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Thread: What is Hidetaka Nishiyama saying?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by len mccoy View Post
    He has interviews with some of the best living Japanese Martial artists alive. In the chapter with Hidetaka Nishiyama
    Nishiyama-sensei passed away nearly 10 years ago. I had the chance to meet him when his organization held their Canadian national championships in our town, we did a kendo demonstration at his request. He was a very gracious and interesting fellow.

    No opinion on his interpretation of "shihan". In kendo, we use "hanshi", which means exemplary or model person, i.e. someone to look to as an example for your whole life, not just martial arts.

  2. #17
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    Default SHINAN: What Nishiyama Shinan meant.

    In 1988 it was my great privilege and learning experience to edit and extensively rewrite Hidetaka Nishiyama’s ITKF “Traditional Karate Coach’s Manual”. In the Preface he describes why he uses the term “Shinan”, and refers to the magnetic stone ancient sea captains use to guide them out of storms.

    I will leave it to linguists to debate whether the pronunciation for the source of that story in the local vernacular of Sensei Nishiyama’s clan requires an “h” or an “n”.


    Over the course of six months I was in the rare and unique position for a student to skirt the customary deferential dojo protocols and ask Nishiyama Sensei to explain in detail what he “meant” in order for me to provide the “best” interpretation in English. He conveyed his intent through word and action in minute detail. Often, he would stand up, and demonstrate the techniques and the required body position, with great enthusiasm and passion. My postgraduate coaching in daily classes was reinforced though this unique experience and made an indelible impression that stays with me to this day.

    Today, more than ever, with all the distractions out there and karate’s misdirection in the forthcoming Olympics, we will all need a compass, whether internal or external, to keep to the true path of traditional karate.

    There are many teachers or coaches who understand Nishiyama’s intent, as he learned from his teacher, Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, who introduced karate to Japan, and the development of his Shotokan style, adopted and formalized by the Japan Karate Association. Since Funakoshi and Nakayama there are now several offshoots, that are still true to form. Fortunately, politics has not prevailed over traditional fundamentals.

    Here is list of the Sensei teaching who from personal experience I know are passing forward Sensei Nishiyama’s practice. I have trained with most on a regular basis.

    STAN SCHMIDT, NORMAN ROBINSON, MALCOLM DORFMAN, KEITH GEYER, KATHY SHAW, JAMES YABE, RAY DALKE, VERN VADEN, CARL PRELLER, TORU SHIMOJI, AVI ROKAH, SHANE DORFMAN, RON VANCE, MOSHE ROKAH.
    Last edited by C J Beck; 27th August 2018 at 20:03. Reason: Misspelling of “fortunately”

  3. #18
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    Hello Mr Back,

    Many thanks for your illuminating contribution to this thread. Both shihan (師範) and shinan (指南) appear in common Japanese usage. The former refers to the person teaching and the latter refers to the instruction given, and I think this would also fit the explanation of the latter term given in your post.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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