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Old 01-13-2004, 10:14 PM   #1
Morpheus
Dojo: Aikido of Park Slope
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Instructor Certification Requirements

I'm getting ready to begin studying Aikido with the intention of eventually teaching and running a dojo (however many years that will be in the future).

Can anyone tell me what are the USAF requirements for Fukushidoin, and Shidoin? Is it just a matter of being proficient and completing the requirements for a certain Dan grade, or is there more?

Again, I haven't started and I didn't think to ask the principal instructor what the requirements were when I visited the dojo to observe a class.

The only reason I'm even asking at this point is because I kept seeing, these titles while I've been reading different articles and forum threads.

Qasim

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"If the enemy thinks of the mountains, attack like the sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack like the mountains. - Miyamoto Musashi - 1584 - 1645
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Old 01-14-2004, 06:53 AM   #2
rachmass
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Everyone else from the USAF chime in on this one please.

From what I understand, it depends on the regional affiliation. With Chiba Sensei and the Western Region, there are actual tests for Fukushidoin and Shidoin, and I think he's looking for a level of clarity and proficency in his teachers. F starts at Nidan, and S at Yondan.

With Shibata Sensei, it is based on his recommendation, as he knows all the students within his organization.

With the ER, it is also (I think) based on recommendation. Have no idea how it works in the Midwest region.

Why not ask the teacher whose dojo you wish to join?
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:30 AM   #3
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Don't get ahead of yourself. ^_- It will probably be quite a while before you're ready to open a dojo.
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:52 PM   #4
Morpheus
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Oh it will most definitely be quite a while, but I'm planning ahead for the future.

Qasim

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"If the enemy thinks of the mountains, attack like the sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack like the mountains. - Miyamoto Musashi - 1584 - 1645
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Old 01-14-2004, 01:39 PM   #5
AsimHanif
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Best wishes to you Uriah. I too have long range goals. It helps as I take on those short term objectives.

Are you planning on attending NY Aikikai? I'm not with Aikikai anymore but I believe Rachel is right. I'm very sure Yamada Sensei or one of the seniors there would love to clarify this for you.
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Old 01-14-2004, 03:33 PM   #6
Morpheus
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Quote:
Asim Hanif (AsimHanif) wrote:
Are you planning on attending NY Aikikai?
I may go there occasionally, I'm going to be taking class at Aikido of Park Slope with Lehrman Sensei.

Qasim

**************************************
"If the enemy thinks of the mountains, attack like the sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack like the mountains. - Miyamoto Musashi - 1584 - 1645
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Old 01-15-2004, 02:27 AM   #7
Jorge Garcia
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I know a sensei who is in USAF East who is a fuku-shidoin. He is 3rd Dan and has been in aikido for more than 15 years. All the shidoins I have heard of in USAF East are 5th or 6th Dan so in that group, you are definitely talking about 25 to 30 years of experience. As for the Midwest Aikido Federation, their requirements for those certifications are not things that most humans can qualify for. Jo Birdsong of Aikido of Austin has 34 years of experience in Aikido and never got past fuku-shidoin until he switched to USAF East.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 01-15-2004, 02:39 AM   #8
PeterR
 
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Related questions.

In various organizations how important is the Fukoshiodin/Shiodin designation especially with respect to opening up a dojo?

Do you get Fukoshiodin before or after you start teaching on your own?

Is the any benefit to having these titles?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:18 AM   #9
Jorge Garcia
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Related questions.

In various organizations how important is the Fukoshiodin/Shiodin designation especially with respect to opening up a dojo?

Do you get Fukoshiodin before or after you start teaching on your own?

Is the any benefit to having these titles?

In the USAF, a teaching title isn't required to open a dojo. In The AAA, they have many teaching titles that the other groups don't use and you get your first one as a brown belt so by the time you open a dojo, you will have one but I haven't noticed that a teaching title gives any benefits besides the ability to recommend for rank up to two ranks below your own. Having said that, they don't like you to do it. A 6th dan in the USAF once told me that he could recommend black belts ranks but it really had to be an emergency because they wanted to see those people in the training camp befroe the test if at all possible.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:57 AM   #10
rachmass
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I can give you my own experience if it helps. I have my fukushidoin certificate, which I got by recommendation through my teacher under Shibata Sensei. I was already a nidan of two years at that time, and had been asked to test for the certificate under Chiba Sensei, but our dojo split with Shibata and didn't get the chance. When I decided to open a dojo, I went ER and simple protocol was that I have my certificate reinstated with the ER.

I would not have felt comfortable starting a dojo without this certificate, as I was only a nidan when the dojo opened (now sandan). It isn't required for having a dojo, but is required to test your students.

The length of time it takes you to be able to be proficient enough to start a dojo is really quite individual. Going into aikido with the idea that you want to be a teacher is quite premature IMHO. I've been practicing regularly since 1982(3) and only started teaching in 1994(5). I didn't open a dojo until 2002. When I started, teaching was about the furthest thing from my mind. It has just been a natural progression of my practice.

Both Jorge and Peter R. are teachers and can talk about their experiences too to help give you some perspective on the time and commitment required to do this.

best, Rachel
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Old 01-15-2004, 07:35 AM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Teaching as a Goal

Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
I can give you my own experience if it helps. I have my fukushidoin certificate, which I got by recommendation through my teacher under Shibata Sensei. I was already a nidan of two years at that time, and had been asked to test for the certificate under Chiba Sensei, but our dojo split with Shibata and didn't get the chance. When I decided to open a dojo, I went ER and simple protocol was that I have my certificate reinstated with the ER.

I would not have felt comfortable starting a dojo without this certificate, as I was only a nidan when the dojo opened (now sandan). It isn't required for having a dojo, but is required to test your students.

The length of time it takes you to be able to be proficient enough to start a dojo is really quite individual. Going into aikido with the idea that you want to be a teacher is quite premature IMHO. I've been practicing regularly since 1982(3) and only started teaching in 1994(5). I didn't open a dojo until 2002. When I started, teaching was about the furthest thing from my mind. It has just been a natural progression of my practice.

Both Jorge and Peter R. are teachers and can talk about their experiences too to help give you some perspective on the time and commitment required to do this.

best, Rachel
I think it is ok for someone to train with the goal of someday being a teacher. A lot of wishful thinking would be clarified if people did this I think. Our own teachers were all trained to be instructors from the start. They were "Uchi Deshi". They had teaching responsibilies right from the beginning and it was clear that they were traiing to be the representatives of this art as it went "public" so to speak. I was certainly trained that way by Saotome Sensei... he flat out stated that he was training instructors when I started in the DC dojo back in the seventies. I always knew I would have a school one day and much of my training was motivated by wanting to make sure that I was up to the standard (of my own expectations) when I did.

If wanting to be a teacher one day motivates the student to train all that much harder, to read everything he or she can find about the art, to be "hungry" for new concepts and technqiues, then why not. If they go the distance with that attitude they will make it to their goal. If they don't they very likely won't.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-15-2004, 07:44 AM   #12
rachmass
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Mr. Ledyard,

I certainly don't disagree with your comments, however I have seen (like you, no doubt) many, many, many people start in the art with this idea, only to quit very quickly when they realize how much hard work is involved. It is almost as if you can read what is going to happen with a student based on how they come into the art. If someone comes in so gung-ho like this and says they want to train every day, devote their life to the art, etc. they almost without exception quit within a few years (this is my experience, yours could be quite different, I understand that). I've seen it happen countless times. What I have also seen just as many times is the person who really regulates themselves and doesn't come in with a specific goal, who ends up going the distance.

You have been in this art longer than I, and have experienced a wider range of folks coming and going. Would you please comment on my observations, and if you have seen this as well.

best regards, Rachel
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:03 AM   #13
AsimHanif
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Cool Uriah. I trained there for about a year and a half.

I would suggest that you spend as much time at NY Aikikai as possible though.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:38 AM   #14
George S. Ledyard
 
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Agreement

Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Mr. Ledyard,

I certainly don't disagree with your comments, however I have seen (like you, no doubt) many, many, many people start in the art with this idea, only to quit very quickly when they realize how much hard work is involved. It is almost as if you can read what is going to happen with a student based on how they come into the art. If someone comes in so gung-ho like this and says they want to train every day, devote their life to the art, etc. they almost without exception quit within a few years (this is my experience, yours could be quite different, I understand that). I've seen it happen countless times. What I have also seen just as many times is the person who really regulates themselves and doesn't come in with a specific goal, who ends up going the distance.

You have been in this art longer than I, and have experienced a wider range of folks coming and going. Would you please comment on my observations, and if you have seen this as well.

best regards, Rachel
Yes, you are absolutely correct. I just cringe now when a new student comes up to me and evuses about how much they love Aikido, love the dojo, love me as a teacher... how it's changing their lives... they are usually about a month to six weeks from being gone. But I don't think telling them to me more steady or realistic helps much. It's just the type of person. Often, if you talk to them you find that they are Green Belts in everything. That this is simply how they do things.

It is absolutely true that a number of teachers I know say that they weren't the stars in the dojo. That they had to work harder for everything than some of the whiz kids and consequently, thirty years later their practice is vert deep and the whiz kids are long gone.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:17 AM   #15
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Agreement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Yes, you are absolutely correct. I just cringe now when a new student comes up to me and evuses about how much they love Aikido, love the dojo, love me as a teacher... how it's changing their lives... they are usually about a month to six weeks from being gone. But I don't think telling them to me more steady or realistic helps much. It's just the type of person. Often, if you talk to them you find that they are Green Belts in everything. That this is simply how they do things.

It is absolutely true that a number of teachers I know say that they weren't the stars in the dojo. That they had to work harder for everything than some of the whiz kids and consequently, thirty years later their practice is vert deep and the whiz kids are long gone.

But I do know that from that DC dojo wher I started with Saotome Sensei there were a number of us that trained 6 or 7 days a week and went the distance in the sense that I can think of five or six of us who enede up running their own schools. We didn't burn out. So I don't think it is a matter of over enthusiasm being what makes someone leave. Every one of the people with whom I have trained who is really top notch spent some period of their lives during which they just trained, every day for some period of time. If someone starts out that way and quits, is it because they burned out too quickly or is it because they would have quit anyway. Most people quit after a short time regardless of how hard they start out. While some folks clearly grow into their love of the art and it becomes an increasingly important part of their lives I also believe that in most of the instances with which I am familiar the folks who are running their own dojos and taking their art to a high level started out strong and never backed off.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:18 AM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Agreement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Yes, you are absolutely correct. I just cringe now when a new student comes up to me and evuses about how much they love Aikido, love the dojo, love me as a teacher... how it's changing their lives... they are usually about a month to six weeks from being gone. But I don't think telling them to be more steady or realistic helps much. It's just the type of person. Often, if you talk to them you find that they are Green Belts in everything. That this is simply how they do things.

It is absolutely true that a number of teachers I know say that they weren't the stars in the dojo. That they had to work harder for everything than some of the whiz kids and consequently, thirty years later their practice is vert deep and the whiz kids are long gone.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:27 AM   #17
indomaresa
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Yes, firecrackers usually disappears without a trace

The candle will burn out longer and illuminates more

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:35 AM   #18
kironin
 
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Re: Agreement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
It is absolutely true that a number of teachers I know say that they weren't the stars in the dojo. That they had to work harder for everything than some of the whiz kids and consequently, thirty years later their practice is vert deep and the whiz kids are long gone.
It's certainly good to have long term goals as long as one has realistic short term goals that will eventually result in getting there.

If a new student says they want to become a teacher and have their own dojo, then I would simply remind them that they need look at their schedule, commit themselves weekly to a minimum number of classes and to being at all the seminars we have. Every week take a quick check and recommit to one simple thing, go to class even when they don't feel like going. There is certainly more than can do but that's really the heart of it.

The big picture tends to take of itself then.

Craig
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:37 AM   #19
rachmass
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Interesting how this thread is developing. Mr. Ledyard, I believe I have met some folks like this as well (the ones who started out strong and really have taken aikido seriously throughout their training). Of the folks I know, it is about 50/50, but that usually the person would start out without any preconceived ideas on where they would want to go with aikido, but within a matter of a year or two, would be going full-swing and great guns. Everyone I know who has a dojo has gone through the 6 day a week training mania (and often still do), and still loves the art. That does seem to be a bit of a prerequiste to significant improvement. Most of the teachers I admire were not naturals at aikido, and worked really, really hard to get good at it. It seems to me that if it is too easy, it is boring and the practioner quits. Or if they stick around, sometimes they lack the requisite empathy that comes from being a slow learner (or not particularly talented). Just my observation....

best, Rachel
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:41 AM   #20
Karen Wolek
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I don't know much about the criteria for fukoshidoin or shidoin....my teacher is a fukoshidoin and sandan in the USAF-ER. And he is awesome.

I wanted to respond to the goal-to-teach topic, though. I didn't start out doing Aikido with the goal to teach someday...like Rachel said, it was the furthest from my mind. Then I was just happy to put my foot in the right place. (I'm still happy when I do that right, LOL)

But now, 15 whole months (ha) into Aikido, I do want to teach one day and I do hope to open a dojo. Obviously I have a long way to go, but I'm pretty excited to have that goal in mind! I am not a firecracker, I'm a slow-burning candle. I don't have a talent for this, it takes me a long time to learn everything, but I'm determined that I will "get there" someday. I train between 5 and 7 times a week....as many times as I can, really. I'll be testing for 4th kyu soon....so I figure I might be experienced enough to open a dojo in say, 15 years or so, LOL!

But I don't see anything wrong with looking to the future....I'm just excited to share this art!

Now.....if I could just get over the panic I feel when I'm paired with a newbie! <grin>

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 01-15-2004, 12:00 PM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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My own experience seems interesting in view of the posts so far. I believe when I started in the yoshinkan, I told my primary teacher that I wouldn't mind teaching some day if I got good enough (or something to that affect). The more I trained, the more I realized it would be harder than I thought to have a dojo of my own and teach.

Teaching an occational class in someone else's dojo is one thing; having your own dojo quite another. I no longer have any strong wish to have my own dojo. I am more than happy (at least at present) just to have a place where I can train. I think only the lack of a place where I could train happily would influence me to open a dojo now...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-15-2004, 01:43 PM   #22
Morpheus
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Related questions.

In various organizations how important is the Fukoshiodin/Shiodin designation especially with respect to opening up a dojo?

Do you get Fukoshiodin before or after you start teaching on your own?

Is the any benefit to having these titles?
Thanks for asking that question.

Qasim

**************************************
"If the enemy thinks of the mountains, attack like the sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack like the mountains. - Miyamoto Musashi - 1584 - 1645
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Old 01-15-2004, 01:58 PM   #23
Morpheus
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Re: Teaching as a Goal

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
...If wanting to be a teacher one day motivates the student to train all that much harder, to read everything he or she can find about the art, to be "hungry" for new concepts and technqiues, then why not. If they go the distance with that attitude they will make it to their goal. If they don't they very likely won't.
Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Qasim

**************************************
"If the enemy thinks of the mountains, attack like the sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack like the mountains. - Miyamoto Musashi - 1584 - 1645
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Old 01-15-2004, 02:37 PM   #24
Erik
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If a child or teenager said they wanted to be a school teacher when they grew up we'd support them and think it's a good thing. Show up at a college with the same attitude and we'd be thrilled.

Show up at a dojo with that attitude and....
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:35 PM   #25
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Both Jorge and Peter R. are teachers and can talk about their experiences too to help give you some perspective on the time and commitment required to do this.
Rachel;

I am probably the worst example you could find. One year of Aikido at Tsukuba University, three years at Honbu, one year with an Aikikai group in Quebec followed by a seminar with my teacher from Japan in the US which made me realize what I was missing. I grabbed a few friends and away we went - I only had Shodan but the group grew.

After I returned to Japan I was still quite a distance from Honbu. When I went to Shihan for a recomendation of a place to train I ended up with time at a 380 tatami dojo and a Nidan Japanese assistant. I was still only Shodan - but his sempai. I have since been promoted.

In Canada I was given permission to test 8th Kyu to 5th Kyu, here I take my crew to Honbu. My function at gradings is to take ukemi - that's it.

I could best be described as an Instructor under supervision. This in itself is an anomoly as I can't think of anyone else in the same circumstance here in Japan. We don't have the Fukoshiodin title, although we have Shiodin. JAA instructors are quite rare - minimum of Yondan, usually ex-deshi (professional full-time apprentice). Shiodin are rarer still and in either case rank is no guarantee.

Instructor/Shiodin in Japan can award grades - I think that is the only benefit. Usually two below your own but only Shihan can award Yondan and up.

Honbu teaches you to teach. As you move up the food chain your chance of being paired with a grade below you for instructional purposes increases. This means I had a fair idea not only how to do what I taught but also to teach what I knew.

I taught only so I could train. That was true in Canada - that is ture here.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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