Harry sensei is now a Shihan 師範

Sensei recently got his ‘Shihan’ accreditation from Aikikai Hombu dojo.

It seem to be a big deal, as he is now certified, a ‘Master Instructor’ and according to him, there is 2 in Singapore, one has died, he is the only other one. In South East Asia, there is only 2, one is in Thailand, and the other is, yours truly.

So I asked him what was that all about?

He was quite surprised, albeit a pleasant one, that Nasheer told him one day he got an email that they needed his particulars and details of his instructor-ship for his application for a shihan. And he sent it in, and his application was approved and he got the Shihan certification.

Well, from the way it is perceived, being given the title Shihan is a recognition of one’s ability as an instructor and the person’s ability to propagate Aikido. Which means you and be 7 dan, 8 or more, but with be bestowed Master Instructor by Hombu, it really just means a rank you hold.

But having a shihan didn’t change Harry sensei a bit. Well perhaps it did, a little. He obviously is proud of being bestowed the title. And he didn’t asked for it, just like he didn’t asked for a promotion to 7th dan. Or rather, politely declined one.

Other than a little swelling with pride, he is still him. He has gone through his ups and downs in Singapore’s Aikido fraternity to be attached to a simple title and a piece of paper saying who you are.


About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
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5 Responses to Harry sensei is now a Shihan 師範

  1. My two Aikido instructors just got promoted as well. One just become 7th Dan, and the other 8th. I can already feel that things are changing (the black belts need to do a, b, c, d, etc.) but I’m proud that the 7th dan in particular has been promoted. He’s too obscure and perhaps this will bring attention to his teachings.

    Send my congrats to your sensei.


  2. David Yap says:

    “It seem to be a big deal, as he is now certified, a ‘Master Instructor’ and according to him, there is 2 in Singapore, one has died, he is the only other one. In South East Asia, there is only 2, one is in Thailand, and the other is, yours truly.”

    Hi Randy. Congrats to your sensei on his conferment as a Shihan by the present Doshu of Aikido. I believe that there are more than one shihan in Singapore besides your sensei, Harry Ng, and they are not demised in any circumstances. I was informed that Philip Lee sensei also received his “Shihanship” at about the same time as your sensei. A year or two ago, I believe George Chang sensei also received this title together with his promotion to 7th Dan. Including Freddy Khong sensei, Singapore has the most 6th Dan and above Aikikai sensei and shihan relative to its size and students population. I am sure you are proud of this fact 🙂

    In South-east Asia, there 2 longest serving resident shihan – Fukakusa 8th Dan Shihan of Thailand and Jun Yamada 7th Dan Shihan of Malaysia. Both of them were bestowed “Shihan” by the late Kisshomaru Doshu sometime in the 1990s.

    I am surprised that your sensei, who was at one time the head of Aikikai Singapore and a representative to IAF, is not aware of this information.


    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your contribution and clarification.

      Please don’t be surprised that, if Harry sensei is not aware about the number of Shihans in this region. He does not know everything there is to know in Aikido and who’s who in Aikido regionally. He doesn’t really keep track, hence not very updated in the trends and rankings of his fellow Aikido friends here and regionally. Honestly, I don’t think i would mattered much to him, like i said it, he is still him.

      So thanks, again for the contribution in an attempt to clarify an updated number of Shihans regionally.

      This blog entry explores my learning and understanding of the terminology ‘Shihan’. Apparently, there is a certification to confer this title and one cannot simply address anyone as a shihan, hence ‘it seem to be a big deal’.

      The lack of clarification in the terminology ‘Shihan’ has lead to it being used, overused and sometimes abused by both senseis and students alike.

      Truth to the matter, it appears to me that no one really keep track of these rankings until you made your presence.




  3. Sharath says:

    Hi Randy,

    Congrats to Sensei.

    I had the privilege to train with him for 4 months when I was in Singapore.

    He is really a man of virtue. It is very rare to see the true essence of an art manifest into a person and Sensei is one such rare person.

    I came to singapore on official work and stayed there for an year(in 2013). I joined the ceylon dojo and learnt Aikido for 4 months roughly.So i’m an infant in Aikido.

    I had to rush back to India urgently on official purpose. I feel very bad and regret the fact that I couldn’t inform Sensei about this. I think Sensei will be angry on this behaviour. I really miss Sensei and Aikido friends in ceylon dojo.

    If you get a chance to meet Sensei, please remind him of me and tell him that I had to leave to India urgently.



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