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Old 07-18-2009, 07:56 AM   #1
rob_liberti
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non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

So I heard a rumor that non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore. That sounded odd, so I wanted to read more about it (considering that there are several non-Japanese shihan now).

I was told I could find it on aikiweb, but I can't find anything about it. So apparently I stink at guessing what words to search for. Anyway, if anyone has information about this, I would like to read about it.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:17 AM   #2
Josh Astridge
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Doesn't sound too correct to me,
I mean there are people such as Christian Tissier.
Surely if they're taking this privilege away why not take it from those who earnt it already?
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:48 AM   #3
Don_Modesto
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

What does it even mean to be a shihan?

A name?
Who cares?

Decision making power? Over what?
Who to promote to SHODAN?
Directions aikido will take as decided by a board at Honbu, Tokyo?

Don J. Modesto
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:06 AM   #4
Marc Abrams
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Damn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was hoping to lead from to GOD-EMPEROR SHIHAN of Aikido. I guess I will just have to continue my struggles as a teacher !

Marc Abrams

ps- MY OWN OPINION: Aikikai "Central" seems to be doing a good job at creating a sense of becoming obsolete. I do not know if we really need to assist in this process.
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
So I heard a rumor that non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore. That sounded odd, so I wanted to read more about it (considering that there are several non-Japanese shihan now).

I was told I could find it on aikiweb, but I can't find anything about it. So apparently I stink at guessing what words to search for. Anyway, if anyone has information about this, I would like to read about it.

Thanks,
Rob
As Peter G has pointed out "Shihan" overseas and "Shihan" at Hombu are two separate things as far as headquarters is concerned. If they are going to have a double standard about the title, they might as well abolish it for foreigners and stick with Hombu Instructors only being Shihan.

If they keep telling us we don't matter, then I can't see how they continue to matter to us.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:12 PM   #6
Dan Rubin
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
So I heard a rumor that non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore.
Dan Harden made the following assertion in a comment to Aikido Journal about George Ledyard's excellent blog, "Does Aikido Exist Anymore?":

"There is a clear hint that there will be no more shihan ranks given out to non Japanese and that they want ONLY shihan from Japan to spread the art and keep it pure."

Again, these were Harden's words, not Ledyard's. Harden said that he based this claim on an AikiWeb post by Peter Goldsbury. I believe he was referring to post #61 in this thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...t=12674&page=3

It's probably best to begin by reading post #59 in that thread, by Ledyard.

Last edited by akiy : 07-18-2009 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Fixed Link
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:37 PM   #7
Charles Hill
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9yoKv73yH0

This is a clip of Coryl Crane getting a Shihan certificate directly from Doshu. It was posted last year.
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Actually, I think post #67 is the key one.

You'll note this important part, "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."

The question is what is the Aikikai doing with those non-Japanese "shihan" titles already conveyed? Did they change the rules and those non-Japanese "shihan" are now covered under new rules? Which means that all non-Japanese "shihan" are now organizational titles only?

So, if I get this correctly, the Aikikai is not conveying "shihan" to non-Japanese and the only "shihan" that transcends organizational boundaries are the ones teaching at Aikikai Honbu.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
George,

The organizations recognized by the Aikikai are:

1. Aikido Association of Northern California 114 Dexter Avenue Redwood City CA 94063-3617 U.S.A
2. Aikido Tenshinkai Federation http://www.tenshinkai.com/
3. California Aikido Association http://www.ai-ki-do.org/
4. Makoto Aikido Kyokai lreynosa@makotodojo.com
5. Takemusu Aikido Association 3809 Carlson Circle Palo Alto, CA94306 USA
6. United States Aikido Federation http://usaikifed.com/

The AANC is centered around Robert Nadeau, Frank Doran and Bill Witt, so Frank's Shihan title comes from his relationship with this organization, not from having been related to the ASU. Thus, he has the title, but his powers as shihan extend only within the AANC. He is certainly not a shihan in the USAF. Of course he has the title, but it is only a title.

As you suggest, one could indeed argue that it makes the utility of the title fairly questionable, 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. Some older deshi have the title of Hombu Shihan, like Tada and Isoyama, but the shihan of the Hombu teaching staff are Honbu Shidoubu Shiban and the Aikikai newspaper is very careful about this.

Best wishes,

PS. I will eventually get round to issues like this in the Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation columns when we discuss issues like the value of aikido organizations.

PPS. Many apologies to the original poster for the thread drift.
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:44 PM   #9
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9yoKv73yH0

This is a clip of Coryl Crane getting a Shihan certificate directly from Doshu. It was posted last year.
Shihan in the Birankai. But, as Peter pointed out, under the new rules, is she really shihan in the Aikikai? Of course, any organization can give out shihan titles, but quite a few people were under the impression that the Aikikai were also honoring those titles. It appears that is no longer the case -- That the Aikikai only honors that title under each individual organization.
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:11 PM   #10
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

I am willing to bet a loy of money that the Doshu would not have been giving out a Birankai certificate. I heard that the Aikikai has given it's own certificates to all of Chiba's Birankai shihans (Chiba had promoted them within his own organisation first). As far as I know he is still issueing Birankai dan and shihan certificates independently of the Aikikai, but Aikikai dan certificates can be obtained for those who want them and are willing to pay for them.

Considering that the USAF now has more thasn a dozen non-japanese shihans (I have seen Claude Berthiaume's certificate and it is signed by Doshu) and that a majority of these were given this year, I doubt this rumour has any basis to it. The regulations posted on the Aikikai website haven't been changed.

The double standard between Japan and the outside world isn't so clearly pro Japanese anyway. From what I remember it is simply that at some early point in the Aikikai's history in Japan, all 6th dan instructors started being called shihan. This is a cultural practice and no official certificate is awarded. This is true of non-Japanese instructors living in Japan. In comparison, the overseas Shihans are all awarded official certificates in keeping with the Aikikai's international regulations.

Atr any rate, the title doesn't even come with any power. The power to recommend people for Aikikai dan ranks rests with the recognised organisations and not with the individual instructors. The only exceptions I know of are some of the early aikido "missionaries", most if not all direct students of O-sensei.

Over the last couple of years, the USAF has been restructuring itself to follow this mould. The dan tests are now held in front of a panel made of members of the technical committee (as opposed to just Yamada sensei). Interestingly, the result has been that the exams are now harder to pass, probably due to the influence of the non-Japanese shihans having a say.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:16 PM   #11
Ketsan
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
ps- MY OWN OPINION: Aikikai "Central" seems to be doing a good job at creating a sense of becoming obsolete. I do not know if we really need to assist in this process.
For the past several years the only thing that hombu instructors have taught us is new ways to take ukemi which incidently make tori's job a whole lot easier.

We could throw each other fine beforehand.
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:24 PM   #12
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
As Peter G has pointed out "Shihan" overseas and "Shihan" at Hombu are two separate things as far as headquarters is concerned. If they are going to have a double standard about the title, they might as well abolish it for foreigners and stick with Hombu Instructors only being Shihan.

If they keep telling us we don't matter, then I can't see how they continue to matter to us.
If this is true, then we should separate from them. I say get rid of the ranking system altogether. Too many problems, too much politics.

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Old 07-18-2009, 06:25 PM   #13
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Personally, I train for skill, knowledge, self improvement and enlightenment. As a result this rumor has little bearing on me.
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:27 PM   #14
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
I am willing to bet a loy of money that the Doshu would not have been giving out a Birankai certificate. I heard that the Aikikai has given it's own certificates to all of Chiba's Birankai shihans (Chiba had promoted them within his own organisation first). As far as I know he is still issueing Birankai dan and shihan certificates independently of the Aikikai, but Aikikai dan certificates can be obtained for those who want them and are willing to pay for them.
There are two separate and distinct items here. Shihan and dan certificates. I don't think anyone here is arguing about the dan certificates. Most Aikikai affiliated organizations can get, not only their own dan certificates, but for a bit more money can get an Aikikai dan certificate.

We're talking about shihan status. I may be misunderstanding, but reading Peter's post, I took it that things changed regarding how the Aikikai views shihan status (again, not dan certificates). I also took it that there would be no more non-Japanese shihan in the Aikikai's eyes.

Do you know more about this issue than what Peter posted? If so, I'm very interested to hear it. It would help clear up some of the confusion.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:39 PM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

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.

(1) As JO states, there are procedures in place for the granting of shihan titles to suitable persons in organizations that have been recognized by the Aikikai. The minimum conditions are that the person must hold 6th dan rank and must have been training and teaching for at least 6 years after this rank was bestowed. I think that a committee meets each year in January, with decisions & diplomas being conveyed to the organizations. Unlike dan promotions, they are not announced anywhere publicly. A practical consequence is that no one can become a shihan unless that person is recommended by the organization.

The real issue here (which I will not discuss) is whether the procedures put in place by the Aikikai are an adequate response to the general issue, long debated, of whether non-Japanese can become Aikikai shihan--and what this means.

(2) It is essential to see the historical context here. First, shihan is still an accepted title in Japan. It is a term in general use, in addition to being used in various arts, besides aikido. In some cases diplomas are issued; in other cases (including the Aikikai) they are not. Secondly, in aikido there are other titles that have far more 'clout' than shihan and these have to do with the organizational structure of aikido in Japan, that began when Onisaburo Deguchi created the wartime Dai Nippon Budo Senyokai, headed by Morihei Ueshiba.

After the war, it was in these remnants of old organizations that aikido restarted and these old dojos eventually became part of the new postwar structure headed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. A loose territorial network of shibu (支部) was established, headed by a Shibu-cho, consisting of dojos headed by a Dojo-cho. These shibu-cho and dojo-cho were also regarded as shihan, but their authority came from the fact that they were shibu-cho and dojo-cho, not from the fact that they were shihan.

The Japanese pioneers in the US, like Y Yamada, A Tohei, K Chiba and S Sugano, M Saotome, would all have had experience of teaching in such dojos, mainly as a way of helping to create new organizations in Japan. Thus, the Hiroshima Shibu was created by a Hiroshima native, who often trained at the Aikikai where he was younger and who, when he became Shibu-cho, was supported by an Aikikai Hombu group (S Yamaguchi, S Arikawa, H Tada and M Fujita).

Now the US is a vast country and after the pioneers arrived there (I am thinking especially of Y Yamada, A Tohei and M Kanai--K Chiba arrived much later), they eventually set up a mutual-support group, which they called the Shihankai. The name was reasonable enough, but each really functioned as the 'Shibu-cho' in his own territory. Thus, when I trained in the US in 1973 onwards, Yamada Sensei would visit Boston occasionally and Kanai Sensei would visit Canada (Montreal and Toronto). Of course, in those days there were no non-Japanese ranked high enough to be shihan.

This has changed, however, and the maturing of aikido in the US has been paralleled over the years by an increasingly widening gap between the 'thinking' of the Shihankai and the 'thinking' of the Aikikai Hombu. 'Thinking' here covers a wide range of matters, from the 'physico-spiritual' dimensions of actual training and teaching to more mundane issues like shihan titles. The creation of the Birankai is one example of this gap, since K Chiba has in effect created an organization that is parallel to the Aikikai.

I am trying to be even-handed here, since I know well both sides of the issues, but there is much mutual frustration. On the one hand, there is frustration that the 'old ways' of training and teaching seem to be held in scant regard. On the other hand, there is frustration that Doshu is doing his best in circumstances that become more difficult with the passing of the generations and needs more constructive support (and advice) than he is receiving. The other, major, problem is that the way that the traditional Japanese master-student relation is set up, there is no accepted means of fruitful communication.

Finally, it is very clear from the youtube clip that Doshu was giving an Aikikai Shihan diploma.

I hope that this long post has cast more light on the matter. Ultimately, however, the questions raised by Don Modesto in Post #3 remain: the problem is that agreement on the answers is still far off.

Best wishes to all,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-18-2009 at 06:44 PM.

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Old 07-18-2009, 06:43 PM   #16
raul rodrigo
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Tissier seems to be treated by Hombu on par with even the top Hombu shihan. He gets to teach at the IAF congress, beside people like Endo, Yasuno and Doshu, and my impression is that even the Japanese refer to him as a Hombu shihan, not a shihan from his national organization.

He once said: The same year that I was promoted to 6th dan, there was a meeting of European Aikidoka in Stockholm. I wasn't there, but many of the Japanese teachers were. And, of course, one Japanese teacher said, "We need to have a Japanese shihan in France." The French who were there said, "Why do we need your 6th and 7th dan instructors? We have Christian Tissier who has 6th dan from Hombu Dojo." Someone said, "But is Tissier a shihan?" And Fujita Sensei, who was the General Secretary of Hombu Dojo said, "If Tissier is 6th dan from Hombu Dojo, he is a shihan from Hombu Dojo."
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:18 PM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Hello Raul,

You were writing your post as I was writing mine. I need to make a few comments.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Tissier seems to be treated by Hombu on par with even the top Hombu shihan. He gets to teach at the IAF congress, beside people like Endo, Yasuno and Doshu, and my impression is that even the Japanese refer to him as a Hombu shihan, not a shihan from his national organization.
PAG. There is a tatemae/honne aspect here. The tatemae is that the IAF decides who will instruct at the Congress (this means the General Secretary and myself). However, the honne is that Doshu is always consulted and his advice is almost always followed. The accepted rule is that shihans of 7th dan rank and above will be invited to instruct. However, for the last Congress, held in Tanabe, Doshu wanted more non-Japanese shihans (of course, resident abroad) to instruct. Thus one or more 7th dan ranks shihans resident in the US would normally have been invited, but it was not known whether any would be attending the Congress. However, Christian is a shihan from his national organization, not a Hombu Shihan.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
He once said: The same year that I was promoted to 6th dan, there was a meeting of European Aikidoka in Stockholm. I wasn't there, but many of the Japanese teachers were. And, of course, one Japanese teacher said, "We need to have a Japanese shihan in France." The French who were there said, "Why do we need your 6th and 7th dan instructors? We have Christian Tissier who has 6th dan from Hombu Dojo." Someone said, "But is Tissier a shihan?" And Fujita Sensei, who was the General Secretary of Hombu Dojo said, "If Tissier is 6th dan from Hombu Dojo, he is a shihan from Hombu Dojo."
PAG. 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.

The whole event was a major learning experience for me about tatemae / honne.

PAG

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Old 07-18-2009, 08:04 PM   #18
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Thanks for the information. So the whole issue does go back to the question posed by Don. Did Fujita say at that meeting that Tissier was a Hombu shihan, and if he did, why? What is Doshu's attitude toward the creation of Birankai? Since Birankai is supposed to be bequeathed to Chiba's student T. Miyamoto of Hombu dojo, does that ensure that Hombu retains control anyway?
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:47 AM   #19
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Hello Raul,

A few more answers and comments.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Thanks for the information. So the whole issue does go back to the question posed by Don. Did Fujita say at that meeting that Tissier was a Hombu shihan, and if he did, why?
PAG. Fujita Sensei knew from bitter experience to choose his words very carefully. And he spoke in Japanese. However, even in English, a "6th Dan from the Hombu", a "Shihan from the Hombu" and a "Hombu Shihan" are quite different.

In your earlier post you quoted Fujita Sensei as stating that Christian T had "a 6th dan from the Hombu". This means what it states: he received his 6th dan from the Aikikai Hombu.

At the time of the meeting in Sweden, when there were no arrangements in place for the authorization of overseas shihan, Fujita Sensei's next statement is also correct: in the normal way of Japanese thinking, a "6th dan from the Hombu" is equivalent to a "shihan from the Hombu" and most shihans understand the rank in this way. But the designation of "Hombu Shihan" is quite different. It is a category over and above that of '6th dans from the Hombu' and 'shihans from the Hombu'.

For example, take Nakao Sensei from the Kobe Seibukan Dojo. He has 6th dan from the Hombu and so he is a shihan 'from the Hombu', in the normal Japanese sense, just like I am (though neither of us has any paper to prove this). however, he is not a 'Hombu Shihan', which is a title (1) indicating the kind of 'Japanese' closeness to O Sensei shared only by his early disciples, or (2) given to the most senior shihan in the Hombu's teaching department.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
What is Doshu's attitude toward the creation of Birankai? Since Birankai is supposed to be bequeathed to Chiba's student T. Miyamoto of Hombu Dojo, does that ensure that Hombu retains control anyway?
PAG. What is your evidence for the bequeathing of the Birankai to T Miyamoto Shihan?

As for Doshu's attitude to the creation of the Birankai, he said, 'Hai. Wakarimashita', which is interpreted on the Birankai's website as agreement. What else could he do? I do not think the Hombu wanted to have another dramatic withdrawal by a major shihan, after the pattern of K Tohei.

Please remember that the Hombu, like the government of Japan since the Kamakura period, operates on the basis of power, interpreted in terms of efficiency, numbers, or status. At present, the Birankai has all three, but I would think that the suitability of T Miyamoto to replace K Chiba would be a major question.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-19-2009, 07:04 AM   #20
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
PAG. What is your evidence for the bequeathing of the Birankai to T Miyamoto Shihan?...
Please remember that the Hombu, like the government of Japan since the Kamakura period, operates on the basis of power, interpreted in terms of efficiency, numbers, or status. At present, the Birankai has all three, but I would think that the suitability of T Miyamoto to replace K Chiba would be a major question.
Thanks again for your reply.

A friend of mine who took his shodan exam from Chiba himself in London in 2005 and had trained for some years in one of the Birankai dojos there told me that within the Birankai organization it was assumed that Tsuruzo Miyamoto would succeed Chiba when the time came. So I thought that this was the case.

The more I learn about what Doshu has to deal with, the more I understand why his hair has gone white in the past few years.

best,

RAUL
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:56 AM   #21
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
There are two separate and distinct items here. Shihan and dan certificates. I don't think anyone here is arguing about the dan certificates. Most Aikikai affiliated organizations can get, not only their own dan certificates, but for a bit more money can get an Aikikai dan certificate.

We're talking about shihan status. I may be misunderstanding, but reading Peter's post, I took it that things changed regarding how the Aikikai views shihan status (again, not dan certificates). I also took it that there would be no more non-Japanese shihan in the Aikikai's eyes.

Do you know more about this issue than what Peter posted? If so, I'm very interested to hear it. It would help clear up some of the confusion.

Thanks,
Mark
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.

Last edited by akiy : 07-20-2009 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Shortened "----" to preserve formatting.

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:40 AM   #22
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Tissier seems to be treated by Hombu on par with even the top Hombu shihan. He gets to teach at the IAF congress, beside people like Endo, Yasuno and Doshu, and my impression is that even the Japanese refer to him as a Hombu shihan, not a shihan from his national organization.

He once said: The same year that I was promoted to 6th dan, there was a meeting of European Aikidoka in Stockholm. I wasn't there, but many of the Japanese teachers were. And, of course, one Japanese teacher said, "We need to have a Japanese shihan in France." The French who were there said, "Why do we need your 6th and 7th dan instructors? We have Christian Tissier who has 6th dan from Hombu Dojo." Someone said, "But is Tissier a shihan?" And Fujita Sensei, who was the General Secretary of Hombu Dojo said, "If Tissier is 6th dan from Hombu Dojo, he is a shihan from Hombu Dojo."
I'll wait until a foreign instructor is asked to teach, even in a guest stin,t at the headquarters dojo. When Tissier sensei has gotten on the mat at Hombu dojo and taught, I'll believe that things have started changing.

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:48 AM   #23
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post

BTW I doubt "most" aikikai groups give out their own dan certificates. My organisation, the USAF, certainly doesn't. It only awards Aikikai dans. .
Yudansha certificates of the ASU under Saotome Sensei come from the Aikikai Headquarters. The last round of certificates given by Saotome Sensei himself came when I got 4th dan. After that it's all been from the Aikikai.

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Old 07-19-2009, 12:27 PM   #24
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
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.
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...?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:53 PM   #25
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Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
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.
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]

Last edited by dalen7 : 07-19-2009 at 01:00 PM.

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