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Old 05-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #1
Chris Li
 
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Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

New blog post:

Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification: Who gets it, who doesn't and would you want it anyway?

http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/...-certification

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:24 AM   #2
Garth Jones
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Thanks for the post. A few thoughts come to mind:

1. Since there is no training program or certification required for the title, it has little meaning. The only even vaguely objective criterion is being 6th dan. Because of that it seems reasonable that anybody, regardless of where they are or their nationality, who is promoted to 6th dan, should be able to use the title.

2. There are other oddities in the use of the term. For example, Chiba Sensei (Birankai) has made rather a number of his senior people (there were 10 of them the last time I saw the list) shihan. I have no idea if that was 'officially sanctioned' by Hombu Dojo and/or the IAF, but he has done it.

3. The broader issue here, that a number of other folks have commented on both on this forum and elsewhere, is the question of how relevant any of this is to most of us anyway. Back when all organizations were run by Japanese instructors sent from Hombu and we had this very clearly defined, top down structure (Hombu -> official national organization -> regional organiztion -> local dojo) is long gone. We now have highly skilled instructors with decades of experience all over the world and Hombu Dojo is no longer the epicenter of skill and experience.

4. I think the only thing really holding this system together at the moment is the general desire on the part of aikidoists to still receive officially recognized yudansha rank from Hombu Dojo. If we all ever let go of that, then it's not clear to me what we need Hombu for, other than the as the ceremonial and historical center of aikido. In my case, my teachers are Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei and Mary Heiny Sensei. Further, there are a busload of really great 6th dan instructors within a few hours drive of Pittsburgh. Sure, the current doshu is a fine aikidoka, but he is a long, long way away. If the ASU (again, in my case), started issuing its own yudansha certificates, I don't know that I would give much thought to the state of things at Hombu Dojo unless I happened to find myself in Tokyo.

Anyway, those are my ruminations this morning....

Garth
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:22 AM   #3
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
Thanks for the post. A few thoughts come to mind:

1. Since there is no training program or certification required for the title, it has little meaning. The only even vaguely objective criterion is being 6th dan. Because of that it seems reasonable that anybody, regardless of where they are or their nationality, who is promoted to 6th dan, should be able to use the title.

2. There are other oddities in the use of the term. For example, Chiba Sensei (Birankai) has made rather a number of his senior people (there were 10 of them the last time I saw the list) shihan. I have no idea if that was 'officially sanctioned' by Hombu Dojo and/or the IAF, but he has done it.

3. The broader issue here, that a number of other folks have commented on both on this forum and elsewhere, is the question of how relevant any of this is to most of us anyway. Back when all organizations were run by Japanese instructors sent from Hombu and we had this very clearly defined, top down structure (Hombu -> official national organization -> regional organiztion -> local dojo) is long gone. We now have highly skilled instructors with decades of experience all over the world and Hombu Dojo is no longer the epicenter of skill and experience.

4. I think the only thing really holding this system together at the moment is the general desire on the part of aikidoists to still receive officially recognized yudansha rank from Hombu Dojo. If we all ever let go of that, then it's not clear to me what we need Hombu for, other than the as the ceremonial and historical center of aikido. In my case, my teachers are Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei and Mary Heiny Sensei. Further, there are a busload of really great 6th dan instructors within a few hours drive of Pittsburgh. Sure, the current doshu is a fine aikidoka, but he is a long, long way away. If the ASU (again, in my case), started issuing its own yudansha certificates, I don't know that I would give much thought to the state of things at Hombu Dojo unless I happened to find myself in Tokyo.

Anyway, those are my ruminations this morning....

Garth
  1. Should be - that's the way that it was run in Japan for years, and still is. For some reason that changed for non-Japanese...
  2. As I understand it, Chiba didn't like that Hombu was stalling on the Shihan certifications (initially they were quite slow to come out) and went ahead and issued a bunch on his own. Many (all?) of those folks later got Hombu certification.
  3. Most people still send quite a bit of cash back to Japan - any organization that asks for that kind of support has a responsibility, if you ask me, to treat you fairly or lose that support.
  4. People need to realize that Hombu really provides nothing in the way of support or services for its members. Hombu needs to realize that, to exist as a modern international organization, it must provide a structure that provides something in the way of real benefits for its members. Just like any other professional organization or association.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-07-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

When the hombu promotions were announced/shared on the aikiweb some months back, I got to wondering if anyone had tracked the stats vs. historical demographics of the awards. I suspect it would illuminate somewhat the increasing passing of aikido to west and how things are faring at the proverbial 'glass ceiling'

Speaking from the perspective of a member of an aikido ryu-ha (dare I use that term), there is some attraction to seeing everything become part of the main line lineage, though the path there and cost/benefit(in the wider sense) is unclear.

dan

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Old 05-07-2012, 05:00 PM   #5
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
Thanks for the post. A few thoughts come to mind:

1. Since there is no training program or certification required for the title, it has little meaning. The only even vaguely objective criterion is being 6th dan. Because of that it seems reasonable that anybody, regardless of where they are or their nationality, who is promoted to 6th dan, should be able to use the title.

2. There are other oddities in the use of the term. For example, Chiba Sensei (Birankai) has made rather a number of his senior people (there were 10 of them the last time I saw the list) shihan. I have no idea if that was 'officially sanctioned' by Hombu Dojo and/or the IAF, but he has done it.

3. The broader issue here, that a number of other folks have commented on both on this forum and elsewhere, is the question of how relevant any of this is to most of us anyway. Back when all organizations were run by Japanese instructors sent from Hombu and we had this very clearly defined, top down structure (Hombu -> official national organization -> regional organiztion -> local dojo) is long gone. We now have highly skilled instructors with decades of experience all over the world and Hombu Dojo is no longer the epicenter of skill and experience.

4. I think the only thing really holding this system together at the moment is the general desire on the part of aikidoists to still receive officially recognized yudansha rank from Hombu Dojo. If we all ever let go of that, then it's not clear to me what we need Hombu for, other than the as the ceremonial and historical center of aikido. In my case, my teachers are Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei and Mary Heiny Sensei. Further, there are a busload of really great 6th dan instructors within a few hours drive of Pittsburgh. Sure, the current doshu is a fine aikidoka, but he is a long, long way away. If the ASU (again, in my case), started issuing its own yudansha certificates, I don't know that I would give much thought to the state of things at Hombu Dojo unless I happened to find myself in Tokyo.

Anyway, those are my ruminations this morning....

Garth
Dear Garth,
Your points in item one are not exactly correct.There are certain criteria which has to be met by any 6th Dan Aikikai member .If it were simply a case of Aikikai foundation awarding Shihan title to officially registered Aikikai 6th Dan grade holders, this would be a in my view a step in the right direction.As it exists right now Hombu are either unable /unwilling to take this on board.Frankly I cannot see this happening.Politics both internal /external cloud the issue.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Dear all,
In Birankai International there have been a total number of of 27 Birankai Shihan titles awarded by Chiba Sensei.These include seventeen in U.S.A., five in the U.K..one in Japan and three in Europe.This number includes some who are deceased[Nobuo Iseri/Mick Holloway] some who may not be currently Birankai members .As far as I am aware most if not all are recognised by Hombu.I believe the above figures to be accurate at time of print.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:38 AM   #7
sakumeikan
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Dear All,
If one takes the time to read Hombu Regulations in relation to Fukushidoin/Shidoin /Shihan certification and recognition of status you will see that' rules' as laid down by Hombu/Aikikai Foundation state that the candidtes have to be at a certain level of proficiency/a minimum age/and a member of a recognised Hombu affilliated organization.For Fukushidoin /Shidoin promotion this can be granted by the persons own group.Hombu is not involved here assuming the candidate fulfills the basic criteria.
However Article 16 clearly spells it out in respect of Shihan.The candidate again has to be a certain age, minimum 6th Dan [with appropriate time served] and be an recognised instructor eg Shidoin, in the affiliated parent body of the candidate.Should the candidate be suitable??[what is the definition of suitable here.I ask myself]a Certificate of Approval is given .
Now this raises questions here, does this mean that any 6th Dan with the correct credentials as listed by Article /s of Hombu dojo is eligible to be tested by Hombu dojo to check his /her
command and understanding of Aikido?
If this is the case why does Hombu apparently fail to keep to the regulations?I am sure that among our fraternity some people may well be missing this opportunity.How does Hombu select these potential candidates?Since Hombu /Aikikai Foundation issues all OFFICIAL certs of persons grade etc why is there not a automatic reminder to Hombu that some person somewhere needs to be verified as a Shihan ?Could there be more to this than meets the eye?Perhaps Hombu wants [despite the many talented , long serving Aikidoka throughout the world as stated by others on this Forum] to keep the status of Shihan primarily for the Japanese?I would like to think that this is not the case , but can we rule this factor out?
As someone else has also stated there are at least in the U.K more non affiliated Aikikai Foundation groups than ones who are affiliated.These groups see no problem in relation to promotions up to and including 8th Dan /Shihan status.
In my mind anyone who who holds the rank of 6th Dan/is a qualified Shidoin/and has spent decades supporting and practicing this art with competent instructors should be automatically granted
Shihan status.May i also state that tjis article/blog in general is almost a taboo subject?Lets all stop hiding or being selective on what we want to discuss openly.Lets open up every can of worms, whether its in this area or not.A big Thank You to the guy who started this blog.He has bottle[courage ].Cheers, Joe.
P
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:42 AM   #8
JJF
 
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

For arguments sake I will - in this post - just talk about aikikai hombu dojo affiliated dojos here. The others can pretty much do what they want anyway disregarding what hombu dojo thinks.. which pretty much is the reason they broke away anyway.

Assuming 'shihan' means something along the line of 'Model instructor' it would be clear that a 6th dan and the title of Shidoin for a period of time are not the only elements necessary for the title to be issued. In my limited understanding of Japanese line of thought things are just not put together by that type of causality thinking.

First of all the whole concept of kyu and dan ranking is a very versatile system. There are a set curriculum for hombu dojo but everybody know that the national organisations and even local dojos more often than not have their own interpretations. Also the way we practice a given technique is far from uniform between each dojo, organisation or country. So.. therefore a shodan is not a shodan in the form of a 'template' that we need to fit completely, and that goes for all the other levels as well. Some grades are given for extraordinary effort in the organisation (partially) - some are given for other reasons.

The hombu dojo is basically a dojo like every other dojo in the sense that they have a number of teachers who each embodies aikido in their own way. It just happens to also be the place where we keep the records of all dan grades issued, but apart from those based on gradings within the same building, they all rely on the national, regional and local organisations. For such a trust to be earned you need to have people in each organisation / country that have demonstrated a personality and a level of aikido which will enable them to be the local representatives from hombu dojo. Dan levels have been used as a guide towards what needs to be fulfilled for an organisation to be able to perform their own gradings to a certain level, but again - a dan grade is a somewhat flexible concept.

The same goes for the title of shihan. Hombu dojo can issue this title to a person who has made himself visible as a 'model instructor'. That is - somebody who can teach aikido and pass it on to others in a good way and with a clear and understandable vision of how to develop aikido (this may vary a lot). Now - asking for the shihan title would probably disqualify you immediately. You need to be someone that somebody with the right level will see and recognize as shihan material. Of course you will be more likely to get this attention if you are close to those who make these decisions. For example by going to hombu dojo all the time, or by going to a lot of seminars and develop a close relationship to influential senseis/shihans. Of course such things as personal likes / dislikes matters - not to mention pure luck and the ability to be a the right place at the right time. This will favor japanese senseis who teach at hombu dojo, or who go there on a regular basis.

Some might think that this makes the system less than perfect. Especially if you have an 'organizational mindset' where you believe that people earn merits by doing chores within a system that records all activities. That is just not the japanese way.. nor do I believe the budo way.

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...

- Jrgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:22 AM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
J�rgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
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 standards.

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.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 10:40 AM   #10
philipsmith
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

OK my experience.

My principal instructor asked Hombu what the procedure was and from my end it went something like this.

I had to send my Aikido CV to the Hombu dojo. During the next year a Hombu Shihan observed me teach (at Summer School) and sit on a grading panel (up to Sandan). I then got a nice certificate and letter following the next Kigami Biraki ceremony.

So I guess there is some kind of quality control. As I see it if you join the club (Hombu) then you play by the rules.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:52 AM   #11
Chris Li
 
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
Philip Smith wrote: View Post
OK my experience.

My principal instructor asked Hombu what the procedure was and from my end it went something like this.

I had to send my Aikido CV to the Hombu dojo. During the next year a Hombu Shihan observed me teach (at Summer School) and sit on a grading panel (up to Sandan). I then got a nice certificate and letter following the next Kigami Biraki ceremony.

So I guess there is some kind of quality control. As I see it if you join the club (Hombu) then you play by the rules.
Sure, but the rules are not the same for everybody.

Then the question becomes - why join a club that treats you unfairly? Are there really any benefits?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #12
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

I think you're making way too much of this.

The title is acquired in the traditional way within the Japanese aikido community in order to respect the traditions and all of the instructors that have been allowed to use the title over the years. This tradition within Japan doesn't cause damage to the international aikido community. The only exception I can think of is if there were a non-Japanese 6 dan who wanted the title but didn't get it, but I would question that person's motives and also question how they got into that situation in the first place.

The tone of this post debate sounds a little bit like, "It's not fair that they have something and we don't!". I would like to point out that the international aikido community and the Japanese aikido community are not in competition with each other.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:49 PM   #13
Chris Li
 
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
I think you're making way too much of this.

The title is acquired in the traditional way within the Japanese aikido community in order to respect the traditions and all of the instructors that have been allowed to use the title over the years. This tradition within Japan doesn't cause damage to the international aikido community. The only exception I can think of is if there were a non-Japanese 6 dan who wanted the title but didn't get it, but I would question that person's motives and also question how they got into that situation in the first place.

The tone of this post debate sounds a little bit like, "It's not fair that they have something and we don't!". I would like to point out that the international aikido community and the Japanese aikido community are not in competition with each other.
I can think of a number of examples of 6th and 7th dans outside of Japan who wanted the title (god knows why) but weren't given it.

"It's not fair that they have something and we don't!"

That's exactly it, why support an organization that doesn't treat you equitably?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
I think you're making way too much of this.

The title is acquired in the traditional way within the Japanese aikido community in order to respect the traditions and all of the instructors that have been allowed to use the title over the years. This tradition within Japan doesn't cause damage to the international aikido community. The only exception I can think of is if there were a non-Japanese 6 dan who wanted the title but didn't get it, but I would question that person's motives and also question how they got into that situation in the first place.

The tone of this post debate sounds a little bit like, "It's not fair that they have something and we don't!". I would like to point out that the international aikido community and the Japanese aikido community are not in competition with each other.
Dear Conrad,
No one is in competition with anyone else.The question that is being asked by some is this . namely Is everybody starting from a position of a level playing field.As far as wanting titles are concerned personally I never sought office or grades within the three organizations that I have been involved in over the last 41 years.I just trained and tried to work for the benefit of the members of our group and as a diligent servant to my teacher.Of course everyone I would suggest would like to
aspire to higher things.This is in my book a pretty natural thing.Nothing to be ashamed of.For example , you might like to be considered by your workforce as being a competent person you line of business and you may have aspirations to develop your talents and secure some managerial position.Should you or anybody in that scenario feel guilty about having such aspirations?I think not, especially if you have served your time and you know your subject.
However in this world you do not always get what you wish for.Thats life I suppose.
All I think is this , more transparency and openness is required by the Aikido community and by Hombu dojo to resolve issues like this subject and any other subject that causes concern .
I am however p;eased that you and a few others have responded to the initial blog.I do hope this mail finds you well, Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #15
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Hello Chris

Maybe I'm missing something here... I can't find a Japan-only grading system on the Aikikai website.

You linked to the 合気会とその活動 page in your blog for what you described as one of the " two standards". However this is the page for "Aikikai Activity", not the regulations page. It contains the yearly plans and gives a brief outline of the purpose of the Aikikai.

The Japanese version of the regulations page only lists the international regulations.

Why would they only list these regulations if they don't even apply within Japan?

Also, there do appear to be some Japanese 6th dans who do not hold the title of shihan.

Regards

Carl

Quote:
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.
http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/regulat...ernational.htm

Quote:
師範)
第十六条
一、 師範は、稽古、指導共に熟達した六段以上の者の中より本部が審議し認定する。
二、師範として認定された者には、本部より認定証が授与される。
http://www.aikikai.or.jp/jpn/regulat...ernational.htm

Last edited by Carl Thompson : 05-08-2012 at 03:43 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:58 PM   #16
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Quote:
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Dear Conrad,
No one is in competition with anyone else.The question that is being asked by some is this . namely Is everybody starting from a position of a level playing field.As far as wanting titles are concerned personally I never sought office or grades within the three organizations that I have been involved in over the last 41 years.I just trained and tried to work for the benefit of the members of our group and as a diligent servant to my teacher.Of course everyone I would suggest would like to
aspire to higher things.This is in my book a pretty natural thing.Nothing to be ashamed of.For example , you might like to be considered by your workforce as being a competent person you line of business and you may have aspirations to develop your talents and secure some managerial position.Should you or anybody in that scenario feel guilty about having such aspirations?I think not, especially if you have served your time and you know your subject.
However in this world you do not always get what you wish for.Thats life I suppose.
All I think is this , more transparency and openness is required by the Aikido community and by Hombu dojo to resolve issues like this subject and any other subject that causes concern .
I am however p;eased that you and a few others have responded to the initial blog.I do hope this mail finds you well, Cheers, Joe.
Why do you need a level playing field? Only if you are playing something competitive that requires even starting conditions (which is where the expression comes from). Is the North American (or European, or African, etc.) teacher competing for students? Seminar invitations? Youtube hits?

I just don't see why it is so important that the process inside Japan and the process outside Japan have to be exactly the same (and "fair").

If we apply the same principles, then it shouldn't take so long to get a black belt outside of Japan. It took me 6 years to get to shodan in North America. In Japan, I've heard that it can be done in two! It doesn't matter to me, it's just different, that's all. In fact, internationally, a North American rank might be more highly respected than a Japanese person's because people know that the standards are applied differently. Same title, different application, different meaning. Thank Yamada Sensei I suppose!

I think we agree that the intrinsic benefits of training, testing, teaching, or running a dojo are more valuable than the external recognition that may or may not be bestowed. Still, I see your point that if you have an ambition to receive the title and deserve it, but are unfairly denied, it would be frustrating and perhaps discriminatory. I just don't see evidence that this is what is going on.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:03 PM   #17
Chris Li
 
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hello Chris

Maybe I'm missing something here... I can't find a Japan-only grading system on the Aikikai website.

You linked to the 合気会とその活動 page in your blog for what you described as one of the " two standards". However this is the page for "Aikikai Activity", not the regulations page. It contains the yearly plans and gives a brief outline of the purpose of the Aikikai.

The Japanese version of the regulations page only lists the international regulations.

Why would they only list these regulations if they don't even apply within Japan?

Also, there do appear to be some Japanese 6th dans who do not hold the title of shihan.

Regards

Carl

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/regulat...ernational.htm

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/jpn/regulat...ernational.htm
If you look at the Japanese page they have a link for the International Regulations with a link for the Domestic Regulations below that.

On the Domestic page they have the rules for the recognition of organizations, but not for fukushidoin/shidoin/shihan.

It doesn't contain the fukushidoin/shidoin/shihan regulations - because there are none, really, for Japan.

Anyone 6th dan and above and instructing in Japan can be called a shihan, and no special certifications are issued - as per Mr. Tani's clarification.

The title doesn't really mean much in Japan - but it doesn't mean much abroad with the special certificate either, so why create this convoluted double standard?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #18
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
Why do you need a level playing field? Only if you are playing something competitive that requires even starting conditions (which is where the expression comes from). Is the North American (or European, or African, etc.) teacher competing for students? Seminar invitations? Youtube hits?

I just don't see why it is so important that the process inside Japan and the process outside Japan have to be exactly the same (and "fair").

If we apply the same principles, then it shouldn't take so long to get a black belt outside of Japan. It took me 6 years to get to shodan in North America. In Japan, I've heard that it can be done in two! It doesn't matter to me, it's just different, that's all. In fact, internationally, a North American rank might be more highly respected than a Japanese person's because people know that the standards are applied differently. Same title, different application, different meaning. Thank Yamada Sensei I suppose!

I think we agree that the intrinsic benefits of training, testing, teaching, or running a dojo are more valuable than the external recognition that may or may not be bestowed. Still, I see your point that if you have an ambition to receive the title and deserve it, but are unfairly denied, it would be frustrating and perhaps discriminatory. I just don't see evidence that this is what is going on.
As I said, I have a bunch of examples - but I'm not going to list names here.

In any case, if you're content with an organization that treats Japanese and non-Japanese differently then that's fine - but many people are not.

I'd note that the long time to shodan in North America isn't mandated by Aikikai hombu - that's a decision by the local North American instructors.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:16 PM   #19
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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The title doesn't really mean much in Japan
I'm not sure this is true. Just because any 6 dan in Japan is allowed to call themselves "shihan", it doesn't mean that they do. It may be something that is culturally regulated (like so much else in Japanese culture). Does anyone know if all the 6 dans at Hombu call themselves "shihan"? My understanding is that in Japan you can make it to 6 dan without ever teaching a class, which would probably make a person think twice about declaring themselves "master teacher".

When my (Japanese) sensei received 6 dan (1996 I think?), I seem to remember he was given permission by his teacher to use the title (no formal certificate though). Granted, it's not a perfect test case because he was living and teaching in Canada instead of Japan, so he may have fallen into a grey zone with the rules. I did get the feeling that he wouldn't have busted out new business cards the week after the promotion without some kind of blessing.

Last edited by Conrad Gus : 05-08-2012 at 04:17 PM. Reason: Misquote
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:26 PM   #20
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
I'm not sure this is true. Just because any 6 dan in Japan is allowed to call themselves "shihan", it doesn't mean that they do. It may be something that is culturally regulated (like so much else in Japanese culture). Does anyone know if all the 6 dans at Hombu call themselves "shihan"? My understanding is that in Japan you can make it to 6 dan without ever teaching a class, which would probably make a person think twice about declaring themselves "master teacher".

When my (Japanese) sensei received 6 dan (1996 I think?), I seem to remember he was given permission by his teacher to use the title (no formal certificate though). Granted, it's not a perfect test case because he was living and teaching in Canada instead of Japan, so he may have fallen into a grey zone with the rules. I did get the feeling that he wouldn't have busted out new business cards the week after the promotion without some kind of blessing.
Here's an interesting comment by Yoshimitsu Yamada.

Strictly speaking, your teacher in Canda was not a shihan according to the Aikikai hombu regulations, whatever he was told. This is a symptom of the problem - the Aikikai's inclarity and inconsistency.

You're right, I should have said "any sixth dan teaching in Japan". That doesn't remove the basic problem, though.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:27 PM   #21
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
As I said, I have a bunch of examples - but I'm not going to list names here.

In any case, if you're content with an organization that treats Japanese and non-Japanese differently then that's fine - but many people are not.

I'd note that the long time to shodan in North America isn't mandated by Aikikai hombu - that's a decision by the local North American instructors.

Best,

Chris
Sorry, I missed it when you mentioned you had a bunch of examples of people being clearly discriminated against. If I knew first-hand of some kind of unfair treatment, I suppose I would be more passionate about the issue.

I don't expect names (obviously), but I'm curious if these are examples where the people in question clearly deserve the title but are denied it for some kind of personal or political reason that you know of.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:31 PM   #22
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

BTW, by "The title doesn't really mean much in Japan" I meant that, as in the US, it conveys no extra powers or responsibilities, no extra privileges over a plain dan ranking. Mainly it's just bragging rights - a more important way of saying "teacher".

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:32 PM   #23
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
I don't expect names (obviously), but I'm curious if these are examples where the people in question clearly deserve the title but are denied it for some kind of personal or political reason that you know of.
They're not Japanese. If they were living in Japan they would be accepted as shihan without question.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:51 PM   #24
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

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They're not Japanese. If they were living in Japan they would be accepted as shihan without question.
I get that. I was wondering if they were non-Japanese who had been unfairly denied the honorific for some reason other than lack of merit.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Here's an interesting comment by Yoshimitsu Yamada.
Interesting read. Thanks.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Strictly speaking, your teacher in Canda was not a shihan according to the Aikikai hombu regulations, whatever he was told. This is a symptom of the problem - the Aikikai's inclarity and inconsistency.
Yeah, he was obviously grandfathered in under the Japanese system rather than the international one. It was 1996, so before the 2000 regulations were created.

Last edited by Conrad Gus : 05-08-2012 at 04:54 PM. Reason: accuracy
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #25
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Re: Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

In the end, it doesn't matter as long as the evil of Skeletor is never again permitted to violate Castle Greyskull!


Last edited by Conrad Gus : 05-08-2012 at 04:56 PM. Reason: wording
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