The Birankai was formed some time ago, and quite a few Shihan titles have flowed out of Hombu to non-Japanese since then, up to and including this year. So how is it clear that non-Japanese will not be getting Shihan titles from Hombu?
I think this is of importance here:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
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.
So, yes, the Aikikai Honbu can award a "shihan" certificate. However, as I understand it, that "shihan" status is *only* granted within that one organization. It does not cover the Aikikai or other organizations.
Say what you will, but if that's true, then all those non-Japanese that were awarded "shihan" status, well, really weren't. Someone changed the rules on them and now they're "shihan", but sort of on a leash, if you will. Sure, sure, you're shihan with an Aikikai stamp of approval on a piece of paper, but only in your organization. You aren't "shihan" like an Aikikai teaching staff shihan who transcends organizations. Why is that?
How would you like it if you're given this nice certificate from Doshu stating that you're a shihan, but found out that really, you're not like the shihan teaching at the Aikikai? You only have that status within your organization while the teaching staff shihan are shihan over all Aikikai organizations. The question then becomes, how many non-Japanese have a "shihan" status that is equal to the Aikikai teaching staff shihan?
I never thought about what William Oakes posted, but it makes sense. I'd hate to think it's true, though. Especially considering that there is a movement here to, er, strengthen the aiki in aikido. That kind of move that William Oakes describes could backfire on the Aikikai in a very bad way. Again, I sincerely hope it isn't what's really happening.