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Boris Spassky
02-13-2010, 09:32 PM
Greetings again!

I have been fortunate to get my old teacher out of retirement to once again head an Aikido class at our dojo. My questions is what are the pro's and con's of joining an Aikido umbrella organization versus staying "independent"?

Our teacher is 80 years old and is not affiliated with anyone in particular. He began training in 1964 with Tokuji Hirata Sensei and Ben Sekishiro Sensei and has trained with Tohei Sensei and is an acquaintance of Frank Doran Shihan.

I doubt he would care one way or the other but I would feel better if we were affiliated with other dojo's-

What do you folks think?

Jamey

Amassus
02-14-2010, 01:04 AM
Hello Jamey.

I don't think its my place to say 'yes' or 'no' on this one but I can give you my experiences of being part of an independent dojo.

I live in a town where there are three dojos. The other two are affiliated with larger organisations. One of them is run by a man who origianally trained under my current sensei but has since affiliated with a larger group once he opened his own dojo.

I train with my current sensei because I believe in his abilities and more importantly in his character. It appears you have the same relationship with your teacher. I know the lineage of my teacher's training (as do you, yours). So I know him to be an authentic aikido practitioner of the art. So this is a positive for me.

The down side to being independent is that my sensei will never progress further than his current rank. This does not bother me. This of course limits how high his own students can be graded, again, not a problem for me. Could be a problem for others. It depends on how much you invest in rank.

Where, perhaps it really hurts is in the small network we have. I have had to go to seminars from other styles and clubs to garner new experiences to help improve my aikido. This is not such a problem with affiliated groups.

We have recently had a guest at the dojo from another town. He is in our part of the country for his work. He has known my sensei for close to 30 years. Merely as an aquaintance. However, it has enriched my own training having someone of this caliber around to train with. These opportunities are rare in an independent dojo unless the members of the dojo work hard to form networks further afield.

I hope this helps a little.

Yours in training.

Dean.

Boris Spassky
02-14-2010, 01:35 AM
Thank you Dean-san.

I feel very fortunate to be in the situation that I am in for Aikido training, I was just wondering what the perceptions are of the "independent" schools.

I would love to be a part of an org. so I could be exposed to the networks of great teachers out there, although I suppose I could attend seminars as you have.

My teacher is 4th dan which means it would take me some time to get near him rank-wise (I am 2nd Blue) and we will probably, sadly, lose him before then.

He has offered to write me an introduction letter so that I might train with some of the Aikidoka that he respects but right now my focus is training hard and honoring my teacher while he is still with us.

Thanks Dean, be well
Jamey

Amassus
02-14-2010, 10:56 AM
Oh, one other thing. Affiliating with a larger organisation can (but not always) make fees go up to cover administrative costs etc.

In fact the visiting sensei I mentioned earlier commented on how cheap our fees were.

Anyway it sounds like you are leaning towards affiliating with a larger group. Perhaps some of the folks on aikiweb from the States can suggest how to go about this.

The letter of introduction would be a good start.

Dean.

Boris Spassky
02-14-2010, 11:10 AM
Oh, one other thing. Affiliating with a larger organisation can (but not always) make fees go up to cover administrative costs etc.

In fact the visiting sensei I mentioned earlier commented on how cheap our fees were.

Anyway it sounds like you are leaning towards affiliating with a larger group. Perhaps some of the folks on aikiweb from the States can suggest how to go about this.

The letter of introduction would be a good start.

Dean.

Thank you Dean-san, that makes sense.

The letter of introduction would only come into play should he become ill hopefully that will not happen in the forseeable future.

I do not mind staying independent and it really is up to him anyway.

James

danj
02-14-2010, 04:15 PM
The down side to being independent is that my sensei will never progress further than his current rank. This does not bother me. This of course limits how high his own students can be graded, again, not a problem for me. Could be a problem for others. It depends on how much you invest in rank.


I guess technically any school that is independent has a founder and the founder is outside the grading system and thus are legitimately free to award any grades they see fit, including to themselves. I know of one school where the founder has applied some rigour to his own rankings

In Australia there are almost as many independent schools as those with larger affiliations, the quality varies somewhat but the same is true of the individual dojo in affiliated organisations.

Attending seminars from other schools is a fantastic opportunity - I've enjoyed the enrichment in my own practice enormously. Some organisations see this as taking advantage of other them without making the commitment to them.

Steven
02-14-2010, 06:39 PM
Are you open to all organizations? Meaning, if you had the opportunity to say, joy the Yoshinkan, would you be interested? If so, drop me a private note.