Interview with Aikido Shihan Masatake Fujita, Part 2

Masatake Fujita

Masatake Fujita sensei on the cover of the April 2000 Aiki News Masatake Fujita (藤田昌武) was born in Japanese occupied Manchuria in 1937. Returning to Japan after the war, he enrolled as a student at Aikikai Hombu Dojo – some of that story is told in Part 1 of the interview that is concluded below. […]

Interview with Aikido Shihan Masatake Fujita, Part 1

Masatake Fujita taking ukemi for O-Sensei

Masatake Fujita taking ukemi for Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba Aikikai Hombu Dojo, 1969 Masatake Fujita (藤田昌武) was born in Japanese occupied Manchuria in 1937. Returning to Japan after the war, he enrolled as a student at Aikikai Hombu Dojo – some of that story is told in the first section of the interview below. Fujita […]

Masters of the Universe, the Aikikai and the Shihan Certification

Masters of the Universe

Masters of the Universe®, Mattel Inc.
"Shihan" – most often translated as "Master Instructor". Sound pretty important?The term wasn’t used much when I first started Aikido, but it seems to be the title to have nowadays.In Japanese, the Kanji for Shihan (師範) break down to "instruct" and "model"  – or "model instructor". This makes sense, especially considering normal Japanese methods of instruction – this would be the guy that everybody else copies, or hopes to copy.The usage of the word varies from art to art. Some arts issues Shihan certifications, some don’t. Some arts (like Shodokan "Tomiki" Aikido, which only has two, although it is also used as an organizational title) have a very limited number of Shihan, some have many. In Judo, Jigoro Kano is usually called "Kano Shihan", as Morihei Ueshiba is often called "O-Sensei" in Aikido.What does "Shihan" mean in the Aikikai (I’m only going to talk about the Aikikai here)?