As most of you know Sensei Cummins bestowed the title of Sensei to the club Sempai Austin Birks 4th dan so that upon receiving instructions from Sensei Birks during a class as the senior student the correct response would now be “Osu Sensei” instead of “Osu Sempai”. This has led to some confusion during classes where students where receiving instructions from both Sensei Cummins and Sensei Birks. Therefore as Sensei Cummins has recently been awarded the rank of 8th dan it has been decided amongst the senior students that the honorific title “Shihan” should be used when responding to instructions from Sensei Cummins to avoid confusion therefore when receiving or responding to Sensei Cummins please use “Osu Shihan”.
Shihan is an honorific title used in many martial arts as is usually bestowed upon senior dan grade black belts although unlike titles such as Renshi (4th or 5th dan), Kyoshi (6th or 7th dan) or Hanshi (8th dan and above) is not related to grade but is used as a sign of respect. It is usually informally translated in English as “Master” but literally translates as simply “To be a model” / “Instructor”.