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Old 01-30-2021, 11:45 PM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,308
Re: Titles in Japanese

Hello Walter,

This is mainly to add to what Ellis has stated.

In Japan, if you run your own dojo and have had 6th dan for more than 6 years, you are considered to be a shihan, but there is no 'ceremony' or piece of paper to prove this. Outside Japan, an aikido shihan receives a piece of paper from the Aikikai signed by Doshu and stating that x is now a shihan. This does not happen within Japan, probably in view of the large numbers involved.

You can see this from the recent Aikikai New Year dan promotions. There were just two 8th dans, a rather larger number of 7th dans, but still not very many, a much larger number of 6th dans, and a huge number of 5th dans. I promoted a dojo member to 5th dan, and his diploma was sent to me, together with an invoice. When I received my own 7th dan, I received a telephone call from the Aikikai informing me of the promotion and also that I had to receive the diploma from Doshu personally. So I went to Tokyo to receive the diploma. There was no invoice but a large donation was expected (at least 6 figures).

Am I a shihan? Yes, definitely. However, I have been a university professor for far longer than an aikido shihan, So in formal academic circles I am Goldsbury Kyoju, but I am known much more often as Goldsbury Sensei. This title is also given to doctors, lawyers, and senior members of gangster groups. So I am in mixed company.

I should add that if you actually call someone 'X Shihan' by name in his/her company, the unstated assumption is that the person is extremely eminent, at a higher level of being, and walking at least one foot above the ground--probably gliding.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-30-2021 at 11:55 PM.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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