complexities here in Malaysia.;)

Thank you, Prof. Goldsbury.

Kind regards

David Y

David,

I have just sent you a PM.

PAG

Dennis Hooker
04-29-2008, 07:28 AM
Hooker sensei - I certainly wasn't trying to knock Saotome sensei off!!! Just wondering how the shihan/super shihan deal worked post mortem.

Rob

Rob, I never thought you were.

Dennis

Dennis Hooker
04-29-2008, 07:38 AM
Peter,
You are indeed correct. My certificates, after 4th Dan have all come from Hombu Dojo (my earlier certificates were from Saotome Sensei directly - before the rapprochement) and we all have the standard passports... although mine is one of the old ones that doesn't have the cool Doshu pictures...
- George

I got a passport somewhere. George the folks are looking forward to your seminar at the Shindai Dojo in July in Orlando. (Are You Nuts) you know how hot it is here in July? Why you let them talk you into a summer seminar I don't know but I'm looking to get out that time of year. Hay maybe I could go to your dojo in July:D

Peter, I do not believe there is a problem with the ASU not being listed in the Hombu web site it was just a misunderstanding among a few folks as to the nature of the relationship. We, that is the senior teachers in the ASU, needed to pass along information we never thought to pass along.

Dennis Hooker

rob_liberti
04-29-2008, 07:44 AM
He would need to know there is an issue from the ASU itself.

Certainly not from me. My main duty is to the members of the IAF, of which I am Chairman. Which in the US is the USAF. I have the impression, perhaps wrongly, that relations are somewhat cool between the ASU and the USAF, but I suspect that this is due in part to the history of both organizations in the US.

Anyway, I bow out of this discussion.
Thanks for your explanations. I have no idea ho to approach Doshu and I doubt it would be my place to do so on behalf of the ASU, but maybe someone reading this...

I actually believe that relations between the organizattons have never been beter. Ikeda sensei and Rick Stickles sensei have been doing some very successful "building bridges" seminars.

I did have a weird experience trying to attend a USAF seminar when Suganuma sensei was coming to CT (where I live). My wife called up to preregister, and she was asked why we wanted to come. (I've attended USAF seminars and summer camps without problems for years.) She explained that we've been visiting Suganuma sensei 's dojo for about a month out of every year for the past decade or so, and since he is in town we would like to see him. My wife was told "why don't you just wait till you see him in Japan again" So... We waited outside before the seminar, greeted him, and carried his bags in for him. We signed the book, paid up, and had a wonderful seminar. I even had a good time getting to take Yamada sensei's ukemi. Since then, I get an email every year inviting me to USAF summer camp.

I'm sure that weird stuff will always continue both ways. But really, no weirder than when I train in the ki society, or any other aikido line with a slightly different orientation towards how to best train.

The thing people need to remember is that 99+% of the people training in USAF or ASU chose the organization based on how close the dojo was to their house - as opposed to whatever politics happened before they were born.

Rob

Dennis Hooker
04-29-2008, 08:03 AM
Rob, I never thought you were.

Dennis
Rob, my first name is Dennis and I would be more comfortable if you would drop the Sensei and just call me Dennis. OK? :)

George S. Ledyard
04-29-2008, 11:52 AM
George the folks are looking forward to your seminar at the Shindai Dojo in July in Orlando. (Are You Nuts) you know how hot it is here in July? Why you let them talk you into a summer seminar I don't know but I'm looking to get out that time of year. Hay maybe I could go to your dojo in July:D

Hey Dennis,
It wasn't your boys who talked me into it... it was the only weekend I had open. Been traveling like crazy. I will look forward to seeing you there!!!!
- George

Peter Goldsbury
04-29-2008, 07:36 PM
Peter, I do not believe there is a problem with the ASU not being listed in the Hombu web site it was just a misunderstanding among a few folks as to the nature of the relationship. We, that is the senior teachers in the ASU, needed to pass along information we never thought to pass along.

Dennis Hooker

Hello Dennis,

I didn't think there was a problem, either. I had a long conversation with Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan last year and he had no idea of which organizations in the US had Hombu Recognition (apart from the USAF). So I finally looked at the Hombu's website. The list of organizations is new and appears only in the English section, which Yamada Sensei wouldn't read anyway, and, of course, the ASU does not appear.

Best wishes,

PAG

Jennifer Yabut
04-30-2008, 10:17 AM
Hello Dennis,

I didn't think there was a problem, either. I had a long conversation with Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan last year and he had no idea of which organizations in the US had Hombu Recognition (apart from the USAF). So I finally looked at the Hombu's website. The list of organizations is new and appears only in the English section, which Yamada Sensei wouldn't read anyway, and, of course, the ASU does not appear.

Best wishes,

PAG

I'm actually surprised that Yamada Sensei was not aware of the other US organizations with Hombu recognition. So am I to guess correctly that the American-based shihan from the different organizations don't communicate much with each other?

AsimHanif
04-30-2008, 01:12 PM
Hi Jennifer.
I think it would be fair to say - some do, and some don't.

Please tell Ed, Carlton, Sulaiman, Cliff etc....I said "hi and I'll see them at camp", if not before.

Regards,
Asim

Peter Goldsbury
04-30-2008, 04:23 PM
So am I to guess correctly that the American-based shihan from the different organizations don't communicate much with each other?

I have no idea about this.

gdandscompserv
04-30-2008, 04:57 PM
Peter,
I am really curious about this comment;
For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Iwao Yamaguchi was my sensei at Okinawa Aikikai. At the time I was to be tested for shodan I believe he was yondan. As a result, Moriteru Ueshiba came to our dojo in Okinawa to conduct yudansha testing. I tested for shodan before Moriteru Ueshiba. Now, for my questions;
Is my 'lineage' with Iwao Yamaguchi or with Moriteru Ueshiba?
Would my 'connection' to them need to be clearly broken before another shihan would have anything to do with subsequent dan promotions?

Shany
04-30-2008, 05:25 PM
Morihei ueshiba was under no lineage, and see what happened to him, he never suffered any headache and running around getting approval for what he is and what he does and knows.

now sriously, do aikido not because of the greedy grading system, do it because you love it, and want to share it with others.

Peter Goldsbury
05-01-2008, 01:37 AM
Peter,
I am really curious about this comment;

Iwao Yamaguchi was my sensei at Okinawa Aikikai. At the time I was to be tested for shodan I believe he was yondan. As a result, Moriteru Ueshiba came to our dojo in Okinawa to conduct yudansha testing. I tested for shodan before Moriteru Ueshiba. Now, for my questions;
Is my 'lineage' with Iwao Yamaguchi or with Moriteru Ueshiba?
Would my 'connection' to them need to be clearly broken before another shihan would have anything to do with subsequent dan promotions?

Rick,

Imagine. If, after taking your shodan, you found yourself in Hiroshima for a few years and wanted to train at my dojo, you would be welcome to do so. You could eschew grades and just train, like Mr Golan does. On the other hand, if you wanted to try for your nidan at my dojo, I would need to consult Doshu. He would prpbably say something like, "Well, I graded him to shodan, but he is really Yamaguchi's student. However, it is clear that he has spent a few years training with you, so you can go ahead and examine him. Of course, if, after taking his nidan, he goes back to Okinawa and resumes training with Yamaguchi, you or he should explain what has happened. If he leaves Hiroshima and goes somewhere else, it will be clear from his yudansha passport who he has trained with and so his next shihan will be able to check with you or the Hombu, if he wishes."

Alex Megann
05-01-2008, 04:00 AM
Iwao Yamaguchi was my sensei at Okinawa Aikikai. At the time I was to be tested for shodan I believe he was yondan. As a result, Moriteru Ueshiba came to our dojo in Okinawa to conduct yudansha testing. I tested for shodan before Moriteru Ueshiba. Now, for my questions;
Is my 'lineage' with Iwao Yamaguchi or with Moriteru Ueshiba?
Would my 'connection' to them need to be clearly broken before another shihan would have anything to do with subsequent dan promotions?

I think that in some ways Doshu "doesn't count" in the lineage question.

When I did my nidan grading here in the UK, Doshu was present, but it was the names of Fujita Sensei and Kanetsuka Sensei that went in my Yudansha book. Kanetsuka is my teacher, and Fujita was the invited instructor at that Summer School (as well as Kanetsuka's sempai). I gather that this is usually the case. Now if I wanted to grade at Hombu Dojo, I think matters would be very different.

I would think your situation with Yamaguchi Sensei is exactly equivalent.

Alex

Joe Bowen
05-01-2008, 04:53 AM
In some cases I would say it is an acceptable thing to have done.
For example, I have a very good friend of mine who started his Aikido career in the US and tested for his Shodan under Akira Tohei Sensei as a member of the USAF. He moved around quite a bit as my friend was in the US Air Force (the other USAF), and found himself living for three years in Japan. While there he trained with Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei and tested for his Nidan. He even has one of the wooden tags in Kobayashi Sensei's Dojo with his name on it. When he went back to the US he went back to the USAF, and eventually tested for his Sandan and eventually Yondan under Yamada Sensei. While I don't know all the ins & outs of this example my friend never has had any problems and is quite proud of his own history of training.
Sometimes these types of things happen. I would say that even though I am no longer living in Korea, I'll always be a part of the Korea Aikido Federation. It's where my aikido training really started.

George S. Ledyard
05-01-2008, 10:27 AM
Try this one on...

When Saotome Sensei first started the ASU our ranks came directly from him not from the Aikikai. But I moved to Seattle and was training under Mary Heiny Sensei, who at that time was affiliated under Chiba Sensei in the USAF. When she left to go to Canada, she promoted me to San Dan. But because Saotome Sensei was my real teacher, he also promoted me to San Dan. Chiba Sensei arranged for me to have a Shidoin certificate which arrived signed by Yamada Sensei (I do not think he actually knew who I was).

So I was simultaneously a senior student of Saotome Sensei in the ASU, running a dojo under Chiba Sensei, with San Dans from both the USAF and the ASU and a Shidoin Certificate from Yamada Sensei.

I don't think you get much weirder than that in terms of odd affiliation.

gdandscompserv
05-01-2008, 10:33 AM
Rick,

Imagine. If, after taking your shodan, you found yourself in Hiroshima for a few years and wanted to train at my dojo, you would be welcome to do so. You could eschew grades and just train, like Mr Golan does. On the other hand, if you wanted to try for your nidan at my dojo, I would need to consult Doshu. He would prpbably say something like, "Well, I graded him to shodan, but he is really Yamaguchi's student. However, it is clear that he has spent a few years training with you, so you can go ahead and examine him. Of course, if, after taking his nidan, he goes back to Okinawa and resumes training with Yamaguchi, you or he should explain what has happened. If he leaves Hiroshima and goes somewhere else, it will be clear from his yudansha passport who he has trained with and so his next shihan will be able to check with you or the Hombu, if he wishes."
Thank you Peter. I take it I should refer to Moriteru Ueshiba as Doshu.:) I appreciate your view on this. It is oftentimes difficult to understand the complexities of Japanese society, let alone the complexities of the budo student/teacher/dojo relationship. A very different environment than that which exists here in America. Even those who attempt to replicate the environment have a difficult time. I have heard Japanese shihan say that any uchideshi program here in America is ill-advised. I have come to appreciate the truthfulness of that. For me the dojo environment/relationship is very different here in America than it is in Japan. I can't say one is preferable to the other but they are certainly different. As a result, I feel somewhat like a social outcast when I have attempted to integrate with various American aikido dojo's. I also consider my 'lineage' to be somewhat special, but of course, everyone feels that way.;)
Anyway thanks for your time.
Ricky