Q&A of Rakushinkan

1 From Mr. D

Q1-1 Dear Shihan

I do have a few questions if you would be so kind in helping out?
My first is can you explain the Menkyo levels? Mokuroku /
Shoden etc? as i do know a little about them, but it gets all a bit
confusing with it all, as some say they are teaching (at Okuiri level)
others say they are not?

I want to ask because i want to take a system i am developing
back to its roots, I see so many 10th Dan that are 34 year olds, that
i think the west is losing what it all means, I hold a western Shihan
rank but know that would not mean anything in Japan? so i want to work
on this system so I hope it earns a small bit of respect no matter
where it is done.

I would like to pass what i do though you? if that is not asking to much?
I hope you can help.

Thank you

This is Tomohiro Ishikawa, a master of Rakushin-kan. I thank you
for your message, and I would like to try to answer to your questions.
I expect you to consider them below as just my opinion, and I
hope my answers help you understand hierarchy systems of Budo in

Licence(免許Menkyo) has an authority, but, I think, the fact is
that it is just a paper. Though it is, license might have a good
enough authority in these cases below; a master, who provide his/her
students licenses, give students adequate training, and the master can
entrust future of the school to his/her students' care. In addition,
students can do something in the cause of justice, and there is a
balance of the value for Budo skills between master and student.

>My first is can you explain the Menkyo levels?

In the qualification of Budo,in Edo period, the form of
'MOKUROKU' was a main current: there were some hierarchies called
'SHODEN', 'CHUDEN', 'KAIDEN',and there were few schools which were
used to a form called 'DAN.' The form was used in GO or SHOGI (they
were not Budo).
   Jigoro Kano (嘉納治五郎), who established 'Judo,' adopted the measure in
Budo. He adopted ‘DAN' system but rather traditional form (see above).
It had a reason. Jigoro had learned Tenshin shinyo-ryu (天神真楊流) and
Kito-ryu(起倒流) for a long time, and both of these became fundamentals
to Judo. Though he was learning them, he didn't acquire
'KAIDEN,' a supremacy appellation in these schools. Then,
in my guess, he hesitated to use the traditional ranking form to Judo.
I do not know the condition of Budo in Europe. In Japan, there
are no people who have got 10th DAN in 30s. If there were many
echelons in Budo in Japan, it might be said "your school is very good
money-making ventures!" in a voice loaded with sarcasm.
Licenses, already I mentioned above, are important if the
provider and receiver can keep a balance of the value in their Budo.
Therefore I decide that it is wonderful you have got appellation
'SHIHAN.' It is important for us to judge some Budo ranks with
reference to fundamental meaning.
None the less above, I believe that it is more important how the
qualification of Budo be accepted in those societies.

>I hold a western Shihan rank but know that would not mean
anything in Japan?

I would like to introduce my daily practice here: when I attend
an event which was hosted by other Budo schools, I was often asked
"what grade of Dan have you got?" I've always answered "I haven't got
Dan and I've been wearing white belt."

   I feel sharp regret that paying attention to his/her licenses, not
to eye his/her techniques and arts. I believe they are very important
for us whether we can be impressed by it or not, or what we can learn
from it. Someone, who just adhere to licenses, just look hard at the
frame when he/she appreciate a picture.

Someone who often back to basics does not do so. But sometimes it
is necessary for masters who teach Budo techniques to get a license to
much their skills. The frame has a function as folding picture, and it
has to keep a balance of value between the picture and the frame. DAN
is just an implement of training, is not a purpose of it. In your
class, I can guess, your students came there because they were
fascinated with your techniques and method of teaching. Good things
are good things irrespective of their Dan and licenses in Japan.

                     Ki to Tanden no Aikido-Kai Rakushin-kan
      Tomohiro Ishikawa

Q1-2 Dear Tomohiro Ishikawa

I have read this with great interest and respect what you say, thank you.
In Europe and America there is a lot of srespect towards the
martial arts, One person I know of was a 4th Dan, and then only after
knowing him for a few months he was promoted by one of his friends to
a 10th Dan, because he was the founder of his school? I asked him
about this and he said to me that I should be the same as I founded my
My answer was no, I have not trained that long, I may be a head
of school but I would feel Im doing martial arts wrong to say im am
something I am not, he asked how long I have been training and
teaching, which I said only 27 years training and only 20 years
teaching, the man I was talking to has only been in martial arts for
22 years yet he is a 10th Dan, this to me is a joke, so I walked
I'm not a great fan of ranks I like it if I earn promotion that's
ok, but as you say it's the art that counts and rank does not always
show how good that person is.

I have two respectable sensei. they are fantastic martial art sensei
and good friends, I am most humble to know them.

I am also humble to know you Shihan.

What's the way of human being?

In the world, there are many people who have learned BUDO just as
marsial arts techniques.

They are valuable I think so. I think others value just for
others, and my value is for myself. I've been going the way where I
should go.

Others ways are others' Even if it is unable to make them to be
as we are, I wish they could empathize with value we have, we would
able to be unite.
I believe that the most important thing is what I put forth my
best efforts to my class day by day.
Then the continuance will make us see what the way of ourselves.
I am so happy that I can commnunicate you gently.

Q1-2 I believe in what you said as that is what Budo should be, it is
a shame that people are in it for their own needs, wanting only Menkyo
and so on.
I think its a personal path you can see the skill of a person
when you train with them, not by the belt they say they have.
I look forward to talking to you more.

Thank you.Please give me Q from facebook.

2 From ?