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Dave Miller
06-20-2003, 03:58 PM
What is the criteria for calling someone shihan? Do they need to be of a certain rank or have been personally trained by Ueshiba or one of his disciples or can it be more generally applied to someone who has gained prominance as an instructor of other senseis?

06-20-2003, 04:18 PM
I believe this has been addressed before on this site. You might try typing in shihan and see what you get on a search. It was here or on the aiki journal site (sorry Jun)

John Boswell
06-21-2003, 08:47 AM
Being that its Saturday morning and quiet at the office, I did the search and this is the answer I like the best. TONS OF THREADS on this subject with tons more answers... but I liked this one:
KAMI : There is a great confusion on the meaning of Shihan. Originally, SHIHAN was a term of respect for someone who was a remarkable master teacher. It wasn't given by an organization but by his students.

Later the Aikikai (but not every style of Aikido) created some titles for teaching certification (based on older formats) - FUKUSHIDOIN, SHIDOIN AND SHIHAN - concerned, not explicitly about "master teachers", but about levels of certification. It was never systematized by the Aikikai, so all the confusion ("when is one a shihan", "when are you a master", etc...). Each style, group or organization has its own criteria. And, it's important to remember, the Aikikai Hombu Dojo is not the DEFINITIVE organization. The Yoshinkai, the Shodokan, the Ki-Aikido, each has their own independent Hombu and do not follow Aikikai's injunctions.

Also, dan rankings ("when you get a 6th dan, you're a Shihan!")have nothing to do with teaching certifications.

And finally, mastery, considered as a personal achievement, depends entirely on the individual and on the people who consider him to be a Shihan. That's all.



"We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we need to learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn it".

Unknown author

Ubaldo Alcantara

Last edited by Kami on 07-30-2002 at 01:24 PM

06-22-2003, 02:22 AM
i always thought a shihan was the head of the branch of the organisation in whichever particular area it is?

i.e. a shihan has several dojo's run by different teachers that refer to him/her or look to him/her for guidance?