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Old 07-19-2009, 02:40 PM   #26
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

I see that the list's above have failed to mention one of my favorite Shihan's; Francis Y. Takahashi.
http://www.aikidoacademyusa.com/academy/francis.php
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:17 PM   #27
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

http://www.aikidonm.org/instructors.html

I trained at Vasquez and Teshiba's dojo when they were based in Miami. He was rokudan and "Shihan." She was godan. They were both excellent instructors in my view, and I got a good vibe from the dojo. I think it's better than a Vegas or Altantic City slot odds to say that Pablo Vasquez is not Japanese. Before I went there long ago, I visited the website and was confused. I had though that each school had one Shihan, as the ASU does (unless Ikeda's label as "successor shihan" also means flat-out shihan). So, I was confused how Yamada Shihan shared that title of master instructor with advanced sensei in his own organization (USAF). Then there's the shidoin label, which I don't understand. Does someone?

Drew
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:18 PM   #28
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Yes, I was there at the meeting. Of course, there has been a Japanese shihan in France since many years before that meeting in Sweden: Nobuyoshi Tamura. However, at the time there was a major split among the Japanese shihan group between N Tamura and the rest. M Fujita was playing the role of 'honest broker'. The other Japanese refused to participate in the demonstration organized by the Swedish federation, so Fujita Sensei was the only one: I was his uke.
I was also there, being one of the Swedish organizers. Actually, Iwamoto sensei also made a demonstration. I think he was shihan of Austrian aikido at the time. A wonderful man.
I don't remember exactly what the other Japanese shihans' boycot was about, but it probably had something to do with the fact that we in Sweden declined the offer from Asai sensei to become the new shihan of Sweden after Ichimura sensei had returned to Japan.

Regarding western shihan, I am quite convinced that they are still appointed, although rarely. Just a couple of years ago, Sweden got its second shihan, Ulf Evenås. Our first one was Jan Hermansson, appointed the same year as the first bunch of westerners were officially appointed shihan by the Aikikai Hombu.
Christian Tissier is one of those, as well, and from that moment on he is most definitely regarded as a proper shihan, also by the Hombu.

As far as I understand, a Hombu recognized organization can apply for one of its members to become shihan, if that person is 6 dan since at least 6 years of continued aikido activity. Hombu decides, and the decision is made public at their Kagamibiraki celebration (just like with the grades 5 dan and up). There is a diploma, which is not very elegant in style...

The Hombu expects a shihan to examine and recommend people for dan grades. If that is within his or her organization, no problem. If it is elsewhere, the shihan has to make special arrangements with the Hombu. Still, the Hombu puts great trust in the competence of its shihans, also when it comes to dan gradings.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:49 PM   #29
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Confused Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Actually, from what Peter is writing here, I don't see any recent change in policy. Though it is clear there is a lot going on behind the scenes that he is not telling us.

Here is a post from a few years back on Aikido Journal's bulletin board :
----------------------------------------
[I have recently received two email messages from Masaki Tani Sensei of the Aikikai International Department that provide a detailed explanation of Hombu Dojo's policy with respect to both Japanese and foreign shihan. I have excerpted the relevant portions of his communications. Only minor language and formatting changes have been made. We wish to thank Tani Sensei for placing his confidence in Aikido Journal to disseminate this information. -Ed.]
--------------------
Dear Stanley,

As I mentioned in my previous message, please feel free to use the information in my previous message about Shihan at any place and in any form but presenting my message as it is. You can state that the source of the information is Tani of the Int'l Dept. of Hombu.
--------------------
Recently I read, at the Aikido Journal's site, the debate about "Shihan". Some people are misinformed while other people have correct information and understanding about the matter. Hoping it would be help for you and your fellow Aikidokas and your readers, I would offer the following information relating to this issue.
* In Japan, there are many Shihan not mentioned here, who are professional Aikido instructors holding 6th Dan up allowed to use the title of Shihan according to the traditional rules existed even before the promulgation of Aikido World Headquarters' International Regulations.
[snip]
There are four types of Shihan as follows.
1) Japanese Aikido instructors who reside outside Japan with a mission given by Hombu Dojo-Aikido World Headquarters to propagate Aikido at overseas. They are :
(in the U.S.A.)
Seiichi SUGANO (8th Dan)
Kazuo CHIBA (8th Dan)
Yoshimitsu YAMADA (8th Dan)
Mitsuya KANAI (8th Dan)
(in France)
Nobuyoshi TAMURA (8th Dan)
(in Germany)
Katsuaki ASAI (8th Dan)
2) Japanese Aikido instructors who left Japan and reside outside Japan by their own intention and determination to propagate Aikido at overseas. They are :
(in the U.S.A.)
Ichiro SHIBATA (7th Dan)
(in the UK)
Minoru KANETSUKA (7th Dan)
(in Switzerland)
Masatomi IKEDA (7th Dan)
(in Italy)
Yoji FUJIMOTO (7th Dan)
Hideki HOSOKAWA (7th Dan)
(in Spain)
Yasunari KITAURA (7th Dan)
(in Thailand)
Motohiro FUKAKUSA (7th Dan)
(in Malaysia)
Jun YAMADA (7th Dan)
(in Argentina)
Katsutoshi KURATA (7th Dan)
Kenzo MIYAZAWA (7th Dan)
(in Brazil)
Ichitami SHIKANAI (7th Dan)
Reishin KAWAI (8th Dan)
3) Instructors who are the members (incl. ex-members) of Hombu Dojo's Instructors Department. Hombu instructor becomes Shihan when given 6th Dan. They are :
Shigenobu OKUMURA (9th Dan)
Sadateru ARIKAWA (9th Dan)
Hiroshi TADA (9th Dan)
Masatake FUJITA (8th Dan)
Seishiro MASUDA (8th Dan)
Masando SASAKI (8th Dan)
Nobuyuki WATANABE (8th Dan)
Seishiro ENDO (8th Dan)
Masatoshi YASUNO (7th Dan)
Shoji SEKI (7th Dan)
Koichi TORIUMI (7th Dan)
Tsuruzo MIYAMOTO (7th Dan)
Yoshiaki YOKOTA (7th Dan)
Hayato OSAWA (7th Dan)
Yukimitsu KOBAYASHI (6th Dan)
Shigeru SUGAWARA (6th Dan)
Takanori KURIBAYASHI (6th Dan)
Takeshi KANAZAWA (6th Dan)
4) Shihan appointed by Hombu based on the rules set forth in the Aikido World Headquarters' International Regulations and Rules for Appointment of Shihan. They are :
Frank DORAN (7th Dan, California Aikido Association, U.S.A.)
Robert NADEAU (7th Dan, California Aikido Association, U.S.A.)
William WITT (7th Dan, Takemusu Aikido Association, U.S.A.)
Christian TISSIER (7th Dan, FFAAA, France)
Paul C. N. LEE (7th Dan, Republic of China Aikido Association)
Kenneth E. COTTIER (6th Dan, British Aikido Federation)
Jan HERMANSSON (6th Dan, Swedish Budo Federation - Aikido Section)
[snip]
M. Tani International Department Hombu Dojo
Notes:
- For 1) and 2) above, a Certificate signed by Doshu has been given to each Shihan. However, no written rules exist for appointment of these Shihan. The arrangement reflects the historical and traditional facts.
- As for 3) above, Hombu Dojo's internal rules are applied.
- For 4) above, a Certificate signed by Doshu has been given to each Shihan.
I would like to add some more remarks about Shihan issue.
- Shihan in Japan : In Japan, before the International Regulations were promulgated about 20 years ago, there already existed many Aikido Dojo. I have heard then Hombu placed a verbal explanation that a professional Aikido instructor who was teaching Aikido in his own Dojo or other place could use the title of Shihan when awarded 6th Dan. Thus, in Japan there are many Shihan. Steven Seagal was one of them when he was running his own Dojo in Osaka. But for these Shihan in Japan, no certificate of Shihan is issued by Hombu.
- Shihan in accordance with the International Regulations and Rules for Appointment of Shihan
- It is prescribed that the Committee for Appointment of Shihan shall be held once in December every year, and the result shall be announced in January of the following year. In December of the last year, the 1st Committee was held and seven persons were appointed as Shihan out of nine candidates. This was announced in January this year, but it does not have anything to do with Kagami Biraki. The timing of the anouncement depended simply on my personal workload.
- Papers/certificates signed by the Founder or Kisshomaru Doshu : As per the strong and persistent requests of individuals returning to his/her country completing the practice for several years at Hombu Dojo, the Founder and Kisshomaru Doshu signed in the documents in which it was stated that the holder of said document was a Shihan or allowed to propagate Aikido in his/her country. It was mostly before the International Regulations were promulgated in 1980. When someone mentions such a document, I say "Please keep it as an invaluable souvenir from the Founder or Kisshomaru Doshu." The paper is not compatible with the rules of the International Regulations, but we cannot deny the authority of the Founder or Kisshomaru Doshu.
- New Doshu's policy : Some people seem to believe that after Moriteru Doshu took his office as new Doshu, the new Doshu's (or Hombu's) policy was changed. But this is not true. For example, the modification to the International Regulations to admit more than one Recognized Organization in one country was already discussed and prepared a couple of years prior to the decease of Kisshomaru Doshu. The International Regulations were established more than 20 years ago as I mentioned above. Since then no policy change was made. The fact is that no effort was made to make the rules of the Regulations well understood by the public (Aikido world) and many of the rules were not applied or implemented.
[snip]
[ November 13, 2002: Message edited by: Editor ]
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Editor ]
----------------------------------------

Nothing from Peter's posts really makes me feel that this situation has changed in any way that will affect me or my instructors.

BTW I doubt "most" aikikai groups give out their own dan certificates. My organisation, the USAF, certainly doesn't. It only awards Aikikai dans. I mentioned the dan ranks along with the shihan certificates, because these are the two certificates which, according to the Aikikai regulations, must be obtained from the Headquarters. The power to give kyu ranks and fukushidoin and shidoin certificates belongs to the various recognised organisations. I think everybody interested in this little bit of politics should ay least read the Aikikai's international regulations :

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/index.htm

I have viewed all this as the Aikikai trying to move towards dealing with organisations rather than individuals. In certain countries, there isn't much choice as the governements seem to feel the need to get involved and it becomes hard to have more than one recognised organisation. Here in Noerth America, the governments stay out of it and we are left to come up with our own rules to run the organisations.

Personnally I think the idea of organisations with committees is a good one. In the USAF, we won't have Yamada running the show forever. The technical committee has made it possible to have the next generation to get involved without singleing out one individual. I hope this will make it possible for people like Claude Berthiame, Harvey Konigsberg, Donovan Waite, Peter Bernath, etc., and their students, to be able to work together far into future rather than have each Shihan go and start an independent group.

As far as the new shihan titles being organisation specific, I suppose this might be an issue if a shihan left his organisation to start a new one, but without any official powers associated with any of the teaching certificates, I don't see that it would matter much. For the groups that are recognised, the system should allow fairly smooth transmission as the generation of super-shihan slowly passes. I might be more worried if I was in a non recognised group that gets its rank through a super-shihan as you could be left hanging if that super-shihan dies.

Personally, I would be very interested in hearing the arguments in the debate Peter is caught in the middle of, but that haven't been aired publicly. After all, politics is a great and vicious spectator sport.
What then is the status of Saotome sensei and Seagal sensei? The list was quite extensive so I may have overlooked your answer.

Last edited by akiy : 07-20-2009 at 08:38 AM. Reason: Shortened "------" to preserve formatting.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:39 PM   #30
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Really, though -- it's all about the beer.

Shihan can be (loosely) translated "Acme War-master."

(Wyle E. is filling out his order as we speak... )

Which is not to detract from the legitimate accomplishments of those who have been granted the title. But it illustrates that this is analogous to a simple matter of brand management and disputes over sub-brands -- as in (what else?) -- beer. This helps take the problem out of the culturally-specific context, into a matter of common interest -- and if you aren't interested in beer, -- well, t'heckwitcha, anyway.

Hombu has a legitimate interest (and in terms of obligations, attending to honor of the inheritance) to exercise some control over the evolution of "aikido" -- as with a brand. I was in Houston this past week and happened to go to a movie, near which was a strip mall dojo with every martial art you can imagine listed on the marquee (save "ninjutsu," notably), but including "aikido". There were no indications of affiliation (and objectively, were not likely to be any), but that would have been my first question had I any inclination for training at the time.

As with beer, "brand" gives some indication that the quality of thing in the bottle comports with the labeling -- for the benefit of those with legitimate interest in it, but less objective knowledge from which to judge. It is not the only thing to be relied on for information, by any means, but in any situation where there is no concrete rule or enforceable objective standard to negate or punish bad quality, "brand" is the among the very clever indicators people have come up with to communicate some consistency of a standard quality.

"Brand" is a means to assure a certain threshold standard -- holding up the bottom end, as it were. Excellence in craft is a wholly different matter -- as the "backwater" microbrew revolution showed -- and the "standard" brands are now following in incorporating and raising the level of the standards.

Beer.

Is there anything it can't teach...?
As I sit here drinking a Fin du Monde (one of the best craft beers not only of Quebec, but of the world), I hate to think that I'm caught up in the Budweiser of aikido

Jonathan Olson
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:55 PM   #31
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
If I understand what your saying correctly, from what I recall from Peters response to me along a certain line of questioning, if you have a super-shihan giving you rank, you should be fine.

But then again you are talking about an organization under a super-shihan... though if they all have recognized Dan grades from the AikiKai then I dont think there would be much of an issue with a transition. [though we humans can complicate things]

Dont know, at some point a lot of the politics mentioned here seems to show me why many people dont really care if they are affiliated... but everything has its place I suppose.

Peace

dAlen

p.s.
speaking of affiliations it really doesnt seem it matters, to the individual, until they test for Shodan.
[seeing that the kyu ranks are tested differently across the globe...]

We have the situation where we have 5 Aikido organizations in Hungary, and from my understanding none of them are recognized by Hombu. Though they are all under Tamura Sensei... So that is kind of awkward, but on a positive note, it should be easy for an individual who transfers to be accepted in an affiliated organization if they have a recognized Dan rank from the likes of Tamura Sensei... [more thinking about myself if I ever move again]
Your example kind of makes my point. If Tamura dies tomorrow, your five organisations lose their only direct contact with the Aikikai and have to scramble to build another one. While if Yamada and Sugano were to simultaneously leave us, the USAF would still be a recognised organisation containing several 7th dan shihans and the right to recommend and test people for Aikikai dan ranks.

I'm truly surious how a country the size of Hungary ended up with five independent groups all connected to the same guy. I guess I shouldn't be too surpreised, there are at least three groups in the province of Quebec that get their dans through Yamada:

1) The dojos affiliated to the USAF (Yamada is the chairman of our federation and is listed as the examinerfor my shodan on my Aikikai yudansha booklet)
2) Massimo's group (I may be wrong about this as Massimo may have some other connection, he is 7th dan after all, but he is not a member of an official recognised Aikikai organisation, so who knows)
3) the Quebec dojos in the Canadian Aikido Federation (The CAF is a recognised Aikikai organisation but it doesn't hold any dan examinations in our area, so they usually test at the May seminar in front of the USAF panel and then make out their own paperwork to receive the certificate from the aikikai through the CAF. I remember one friend who used to be in a CAF dojo telling me how surprised he was to see Kawahara's name in his Yudansha booklet since he had tested in front of Yamada and had had very little exposure to Kawahara at all.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:08 PM   #32
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
http://www.aikidonm.org/instructors.html

I trained at Vasquez and Teshiba's dojo when they were based in Miami. He was rokudan and "Shihan." She was godan. They were both excellent instructors in my view, and I got a good vibe from the dojo. I think it's better than a Vegas or Altantic City slot odds to say that Pablo Vasquez is not Japanese. Before I went there long ago, I visited the website and was confused. I had though that each school had one Shihan, as the ASU does (unless Ikeda's label as "successor shihan" also means flat-out shihan). So, I was confused how Yamada Shihan shared that title of master instructor with advanced sensei in his own organization (USAF). Then there's the shidoin label, which I don't understand. Does someone?

Drew
Shihan has never been synonimous with leader of an organisation. In the USAF we have always had several shihans, even when this was restricted to the senior Japanese instructors. When I first started, the USAF-East had Yamada, Sugano and Kanai. I am personally more a part of Kanai's lineage than Yamada's for that matter.

For a brief explanation of shidoin and shihan, here are the relevant articles from the Aikikai International Regulations :

Article 15 : QUALIFICATIONS OF INSTRUCTORS
1. With respect to an Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, the qualifications for instructors are as follows:
(1) Shihan
(2) Shidoin
(3) Fukushidoin
2. The titles for instructors' qualification are written in Japanese.
Article 16 : SHIHAN
1. The Hombu examines and appoints Shihan from among persons who are 6th dan or above, and who are proficient in practice and instructing.
2. To the appointed person, a Certificate of Appointment is awarded by the Hombu.
Article 17 : SHIDOIN AND FUKUSHIDOIN
1. An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition is to have a system for qualifying Shidoin and Fukushidoin.
(1) Shidoin are persons of 4th dan or above
(2) Fukushidoin are persons of 2nd dan or 3rd dan
2. An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition can issue a Certificate of Appointment to those whom it has appointed Shidoin and Fukushidoin.
3. An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition must report to the Hombu the name and dan grades of those whom it has appointed Shidoin and Fukushidoin.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:24 PM   #33
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jason Rudolph wrote: View Post
What then is the status of Saotome sensei and Seagal sensei? The list was quite extensive so I may have overlooked your answer.
I don't know that much about the history of the ASU, but I think Saotome was a Hombu shihan in Japan but his move to the US was accomapnied by a break with the Aikikai. He was accepted back into the fold sometime shortly after George Ledyard got his 4th dan. (Is this about right George?).

As far as Seagal goes, he was once a "cultural shihan" in Japan due to his rank and status as an instrucor. I don't think he ever received any kind of certification. As far as I know he no longer has an active dojo nor is he part of any aikido organisation (recognised by the Aikikai or not). Some of his former students are still active in the Aikikai. Larry Reynosa's organisation, the Makoto Aikido Kyokai, is a recognised Aikikai organisation.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:33 PM   #34
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
As far as Seagal goes, he was once a "cultural shihan" in Japan due to his rank and status as an instrucor. I don't think he ever received any kind of certification. As far as I know he no longer has an active dojo nor is he part of any aikido organisation (recognised by the Aikikai or not). Some of his former students are still active in the Aikikai. Larry Reynosa's organisation, the Makoto Aikido Kyokai, is a recognised Aikikai organisation.
Don't forget Matsuoka Sensei.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:33 PM   #35
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

"There is a third way in which Birankai International will protect the unity of purpose Sensei wishes it to have. That is in the establishment of shihan title. For many years, the shihan of the North American Continental Shihankai have been negotiating with Hombu Dojo to allow for the recognition of non-Japanese teachers as shihan. In order for Aikido to truly take root outside Japan, it must develop, support, and honor teachers native to the countries where it is practiced. Unfortunately, over time, it has become apparent that the issuance of shihan title to non-Japanese must be resolved without the direct assistance of Hombu Dojo. Therefore, Chiba Sensei has given shihan title to three of the senior teachers in Birankai International US."

Well you see Chiba Sensei's intent when he formed Birankai. That passage is from Birankai's home page. This has been an issue for some time. And its clear, that non Japanese will not be getting Shihan titles from Hombu. In essence it is more power plays coming from the current Doshu to re-align the aikido world under him. He knows the original dechi of O' Sensei are getting old now , So the current Doshu is moving to reign in all the organizations under those original Deshi. You saw it earlier with the squashing of Saito at Iwama, bringing the end of the so called "Iwama style" So there would be just one recognized so called style for both Hombu and Iwama.

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.

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:33 PM   #36
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

I know there are Shi-hans that are not Japanese, and the contention of that in this discussion. Maybe understanding why there is more non-Japanese Shi-hans might have a deep rooted cause reflected by this story. Things may not be intentional, but result from an attitude long held by the Japanese they are not aware of.

A Woman and the Bell of Miidera

In the ancient monastery of Miidera there was a great bronze bell. It rang out every morning and evening, a clear, rich note, and its surface shone like sparkling dew. The priests would not allow any woman to strike it, because they thought that such an action would pollute and dull the metal, as well as bring calamity upon them.

When a certain pretty woman who lived in Kyoto heard this, she grew extremely inquisitive, and at last, unable to restrain her curiosity, she said: "I will go and see this wonderful bell of Miidera. I will make it send forth a soft note, and in its shining surface, bigger and brighter than a thousand mirrors, I will paint and powder my face and dress my hair."

At length this vain and irreverent woman reached the belfry in which the great bell was suspended, at a time when all were absorbed in their sacred duties. She looked into the gleaming bell and saw her pretty eyes, flushed cheeks, and laughing dimples. Presently she stretched forth her little fingers, lightly touched the shining metal, and prayed that she might have as great and splendid a mirror for her own. When the bell felt this woman's fingers, the bronze that she touched shrank, leaving a little hollow, and losing at the same time all its exquisite polish.

From, F. Hadland Davis, Myths and Legends of Japan (London: George G. Harrap and Company, 1917), pp. 141-142.

Maybe they feel parts of Aikido as a martial art, as a cultural thing are very sacred that if Aikido is full of non-Japanese Shi-hans if touched would diminish, leaving Aikido a little hollow, and and losing all its exquisite polish.

And as unfair as it seems, no where does it say in Aikido they have to adopt affirmative action. I don't think O'Sensei opened up Aikido to the world thinking any body, but Japanese where going to run it. He did follow traditional Japanese martial art hierarchical ways pasting the art on to his son, who passed Aikido on to his son. And for Japanese the governing body of Aikido is pretty liberal in this sense. I think that should be taken in consideration when taking Aikido which is a Japanese art. I mean I don't ever see a Japanese born national ever being the President. And I don't ever see a non-Japanese ruling Japan (unless by force) as Emperor of Japan no matter how many non-Japanese live in Japan. These things have to be consider part of the territory at that level of Aikido. Most people, will never be or want such a level as Shi-han. It makes me wonder though why some do.

Last edited by Buck : 07-19-2009 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:57 PM   #37
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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William Oakes wrote: View Post
Well you see Chiba Sensei's intent when he formed Birankai. That passage is from Birankai's home page. This has been an issue for some time. And its clear, that non Japanese will not be getting Shihan titles from Hombu.
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?

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-20-2009, 02:01 AM   #38
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think that (1) the title of the thread is not quite accurate and (2) this whole discussion needs to be placed in a proper context.
I think Professor Goldsbury nailed some important flaws in this discussion here.

As has been pointed out, the idea that foreigners flat-out cannot become shihan in the Aikikai is at blatant odds with recent events. I hope it is unnecessary to add more names to the list of foreign shihan's getting recognised recently. This discussion seems to be more concerned with the difficulties (not impossibility) people outside of Japan (I would leave race/nationality out of it for now) face in getting their status recognised.

Quote:
William Oakes wrote: View Post
You saw it earlier with the squashing of Saito at Iwama, bringing the end of the so called "Iwama style" So there would be just one recognized so called style for both Hombu and Iwama.
The Aikikai is the founder's organisation, not a style of aikido. When referred to as a style, people usually mean whatever style they are most familiar with within that organisation. The "squashing" of Saito sensei is another debate, but do you really think that the Aikikai wants to impose a uniform style across the organisation?
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:42 AM   #39
Eva Antonia
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Hi all,

in Belgium we have since last year Dany Leclerre as shihan; he is a 7th dan but not on the list...

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:46 AM   #40
dalen7
 
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Your example kind of makes my point. If Tamura dies tomorrow, your five organisations lose their only direct contact with the Aikikai and have to scramble to build another one.

I'm truly surious how a country the size of Hungary ended up with five independent groups all connected to the same guy.
- Totally got the picture now... your right, it would be a mess.

- as for the second bit, I could be wrong, but it does appear that Tamura Sensei is the only Japanese Shihan that is connected to Hungary directly.

Aside from that, there is no connection to Hombu, as none of the five organizations are officially recognized by the Aikikai.

Apparently its a political rift between the organizations preventing this from happening... and why there are so many organizations as well. [Im not sure what is currently happening to bridge the gap, but I suppose we will see with time what happens.]

Part of the problem, which Peter had pointed out elsewhere, is that originally Central & Eastern Europe did not have a Shihan sent to it... So in a way we dont even have an official Shihan that was dedicated to us as it were, but Tamura Sensei took us under his wing. [seeing he is one of the super-shihans who can give rank anywhere.]

It would be nice to see this resolved, but things are not that simple as we see with the thread at hand - the rest of the world is struggling with its own issues in regards to who is what in this whole chain... [therefore some people throwing up their hands, and rightfully so, saying, "who cares, just train."

While the above statement is true, it would be nice to see harmony within Aikidos organizational framework as well -

Peace

dAlen

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Old 07-20-2009, 04:53 AM   #41
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

I would not be too concerned if there is an Aikido Teacher whom you "know" to be a "Shihan" that is not on the list that was posted previously. First of all, that list is from a bulletin board posting that was made on Nov 13, 2002, nearly seven years ago! Clearly, a lot of teachers have been appointed as Shihan of their own Aikikai affiliated organization since then.
Also please read again the portion marked by a * which I quote below:
Quote:
* In Japan, there are many Shihan not mentioned here, who are professional Aikido instructors holding 6th Dan up allowed to use the title of Shihan according to the traditional rules existed even before the promulgation of Aikido World Headquarters' International Regulations.
This would explain the absence of people like Saotome Sensei, Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei, Hiroshi Kato Sensei, Shoji Nishio Sensei, et al from the list.

For reference, one can read the original post made in 2002 and the ensuing discussion here:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...pic.php?t=4361

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:02 AM   #42
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

I have posted this before, but perhaps it is time to bring it out again.
These are the rules for the appointment of Shihan as promulgated by the Aikikai Hombu:
Quote:
Rules for Appointment of Shihan

1. Rules for Appointment of Shihan

These Rules for Appointment of Shihan have been developed based on the provisions of Paragraph 15 and 16 of the Aikido World Headquarters' International Regulations, and are intended to supplement the said International Regulations.

2. Shihan

Shihan is the title of Aikido instructor defined in Paragraph 15 and 16 of the International Regulations.

3. Appointment of Shihan

The Hombu appoints Shihan at its discretion pursuant to Paragraph 16 of the International Regulations.

4. Recommendation for Title Shihan

(1) An Aikido organization which has been given Official Recognition by the Hombu can recommend any of its instructors who meets the qualifications as a candidate for Shihan.
(2) To be qualified as a candidate for Shihan, he or she must fulfill the following conditions.
- In principle, have more than six years of experience teaching Aikido in his or her organization after obtaining 6th dan.
- Be proficient in the practice and instruction of Aikido.
- Be of good personal character.
(3) An individual person cannot recommend himself or herself. The recommendation should come from the person responsible for the relevant organization and be in written form. Recommendations can be submitted at any time of the year.
(4) For recommendation of a candidate, the form attached to these Rules must be used.
(5) The Hombu shall notify the relevant organization upon receipt of the recommendation, and inform the organization of the schedule for the examination of the document submitted. Upon immediate review of the submitted documents, the Hombu may judge a candidate as not qualified at this time for being considered for the title of Shihan, and in this case will notify the relevant organization accordingly.

5. Examination and Examination Committee for Appointment of the Title of Shihan.

(1) The examination of candidates based on the document submitted shall be conducted once every year at the Hombu. The date of the examination will be determined by the Hombu. The examination shall be comprised of a review of the submitted documents and a personal interview, if necessary.
(2) The Examination Committee for Appointment of Shihan shall be established by the Hombu.

6. Notification and Certificate of Appointment

After the examination, the Hombu shall notify, in written form, the relevant organization of the result of the examination. To the person appointed as Shihan, the Hombu will send a Certificate of Appointment.
The complete rules can be read here http://www.aikidoeast.com/aikidoeast/greetings/rules_for_appointment_of_shihan.html

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:44 AM   #43
MM
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
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?

Best,

Chris
I think this is of importance here:

Quote:
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.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:24 AM   #44
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
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 :

Article 9 : QUALIFICATIONS FOR CONDUCTING EXAMINATIONS AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS
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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Old 07-20-2009, 06:54 AM   #45
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

I'm not sure why people are surprised and annoyed that the headquarters tries to maintain some level of control. Isn't that the role of a headquarters? Maybe the question should be, why are there no non-Japanese instructors on the Hombu staff given it's international role?

Is it racism? Is it an expectation that a sufficiently proficient foreigner should go back to his homeland to spread the word?

It would also be interesting to know how the non-Japanese "people in charge" of Aikikai organisations feel they are being treated. I don't know of any major defections by such organisations, so maybe it isn't so bad. I'm sure there are some gripes as no organisation the size of the Aikikai could possibly keep everybody happy all the time.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:31 AM   #46
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
I'm not sure why people are surprised and annoyed that the headquarters tries to maintain some level of control. Isn't that the role of a headquarters? Maybe the question should be, why are there no non-Japanese instructors on the Hombu staff given it's international role?

Is it racism? Is it an expectation that a sufficiently proficient foreigner should go back to his homeland to spread the word?

It would also be interesting to know how the non-Japanese "people in charge" of Aikikai organisations feel they are being treated. I don't know of any major defections by such organisations, so maybe it isn't so bad. I'm sure there are some gripes as no organisation the size of the Aikikai could possibly keep everybody happy all the time.
I don't think surprise or annoyed is, perhaps, the right descriptors. If I recall correctly, there was a time when there were no non-Japanese 6th dans. After some amount of ... I guess your words aren't so bad after all ... surprise and annoyance, Aikikai Honbu changed things.

But, that created another problem -- shihan status. 6th dans thought that they would have automatic shihan status (at some point while being a 6th dan), but then, that, too, didn't really pan out. Surprise and annoyance and Aikikai are issuing shihan certificates. Which still didn't solve the initial shihan problem for the Aikikai.

Until now, we're at another moment of surprise and annoyance. That, seemingly, there are two shihan variations. One for those outside the Aikikai teaching staff and one for the Aikikai teaching staff. It would appear that the definition of shihan has changed. Now, it will be interesting to see if there is enough surprise and annoyance to get things changed ... again.

I wonder how long it will take before shihan is redefined such that those outside of Japan with shihan status can be recognized as shihan in all Aikikai Organizations outside of Japan, while shihan remains the same inside of Japan and at Aikikai Honbu. Or if considered, why it was not implemented?

And how in the world does Aikikai Honbu view a 7th dan shihan from outside of Japan that will likely have to defer (or rather entirely drop their shihan status and just be a 7th dan) to a newly appointed Aikikai Honbu training staff 6th dan shihan?
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:37 AM   #47
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post

For a brief explanation of shidoin and shihan, here are the relevant articles from the Aikikai International Regulations :

Article 15 : QUALIFICATIONS OF INSTRUCTORS
1. With respect to an Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, the qualifications for instructors are as follows:
(1) Shihan
(2) Shidoin
(3) Fukushidoin
In this context, Shihan means "head instructor" Shidoin means "senior instructor" and Fukushidoin means "assistant instructor".

Therefore, each individual organisation has one Shihan (head instructor), a handful of Shidoin (the more senior ranked yudansha who teach locally and nationally, occasionally internationally) and under each Shidoin a group of Fukushidoin (junior ranked yudansha who teach the regular local classes).

None of these titles are a rank in their own right.

That's the way the UKA seem to understand it anyway!
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:36 AM   #48
Chris Li
 
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
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?
There really weren't any formal rules - that's what the regulations were intended to address, and that's clear from what Tani says in his statement. I'm fine with that, the only problem I have is that the regulations ought to be applied inside Japan as well.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-20-2009, 09:44 AM   #49
Craig Allen Jr
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post

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.
.
That brings up an interesting question then- what if a person who gain shihan status in his/her organization (not Hombu) later leaves that organization? Is there such a thing as a non-Japanese "independent" shihan?
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:17 AM   #50
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I was hoping to lead from to GOD-EMPEROR SHIHAN of Aikido.
If you mail me 100 bucks, I'll print up a certificate for that if you want....
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