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Old 09-23-2006, 02:50 PM   #1
Joyce Lunas
Dojo: Kobukan Dojo
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 26
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Hierarchy

Hello to all of you. Happy birthday to Mike

Can sb please let me know of the hierarchy concerning Aikido? All i know is <Sensei>.

Thanx in advance,
Joyce
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Old 09-24-2006, 12:18 PM   #2
RoyK
Dojo: Nishin Kan
Location: Herzliya
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 171
Israel
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Re: Hierarchy

Quote:
Joyce Lunas wrote:
Hello to all of you. Happy birthday to Mike

Can sb please let me know of the hierarchy concerning Aikido? All i know is <Sensei>.

Thanx in advance,
Joyce
Do you mean, how ranking works in Aikido, or specifically for teachers, like "if I call teacher "Sensei", then what do I call my teacher's teacher?"

For the latter, there's a nice article in the thread "Correct usage of sensei" - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11008, the article is pretty short and explains allot.

For the former - Here's what I know, anyone, feel free to correct me. Aikido follows the Dan ranking, as you probably may know.. Basic ranking is called Kyu, and it starts with high numbers going lower (I don't think every dojo will start at the same Kyu rank, as my Dojo's first test is for 5th Kyu, and I've seen a dojo that tests for 9th, but then jumps to 6). So you progress. 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st Kyu, and then you test for Shodan, which is the first Dan rank and when you get a black belt. From there you go up - 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan etc.
Again, I think that different places vary in what Dan ranks you can achieve, and how fast you achieve them, but I think that the main strains of Aikido have regulated their Dan ranking.
I've heard some that use Japanese numbers for their level, but I don't think it's a neccesity.

Some places use colored belts to show what Kyu level you're on, but more traditional places (like my dojo) use only white belts for Kyu levels. Some places may, In addition, use brown belts for 1st and maybe 2nd Kyu.

I've heard that you can call fellow students on a higher level than yours: "Sempai", but I never trained in a places that practices that.

A term I ran to allot while reading the forum here is "Shihan". Wikiing the term says that Japanese ranked 6th Dan and higher are called "Shihan", but westerners need a 6th Dan rank and a special appointment to achieve this status. I don't know if it's true or not, but if you see the term "Shihan" next to someone's name, it definitely means a person high up there in the hierarchy.

Another term I know is "Doshu": which is reserved to the leader of the Aikikai organization (don't know if there are Doshu for other styles). So far it's been a hereditary title.

Finally, there's ofcourse, O'Sensei, or "Great teacher" (right?), the only person with this rank is "Morihei Ueshiba", the founder of modern Aikido.

That's all I know, or think I know about ranking and hierarchy in Aikido. I hope a more authorative person would correct or approve what I wrote.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:04 AM   #3
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
Location: VA
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 375
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Re: Hierarchy

O'Sensei
Doshu
Shihan (a Sensei that is at the master level)
Shidoin (a Sensei that is at the instructor level)
Fuku Shidoin (a Sensei that is at the junior instructor level)
Senpai (a senior level student)
Kohai (a junior level student)
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:16 AM   #4
Mike Grant
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 56
United Kingdom
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Re: Hierarchy

student, sensei, senior sensei (with five years experience), super sensei, shihan, senior shihan, super shihan, soke, senior soke, super soke, grand master super soke....

By the way, anyone on here ever trained under the well known Irish super-shihan Seamus O'Sensei?

Last edited by Mike Grant : 09-25-2006 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:53 AM   #5
Eric Webber
Dojo: Aikido West Reading
Location: Reading, Pa
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 261
United_States
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Re: Hierarchy

[quote=Mike Grant]student, sensei, senior sensei (with five years experience), super sensei, shihan, senior shihan, super shihan, soke, senior soke, super soke, grand master super soke..../QUOTE]

...COTU (Center Of The Universe)
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Old 09-25-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
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Re: Hierarchy

I was actually thinking about a related issue the other day: if someone is a shihan, do you call them shihan instead of sensei if you are addressing them on the mat, or is that only something used to refer to them in the third person? Also, does anyone know why it is sometimes written as 'hanshi'?
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:32 PM   #7
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
Location: VA
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 375
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Re: Hierarchy

Hanshi is for 8th dan and up and from what I saw today when doing some research is that it is used for a sword master.

I guess it would depend on the person if they want to be referred to as Sensei or Shihan when on or off the mat. I've heard no rules pertaining to this situation.
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:45 PM   #8
Charlie Huff
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai
Location: Charlotte, NC
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 15
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Re: Hierarchy

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote:
Hanshi is for 8th dan and up and from what I saw today when doing some research is that it is used for a sword master.

I guess it would depend on the person if they want to be referred to as Sensei or Shihan when on or off the mat. I've heard no rules pertaining to this situation.
FWIW, the title "Hanshi" is also used in Kyudo. It's a specific rank that one has to test for -- not all 8th dans are hanshi.

In the Kyudo world, one always addresses a hanshi simply as "Sensei". Hanshi is their rank, not a title.

We have met the enemy and he is us.
-- Pogo
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:51 AM   #9
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
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Re: Hierarchy

Peter G, Chris L, or Jun can answer this better than I, but from what I understand, you typically would not call someone X-shihan while on the mat or else where...I think the title is more something used when refering to the person, rather than a mode of addressing them directly.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 09-26-2006, 11:00 AM   #10
Joyce Lunas
Dojo: Kobukan Dojo
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 26
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Re: Japan 2008

Well, that was quite specific (about hierarchy i mean)..... Thank you all for replying

By the way, my sensei told us that we are going to Japan in 2008, but i haven't found the time so far to ask why. Do you happen to know whether there's some kind of tournament or sth then?

Thank you all, again
C u around
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:51 AM   #11
Eric Webber
Dojo: Aikido West Reading
Location: Reading, Pa
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 261
United_States
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Re: Hierarchy

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I was actually thinking about a related issue the other day: if someone is a shihan, do you call them shihan instead of sensei if you are addressing them on the mat, or is that only something used to refer to them in the third person? Also, does anyone know why it is sometimes written as 'hanshi'?
I have been to one dojo where the sensei (who is Japanese) has his students refer to him on the mat as "Shihan." Had never encountered this before, took some getting used to.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:57 AM   #12
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
Philippines
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Re: Hierarchy

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I was actually thinking about a related issue the other day: if someone is a shihan, do you call them shihan instead of sensei if you are addressing them on the mat, or is that only something used to refer to them in the third person? Also, does anyone know why it is sometimes written as 'hanshi'?
I call my shihan, "shihan." His Japanese student, a nidan, also calls him "shihan." Though the custom may be different in other Japanese dojos.


R
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