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my dojo was affiliated with a small, independent federation for some decades. however, in recent years, the shihan increasingly receded his involvement due to his age and failing health. unfortunately, there was no strong and clear leader to take his position and continue the federation in the long-run.
at any rate, things moved along, and my dojo took the decision to affiliate with another group last year. the change was bittersweet as the new group was far bigger and had many experienced and good aikidoka. their energy and focus are great, and it has been a good transition overall.
although i only trained for a couple of years under the old federation, it still pained me nonetheless to deal with the shift especially since i had developed a degree to respect and loyalty to my first teachers and school. the positives of the change did not alter the fact that it still hurt to feel like i abandoned my 'grandfather' (the shihan) and my 'uncle' (one of the sensei that didn't re-affiliate).
for the sake of having more training opportunities as well my reluctance to let go, i travel double the distance that i normally do to the other dojo (run by the 'uncle') to train once a week. unfortunately, the class size there is tiny, and there is barely anyone there i can train with. we spend more time laying the mats and talking than actually training. being a sweat-monster that sheds a least a liter or two per training session, i barely perspire at all when i train at this dojo. one of the few things i truly cherish while i'm there though is when the shihan drops by every once in a while and shares a few personal anecdotes or techniques.
it's starting to become more of a struggle to go week after week. i don't know if my time and energy is being well spent... but yet, i'm still very reluctant to give up going there...
why do i continue to go?
a few things come to mind - loyalty. not wanting to disappoint. wishing to honour my roots. hoping to glean any wisdom when the shihan appears. learning different perspectives of aikido.
yet my heart is filled with doubts. should i persevere and hope that my efforts will pay off (in whatever shape or form), or am i just not able to let go due to misplaced loyalty?