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Old 03-26-2008, 06:37 PM   #26
Dojo: London Aikikai
Location: London
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3
United Kingdom
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

John Riggs wrote: View Post
We have two different types of shihan: organizational shihan (such as in the Birankai) and aikikai shihan. They may be different or they may be the same. The aikikai promotes to shihan and it seems the only ones in America that are shihan designated are 7th dan and above. Currently, there are no females I know of in the aikikai at 7th dan and since 1995 or 1997 (Seagal was one of the first) only a few males-more recently. Not true in Japan where many 6th dan are shihan as well. As to Japanese shihan there is one on staff at hombu to my knowledge, I believe this is the person although I may be wrong: Mariko Takamizo (I think Mariko is a female name but I could be wrong). I know the female shihan has done seminars outside of Japan in the past.
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Dee Chen in the UK is a shihan with the Birankai, though it's not clear whether that is the same as being an Aikikai Shihan.

Dee Chen

All current 'Birankai Shihan' ARE Aikikai Shihans. Birankai itself is affiliated to Hombu Dojo and all Shihans hold Shihan certificates issued by Aikikai Hombu. This includes Dee Chen Shihan.

Technically of course it is possible for Shihans from any Aikikai group, at a given time, to be awaiting official sanction from Hombu Dojo. However at this point in time all Birankai Shihans are fully ratified Aikikai Shihans. We at London Aikikai are of course very proud of the achievements of our Chief instructor, Dee Chen Shihan as well as those of the USA based Shihans Coryl Crane, Lorraine DiAnne, Elizabeth Lynn, Gloria E. Nomura, and Kristina Varjan.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:25 AM   #27
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

Thanks for the correction. I had not seen anything published showing shihan being awarded to anyone outside the hombu under 7th dan. Many of the organizations have shihan not all are recognized by the aikikai was my point.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:21 AM   #28
Pierre Kewcharoen
Pierre Kewcharoen's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido at NJIT
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 100
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
If you are independent, who is going to "allow" or "disallow"? Rank really has to do with credibility and Mary's is very high. Mary's teacher was Hikitsuchi Sensei, now deceased. For quite a long time she was not promoted as she had no affiliation. Saotome Sensei arranged for her to get 6th Dan, which in his day was Shihan and was all the credibility you needed.

Things are a bit different now... 6th Dan isn't what it was; there are lots and lots of them. But folks should be aware that there are the "old Rokudans" and the "new Rokudans". I am Rokudan but Mary is so far my senior that the ranks don't mean anything... I trained with Mary when I was a Nidan; she was Godan then.

A teacher reputation is what gives their rank credibility. For most people, if Mary says someone is 6th Dan, that's good enough for them. Would their ranks have more credibility if some authority in Japan, someone who had never even seen these two teachers, rubber stamped the promotion? I personally do not think so.

In the old days, rank was never the issue. It was "who is your teacher"? And "how long have you trained"? We could add now, "how long have you been teaching"? Mary has been teaching for longer than I have been training. The students she promoted have been training for well over 30 years and have taught for over 20. I don't think that having some additional over-seeing issuing authority makes that any more meaningful.

Mary got her "authority" the old fashioned way... she earned it.
Almost thought no one was going to mention Mary Heiny sensei for a second.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:33 PM   #29
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
Location: Tampa, Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 177
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

I am a 7th Dan in Tomiki Aikido and 1 of my instructors, not counting Tomiki Shihan or Hideo Ohba Shihan, is Sunday Penagoupoulous of Greece. She is also a Tomiki 7th Dan but has time in grade on me.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:06 AM   #30
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?


Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:26 AM   #31
Alex Megann
Dojo: Southampton Aikikai
Location: Southampton
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 381
United Kingdom
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Mr Megann,
I would suggest you check your facts before commenting on Dee Chen 6th dan Dan Shihan 's status.Chen Sensei received her Aikikai Shihan Certification in August 2007 in London.
The presentation was made by Chiba Sensei,8th dan Shihan, Technical Director ,Birankai International.
I also sent you a email to your dojo.Unfortunately the mail did not get through .
Yours Sincerely,
Joe Curran .6th dan President , British Birankai.
Dear Joe,

Now this thread has resurfaced, I have just noticed your comment. Please understand that I meant no disrespect to either Chen Shihan or to the Birankai - I was only referring to the fact that Birankai awards its own yudansha documentation and shihan certification, as stated on the Birankai webpage. I certainly wasn't implying that any Birankai qualifications were not recognised by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.

Best regards,

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:44 AM   #32
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
Location: Norfolk, VA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 161
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

Linda Lee Vecchio, Aikido of Cleveland, is an Aikikai Shihan with the USAF.


Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:21 AM   #33
John Longford
Dojo: Cambridge Aikido, Cambridge UK
Location: Cambridge UK
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 34
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

Sensei Pat Hendrix (San Leandro) and Sensei Bernice Tom (San Diego) are both 6th. Dans of long standing, awarded by Saito Sensei
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:42 AM   #34
Dojo: River City Aikido
Location: Richmond, VA
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

Three words:

Pat Hendricks Sensei
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:48 PM   #35
Carl Smith
Dojo: Northern Alberta Aikikai
Location: Edmonton
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 13
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

Cyndy Hayashi of Aikido West and the CAA is also 6th Dan. She's taught 3 wonderful seminars here in Edmonton so far with a third scheduled for September.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:48 PM   #36
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,013
Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?

As far as I know, Pat Hendricks sensei, Bernice Tom sensei, and Cyndy Hayashi sensei are, indeed, all 6th dan -- however, none of them have been conferred the "shihan" title/certification from Aikikai hombu dojo as of yet.

Does anyone know for sure?

-- Jun

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