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Old 07-20-2009, 06:24 AM   #44
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Université Laval
Location: Sainte-Catherine-de-la-J.-C., Québec
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 292
Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

William Oakes wrote: View Post

And now the current Doshu, after solidifying japan, takes aim at all us helpless Gajin. This is nothing more than a play to control rank. The way I see, in simplest terms, once all the 8 th dans die, hombu will start a rank "squeeze" so to speak. Since you can't promote yourself, and you can only( in theory mind you) award rank to 1 dan level below you, Hombu intends to squeeze the ranks out of the foreign organizations, in a sense forcing foreign orgs to take a "shihan" from Hombu, so new ranks can be given.

I am sure there other reasons,and maybe I paint with to broad of a stroke, but in pure simple terms its consolidation of power.
This seems pretty paranoid to me. The simple fact is that the title of shihan and the right to recommend and test for dan ranks is unrelated. The regulations are clear that all recognised Aikikai organisations can test people for dan rank. The ranks they can promote people to is related to the rank (not the shihan status) of the person in charge (presumably the highest ranked person in the organisation).

Here are the rules form the Aikikai web site :

1. An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, when its Person in Charge is 6th dan or above, may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 4th dan. When the Person in Charge is 4th dan or 5th dan, it may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 3rd dan. In the case of a 4th dan examination, an application to Hombu must be made. and the examination will be conducted by the Hombu or a person delegated by the Hombu.
2. With respect to 5th dan and 6th dan, decisions will be made by the Hombu. However, if the Person in Charge of an Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition is 6th dan, an application for recommendation up to 5th dan can be made to the Hombu . If Person in Charge is 7th dan, application for recommendation up to 6th dan can be made.
3. Discussions relating to 7th dan or above are settled separately.

So for my organisation, the loss of the 8th dan Japanese shihans shouldn't really change anything. We have plenty of non-Japanese seventh dans and should therefore be able to continue to test and recommend people just as we can now under Yamada.

There are currently several organisations run by non-Japanese that test and recommend people for Aikikai dans (Tissier's organisation and the California group run by Nadeau and Doran come to mind). Just because the ranks of 7th dan and above are "settled seperately", that doesn't mean they are never given out. Many 7th dans have been given, and not just to people working directly under a Japanese shihan.

From what I remember Peter mentioning on previous threads, the Hombu has pretty much decided that it will no longer send out Japanese shihans to run organisations overseas, which is the opposite of the scenario you are painting.

Jonathan Olson
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