George S. Ledyard
Thanks for the explanation. I am amazed at how you navigate this mine field... You know you're in trouble when the explanation leaves you more confused than you were before.
So, are you saying that Doran Sensei is an official Shihan of the organization of which he is one of the principles but that technically, he isn't a Shihan as far as the USAF is concerned? Or that when he travels back to Japan, he isn't a Shihan there? I hope that's not what I am hearing because that would make the real utility of the title fairly questionable, I would say. I mean, at least your Dan Ranking travels across borders... I'm a 6th Dan at Hombu and if I moved over to the USAF for some purely hypothetical reason, I would be a 6th Dan there.
I think I liked it better when it was simply a matter of "Because Sensei said so..."
The organizations recognized by the Aikikai are:
1. Aikido Association of Northern California 114 Dexter Avenue Redwood City CA 94063-3617 U.S.A
2. Aikido Tenshinkai Federation http://www.tenshinkai.com/
3. California Aikido Association http://www.ai-ki-do.org/
4. Makoto Aikido Kyokai firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Takemusu Aikido Association 3809 Carlson Circle Palo Alto, CA94306 USA
6. United States Aikido Federation http://usaikifed.com/
The AANC is centered around Robert Nadeau, Frank Doran and Bill Witt, so Frank's Shihan title comes from his relationship with this organization, not from having been related to the ASU. Thus, he has the title, but his powers as shihan extend only within the AANC. He is certainly not a shihan in the USAF. Of course he has the title, but it is only a title.
As you suggest, one could indeed argue that it makes the utility of the title fairly questionable, but in my opinion this is a consequence of the new shihan rules. The title is exclusively tied to the organization within which one is a shihan and the only shihan who can transcend such organizational boundaries are the older deshi like Yamada and Saotome, who will soon disappear, and the members of the teaching staff of the Aikikai Honbu. Some older deshi have the title of Hombu Shihan, like Tada and Isoyama, but the shihan of the Hombu teaching staff are Honbu Shidoubu Shiban
and the Aikikai newspaper is very careful about this.
PS. I will eventually get round to issues like this in the Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation columns when we discuss issues like the value of aikido organizations.
PPS. Many apologies to the original poster for the thread drift.