Title and License
Goshinkan Menkyo (Licenses)
In Goshinkan-Ryu, students and instructors can challenge three levels of Black Belt College for improvement after learning kyu levels of the Ryu.(See Menkyo Instructor's page) These three levels also offer the instructor several individual courses they can teach outside of the Ryu, like PPPCT; escort control and so on. When the instructor has completed all of the first Black Belt College courses they can be given the license of Shoden Menkyo. (This can be achieved before the Shodan test if the student puts in the extra effort.)
Each license level requires the instructor to do more intensive studies with a higher ranking Sensei. Not every instructor will achieve these licenses as they are reserved for superior technical skills and loyalty and following the way of Bushido.
Goshinkan Ryusha - The follower or practitioner of Goshinkan-Ryu Ju Jitsu. Before a person is given a black belt or title in Goshinkan Ju Jitsu they are required to sign a Dojo Oath - sometimes called a dojo pledge or code. A statement of ethical behavior for use in the training hall and daily life made by a martial arts student. Students promise to train hard and follow the way. Often, upon earning the black belt, a student will sign an oath promising to uphold the dignity of the school and agreeing not to teach the methods of the school without the consent of the master instructor.
Goshinkan-Ryu Menkyo levels are as follows:
Shoden Menkyo (level one - beginning transmission) - this can be achieved at 1st Kyu (brown belt) but would not come with a title.
Chuden Menkyo (level two - instructor mid level) - the instructor could be awarded the title of Sensei at this level if they have not been already.
Joden Menkyo (level three - upper level instructor) - the instructor could be awarded the title of Renshi if there Sensei in the same Ryu has the title of Kyoshi. (see Titles for more info). In Goshinkan-Ryu Ju Jitsu Joden Menkyo along with the minimum rank of Sandan is when a black belt is allowed to test and promote adult students to the level of Shodan. Menkyo license can only be awarded by the founder or high ranking designate.
Okuden Menkyo (level four - secret level and master instructor) - there would be no physical requirements for this level as you have mastered your Ryu. Where as in the first three licenses there would be physical requirements.
Menkyo Kaiden (last license - full transmission of the Ryu) -this level is rarely awarded and must be awarded by a Soke, or O-Sensei or a group of other Menkyo Kaiden licensed individuals.
With these licenses there are also several titles that should be used when appropriate and earned. They should not become customary and only used on rare occasions.
Goshinkan-Ryu Titles and Meanings
The history of Sempai (Senpai) tradition is long. The position has existed in the Japanese Samurai tradition and Okinawan Warrior society since warrior groups began. Originally Senpai was the most senior warrior in the group, under the group's commander or leader. His / her responsibility has always been awesome and harder than anyone else in the group. He / she was responsible for the development and direction of the lower warriors, and for the protection of the leader. No other position in a warrior group had these responsibilities. In the Japanese martial arts, the position remains the same.
In ancient times being Senpai meant you were personally responsible for the training of your Kohai (juniors). Upon review by Sensei, all Kohai must measure up to Sensei's standards or Senpai was directly to blame. Senpai was personally responsible for Kohai etiquette. This was most important. Any breaches in etiquette in the dojo were reprimanded by Senpai, not Sensei. If Sensei had to make the correction, it simply meant Senpai was not doing his job. If either of these situations happened more than a few times, Senpai was replaced with someone who could accomplish the duties assigned.
It was Senpai's responsibility to immediately correct any breach in etiquette toward Sensei, stop any threat toward Sensei, correct technical inefficiencies of the Kohai, and dominate in training. Those who could not fulfill these responsibilities were removed.
Today, the dojo Senpai is still tasked with the responsibility of correcting the Kohai on matters of technique and etiquette. The position of Senpai in a traditional Goshinkan-Ryu Ju Jitsu Dojo is one of great responsibility. The Senpai maintains the relationship between Sensei and students, and he sets and maintains the attitude in the dojo.
Traditionally the Senpai is the one who commands the students. When he sees Sensei ready to start class he tells the students to line up. Senpai tells the students to bow to Sensei. He or she puts them back in place when they are fooling around instead of training.
Some things to keep in mind if you are the Senpai:
- Seniors are generally considered those members ranked Sankyu (Brown belt) or higher, although, anyone of higher rank is a Senpai if awarded.
- Being a Senpai is an important role within the dojo. A Senpai is a position of trust, honor, and responsibility.
- Senpai should teach students how to bow, tie their obi, proper etiquette, and assist the Sensei with instruction.
- Senpai should ensure that the dojo remains clean.
- Senpai should always be encouraging and helpful and should never criticize or tear down their Kohai (juniors).
- Senpai should train frequently and harder than other students, thus setting an example.
- Senpai should have the class lined up properly and ready for training when the Sensei steps onto the floor.
- Senpai should be positive, kind, and display respect, thus showing proper Budo.
- Senpai should maintain dojo discipline and correct violations of etiquette or policy by taking one aside and instructing him gently and with respect. Never embarrass anyone.
- Always research any question that a Kohai asks. When unsure of the correct answer a Senpai should never guess and should refer the question to Sensei.
- Senpai should learn the names of all students.
A Senpai is an important part of any traditional dojo; you are there to assist Sensei, so that he may concentrate on teaching and not worry about small minor details. You are like the older brother. Remember that you were once a new student, how did you feel, how were you treated? You should take great care to assist those junior to yourself.
What is a Sensei - Sensei does not mean "Teacher, or Instructor, The term Sensei means "He/she who has gone before". It is meant to indicate someone that is highly skilled as well as knowledgeable.
If you hear your Sensei refer to an assistant teacher in the Dojo by his/her first name, it does not mean you should as well. That individual is the Sensei's student, but he/she is your senior, and should be addressed as Sensei if awarded the title.
A Sensei therefore is someone who has been "born before" you in the system you are studying and is therefore senior to you and your teacher. A Sensei can actually do what he teaches, he or she embodies the art, while a coach can teach you how to do something without necessarily being able to perform the skill him or herself.
Traditionally the Sensei was not expected to answer to his students for either his behavior or his teaching methods. His role was to create situations so that the student learned by experience; he was not expected to explain the intricate details of every technique - training was a thing of the heart, not of the mind.
After being awarded the title of Sensei and only if the Sensei holds the minimum level of Yodan they me be awarded with the title of Renshi. Please note that it is possible that the instructor have the title of Senpai or Sensei with the title of Renshi.
In order for a Sensei to be able to teach and grade all levels of Goshinkan they must achieve the full teaching license Joden Menkyo. The Joden Menkyo can be achieved before Sandan by a highly motivated Sensei.
If the Sensei has been promoted to Rokudan they may be awarded or have earned the title of Shihan or master Sensei. Shihan is not one of the three honorary titles but an awarded title for a master Sensei; there are only two types of instructors.
If a Soke or O-Sensei sees fit, they may award the second of the three traditional Japanese titles of Kyoshi from Rokudan to Hachidan.
From Kudan to Judan they might be awarded Hanshi, there is some over lap of the three titles as Kyoshi and Hanshi may be awarded a rank before or after.
There are special certificates for all of these licenses and titles. Many of them are based on years in the Ryu and physical requirements and how you have developed yourself and your Ryu.
Much of the work has already been established over the last 16 years within Goshinkan-Ryu and Shihan Lintott has put a great deal of time in achieving the titles and Menkyo(s).