The first level of training in Aoinagi is considered gyo training.
This is for all students up to and including many of the black belts. Certain black belts want to get more out of the art and ask for the training of the samurai or Shugyo (severe) training. This is the bushi level stemming from the word bushido.
Bushi make certain commitments to the art and to their sensei including:
• a commitment to go the distance in their practice
• the commitment never to quit martial arts
• a belief and explicit trust in their instructor etc.
The instructor enters into a relationship with them and together they strive to activate the potential of the student beyond the physical block punch and kick of the dojo training. Black belt is a minimum requirement for being considered for shugyo training.
Unlike the first level, the student doesn’t know what it takes to get into shugyo and doesn’t know what it takes to get out. The training is very individualized and specific to the needs of the particular student.
This is the second level of training.
Completion of shygyo leads to sensei the third and teaching level of training.
Sozosha is the fourth level and deals with creation and the creative process of living life.
Shihan is the fifth and final level and represents completion of the 5 phases of the menkyo system.
This 5 phases of the martial path correspond with the 5 Pinan kata.
I would be happy to talk to you and any others about this if you are interested.
Hope this helps…