J�rgen Jakob Friis
Personally I prefer the title to be something given as a recognition for an extraordinary effort combined with at gift for teaching and transforming aikido. That - in my book - are the features of a 'model instructor'. If the title was handed out to anybody at a special age and with enough hours on the mat, then it would just be the same as say 6th dan. It has to be something special.
Just my thoughts on the matter...
What standards ought to be required is kind of a red herring.
The real problem isn't what qualifications are required, the real problem (IMO) is that there are two
Anyone who lives in Japan is automatically
shihan at 6th dan.
Everybody else has to go through the qualifying process and is not shihan without special certification, whether they're 6th, 7th or even 8th dan (if we start to see foreigners promoted to 8th dan).
It sets up a division that is clearly discriminatory along racial lines.
Now, there is a strong cultural assumption in Japan that Japanese are "unique", and that may have crept into the decision making process - but that's really not acceptable in an international organization that is asking for our financial support.
At one time almost everybody was tied to hombu through their instructors, or the instructors that headed their organizations.
But those times are passing - the old instructors are passing away, and many of the current senior instructors have never even been to hombu and Doshu wouldn't remember their name if he met them on the street.
Time for a new model - and the Aikikai has to realize that in order to remain relevant.