Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Both Jorge and Peter R. are teachers and can talk about their experiences too to help give you some perspective on the time and commitment required to do this.
I am probably the worst example you could find. One year of Aikido at Tsukuba University, three years at Honbu, one year with an Aikikai group in Quebec followed by a seminar with my teacher from Japan in the US which made me realize what I was missing. I grabbed a few friends and away we went - I only had Shodan but the group grew.
After I returned to Japan I was still quite a distance from Honbu. When I went to Shihan for a recomendation of a place to train I ended up with time at a 380 tatami dojo and a Nidan Japanese assistant. I was still only Shodan - but his sempai. I have since been promoted.
In Canada I was given permission to test 8th Kyu to 5th Kyu, here I take my crew to Honbu. My function at gradings is to take ukemi - that's it.
I could best be described as an Instructor under supervision. This in itself is an anomoly as I can't think of anyone else in the same circumstance here in Japan. We don't have the Fukoshiodin title, although we have Shiodin. JAA instructors are quite rare - minimum of Yondan, usually ex-deshi (professional full-time apprentice). Shiodin are rarer still and in either case rank is no guarantee.
Instructor/Shiodin in Japan can award grades - I think that is the only benefit. Usually two below your own but only Shihan can award Yondan and up.
Honbu teaches you to teach. As you move up the food chain your chance of being paired with a grade below you for instructional purposes increases. This means I had a fair idea not only how to do what I taught but also to teach what I knew.
I taught only so I could train. That was true in Canada - that is ture here.