23 MARCH 2010

full member of the Zen Nihon Budo Renmei

All Japan Budo Federation - National Budo Governing Body of Japan

Approval of Barrera Hanshi - West Shibucho and Hobbs Hanshi - US Shidoin - ZNBR

1 JUL 2010 - Letter of Appointment - Fuku-Shidoin US Branch ZNBR

Shisei Ryu Aikibudo Kai, Hombu Dojo is an Official Branch Dojo of the Zen Nihon Budo Renmei u.s. branch

Use of the Term "Soke"

Soke: Historical Incarnations of a Title and its Entitlements

Note: Regardless of the recognition I may have received, or will receive from others, I do not feel its proper to use the title "Soke", or even "Shodai-Soke" for Gendai forms of budoIf a title must be assigned; the more correct term, or title would simply be "Kaiso", or founder. This term is more accurate in my opinion and with just a little research I have found this to be true and proper versus "Soke".

Despite what many seem to believe in the West, the word Soke has never meant "founder," nor does it mean "grandmaster."

Soke – the term Soke in my opinion, has been so over-used (and for the most part abused) in the US, making American martial artists appear not only ignorant, but to some degree dishonest, depending on the context. The term Soke means “head of family” and was rarely used in martial arts contexts; however frequently used in commercial/guild contexts. The problem arose when modern US founders of martial arts/systems used the term, to the extreme in some cases. Instead of being respected as "founders" of systems, or new schools/methods, or different forms of budo expression; they more often appear as disingenuous, posing as something else, they clearly are not and can not be.

Although the term Soke means head of family, it also implies that the system is a traditional Japanese inherited and "passed-down" familial system. For the most part, if the art was not inherited directly from Asia, the term Soke is inappropriate.

Kaiso 開祖  – The term Kaiso means founder. Unfortunately, the term Kaiso is not very often used in the US, although the term best fits most Gendai/Modern western based arts. Much of the negativity associated with modern systems being founded today would potentially be diminished if more proper terminology were used referencing "founders" and their respective positions.

I will never adopt the use of the title of "Soke" but instead will simply use Kaiso, as appropriate, its accurate and describes simply what I have done, found a form, or expression of Gendai budo, or system of martial arts. I do not want to "water-down" over three-and-a-half decades of hard work, by looking as if I am trying to pass myself off as something I clearly am not.

Sensei is the greatest "title" a teacher can have, one built in trust and a bond which few will ever share or understand.

Thank you,

G Ducote


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