Originally posted by Jorge Garcia
Just between you and me, I don't think Hombu dojo much cares about that because the use of the shihan title has already been in use, in an informal manner, throughout the aikikai world for years. That action by Chiba Sensei seems to me to be a way of preserving his group internally without having to depend on the politics of Japan to determine what's going to happen to him here in the US. Chiba Sensei is probably going to have more trouble with his fellow USAF Shihans over that action than he will from Hombu dojo because those designations put him outside the boundaries of the USAF as well.
Been wondering about that actually but I have no ties to the USAF whatsoever and nothing to go on in regards to their structure. Anyways, I think you hit the point with the lack of political will but what I'm really driving at is the whole concept of belonging to an association whether it be the Aikikai or one of the sub-organizations such as USAF, ASU, AANC or the like. I think the concept in general could be improved.
We belong to the Aikikai, send them money, get rank and really not much more (at least for most of us). More typically when you become a member of an organization there is a direct tangible benefit to doing so. The organization helps promote your business, offers training in running the business, marketing literature or even just a good housekeeping seal of approval. There appear to be few tangible benefits to organizational membership beyond semi-sort of-standardized rank. I think that if the concept as applied is to survive and thrive membership needs to be made more meaningful on some level and I think it could be. I have a sense that certain organizations (AAA possibly) have done this sort of thing but I'm not sure how much.
I remember when that independent dojo suddenly wasn't. There were annual fees (dan fees were more), higher testing fees, dan testing was to be performed at a very
remote location and camp attendance was required. All that was fine, I suppose, but the monetary outflow was significant for a small dojo. And what came back? Not much from my perspective. All I'm saying is that I'm not sure that model is an optimal one.