Wrekin Shotokan Karate Club

練士 - On the meaning of Renshi

練士, 'Renshi' is an official title in Japanese society, which originated in the samurai warrior class, and means a 'Polished Master' of a particular martial art. Ever since the Meiji restoration in 1868, the title was issued and recorded by the Dai Nippon Buto-Ku-Kai in Kyoto, which became the National Governing Body and 'records office' for all of the traditional martial arts in Japan since 1895. According to the wording on the Diploma, it is awarded by the 'Society of Fellows' (the 'Shogo' in Japanese) 'in recognition of attainment of a high level of proficiency in the development of karate spirit and technical skill in the practice of karate-do'.

It might be noted that the "Kanji" for Renshi is made up (On the left) by Ren (as in Renshu) meaning Train, Polish, Refine; and (On the right) by Shi (as in Bushi) meaning Samurai or Gentleman.  Depending on the context, as in all Japanese writing, one reading is that it implies "A person who teaches Samurai" or in an alternative context it may be read as:- "A person who has become Samurai through their diligent efforts of training" (As distinct from one who is Samurai by blood, or inheritance).

It should also be noted that ‘Renshi’ is one of three recognised titles issued by the Shogo; the other two being ‘Kyoshi’ and ‘Hanshi’ respectively. 

Nobuaki Kanazawa, Tony Atherden and Hirokazu Kanazawa



On the 10th May 2009 Sensei Tony Atherden was awarded the title Renshi by Kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa. The actual certificate is dated 26th March 2009, Tony's Birthday

(Many thanks to Richard and Tsugumi Burns, Chichibu, Japan for their help with the semantics and context).



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