In the last several years it has become commonplace for Youshiki Soke to recognize other martial artists as Youshiki Soke as well. This is not a valid method based on what was standard practice in Japan in pre-meijii times.
Some other organizations have formed boards or commitees of martial artists who are not certified or recognized Youshiki Soke or Shodai Soke to recognized founders of new systems. This is surely not a valid method of recognition for a new founder of a system.
The term Shodai was used in error by these founders of modern western styles who should have used the term Youshiki Soke or Xiadai-Sigung. This has a lot to do with the gross misunderstanding about the sponsorship process.
A misunderstanding as to what a Founder is may be responsible for this practice. Although the first generation founder of a new style or system of martial arts is a very respectable position, this persons new school or system cannot be considered fully developed and accepted until the founder passes away. If the new system survives the passing of its Founder, it is considered a fully established system by the overseeing Gunshi.
Outside of Asia today, all the so-called Soke boards are headed by a true Youshiki-Soke or just other black belts. Some of these people might be extremely accomplished masters in their own right. Never the less, they are unqualified to offer first generation foundership to anyone.
In the mid 1970’s a legitimate Gunshi by the name of Albert Church, decided to sponsor several Americans as new headfounders. He failed to tell them that they were now his students, or actually that they werer given permission to develop a sub division of his traditional style. Unfortunately, they assumed they were now free to sponsor others themselves, and that they did not need to be part of the Gunshi’s system after he sponsored them.
These Shodai went on to sponsor dozens of others like them, who in turn sponsored even more, and a trednd was started that continues today. Much of it is based on unfounded beliefs that once a headfamily recognizes you, you are on his level, and can go out to recognize others.
The fact is that the practice of one Youshiki or Shodai recognizing someone else as the Founder of his system is not a valid method of recognition under any condition. The only correct way of recognizing a new system is by sponsorship by an existing Gunshi / Waizufu Headfamily or board made up of one or more such Gunshi / Waizufu with direct lineage going back to the pre-meijii era of Japanese history.
For the WHC to be legitimate, it needed one or more headfamilies to sponsor it. The person who created the original WHC, Dr. John J. Williams, who was a legitimate Gunshi with traceable pre-meijii japanese lineage going back to 850AD, sought out Dr. Andrew Tamper, a Chinese martial arts Headfamily, recognized by the Chinese government, to act as it’;s official sponsor for all new Youshiki Soke / Xiadai-Sigung who would be registered or sponsored by the WHC. Today ISHH still has Dr. Andrew Tamper, throughhis successor Waizufu Sijo Dr. William VanCamp as one of it’s official sponsoring headfamilies.
Although Dr. John Williams could have sponsored all the Shodai Soke / Daiyong Sigung and Youshiki Soke / Xiadai-Sigung in the original WHC himself, being he is a legitimate head of a traditional headfamily, it was decided that it would be more creditable and respectful to allow Dr. Andrew Tamper to assume that position due to his seniority (age and experience). Dr. Williams decided that he would act as the credentials and background investigator for new Youshiki-Soke / Xiadai-Sigung candidates.