Originally posted by Erik
I don't debate much of what you have said. That they have done much to spread the art seems undeniable to me. That we should be grateful for that also seems appropriate to me.
Yet, it also seems as if your glasses are tinted the color of roses. I thought the following from the Birankai web site summed things up nicely.
There is a third way in which Birankai International will protect the unity of purpose Sensei wishes it to have. That is in the establishment of shihan title. For many years, the shihan of the North American Continental Shihankai have been negotiating with Hombu Dojo to allow for the recognition of non-Japanese teachers as shihan. In order for Aikido to truly take root outside Japan, it must develop, support, and honor teachers native to the countries where it is practiced. Unfortunately, over time, it has become apparent that the issuance of shihan title to non-Japanese must be resolved without the direct assistance of Hombu Dojo. Therefore, Chiba Sensei has given shihan title to three of the senior teachers in Birankai International US.
The bold part says a lot and it seems to me from my bleacher seat that maybe they could be doing a better job of this.
If my glasses are tinted, I'm afraid they can't be rose colored on that point because I conceded that issue in my first post when I said that Hombu dojo probably lacked the political will to promote non Japanese shihans. I don't believe I have disagreed in any of my posts with that action of the Birankai.
Just between you and me, I don't think Hombu dojo much cares about that because the use of the shihan title has already been in use, in an informal manner, throughout the aikikai world for years. That action by Chiba Sensei seems to me to be a way of preserving his group internally without having to depend on the politics of Japan to determine what's going to happen to him here in the US. Chiba Sensei is probably going to have more trouble with his fellow USAF Shihans over that action than he will from Hombu dojo because those designations put him outside the boundaries of the USAF as well.
Do you see my point though? Hombu dojo wasn't handing out Shihan titles at large anywhere in the world anyway so Chiba sensei doing it doesn't diminish the Aikikai at all.
My concern was that separate Dan rankings and passports are duplications that may diminish the source. I don't think there's anything to do about it and I concede that it is Chiba sensei's right to do so if he pleases. I only make an observation and hopefully, not a hard and fast judgement.