“I too, was told by Senseis Kobayashi Yasuo, Kanai Mitsunari, Fujita Masatake, and others, that the traditional understanding was similar to what Leyard Shihan alluded to. Anyone who was in good standing with Aikikai, was actively teaching the Founder’s Aikido, and was awarded 6th dan, were automatically considered ‘Shihan’. There were no separate certificates, no special announcements, and there was no need to maintain a formal hierachical classification that gave favored status to one individual or nationality over another.”
“The current position of the Aikikai’s Foreign Department is what it is, and one can be bothered by it, or simply focus on the real reasons why one trains in Ueshiba Aiki to begin with. After all, we have always been free to develop our own appreciation for the Founder’s gift, in our own way, with our own standards, and our own discoveries.”
Just wanted to suggest reading the entire thread on Aiki Web regarding the subject of non japanese receiving “shihan” certificates from Hombu. There is much more to the conversation, which involves a lot of the same issues we confront for ourselves, our dojos, and our identity as Ueshiba Aiki students.
Looking forward to discussing mutual points of interest in the near future.
Francis Y Takahashi