Originally posted by Erik
This may be a bit unpopular but I sometimes wonder exactly what Hombu adds to the equation. Sure, they give the yudansha an Aikikai stamp of approval but beyond that I'm not sure they add much. Maybe they do/did a lot of work behind the scenes which I don't see? Maybe I'm thinking of them as a trade organization and they don't see it that way. Please correct me if I'm wrong in this perspective.
PS: I was part of an independent dojo in my formative years and we were very open to all styles and arts. Certainly more open than most. It's not the structure that makes the community work but the people within it.
In response to Erik, I think that the independent and non affiliated dojos can't pretend that they got here without the Aikikai.They merely choose to operate independently of it and that is their right but they are as indebted to Hombu dojo as much as those who are affiliated with it. None of us received aikido in a vacuum. Look at Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. Sokaku Takeda taught thousands of individuals and yet it is commonly acknowleged that it has not spread outside Japan anything like aikido because they never had someone like Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba who simplified the art and organized it in such a way that it could spread. O Sensei was from the era where these arts were secret and without that central organizing influence, it is not likely we would be here today. The influence of the aikikai is incalculable in the history of martial arts. Liken it to the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" when George Bailey got to see what Bedford Falls would have been like if he had never been born. I don't doubt that lots of us may not appreciate the connection that we have to the organizing source of aikido. I also do not mean to imply that those who are "independent" are second class in any way. I only suggest that our failure to understand what an Aikido world, without the influence of a Hombu dojo, would be like, is a lamentable thing. The people who make up a dojo are it's major influence-yes, even over it's organizing influence BUT they were not able to do the good they did outside of the sphere of that influence. That's the reason we start and finish every class by bowing to the picture of the Founder. The respect we give to the Founder with our bow is an acknowledgment of that fact. I may think I did a good job in life without my parents but I am wrong if I think I got here without them. A holy book says," No man is an island, none of us lives to himself, none of us dies to himself". We are all still connected by the influence of a common source, whether we realize it or not.