Originally posted by Magma
What would people think of students that gain some considerable rank (1st, 2nd, or 3rd kyu), who then leave their sensei and their dojo to train with another sensei at another dojo just across town because they like the teaching better? Should that sort of thing happen? Would you do it in that situation (where you have attained that rank and see another dojo that catches your interest)?
It's hard to answer "should" type of questions, but I'll relate things from my own experience and say that I pretty much did the exact thing that you're talking about. I trained at my first dojo until a bit after I got my 1st kyu and then left. I actually trained without a "home" dojo for about a year, just going from dojo to to dojo and training where I wanted, until I ended up setting at a dojo where I got my shodan. I ended up moving a few months after that test to where I'm currently living (where I moved to specifically train where I'm now training).
I think it's up to the practitioner to keep finding a teacher/dojo where his or her training may progress.
I changed dojo the first time as I realized that progress there was very difficult as neither the teachers nor the students really had much more to offer; my growth potential felt, to me at least, very limited. Going from dojo to dojo for a year offered me the freedom to pursue the kind of training that I wanted. Luckily, all of the dojo that I attended understood my situation and welcomed me each and every time I trained with them. When I settled on my second dojo, I had been training there more consistently than at any of the other dojo. I still consider one of the teachers there to be one of my teachers. I then spent a couple of weeks (when I had a lot of free time due to getting laid off) training where I'm training now and enjoyed it quite a lot. When one of the members here offered me a place to live should I want to move up here, I accepted and moved here, specifically to train.
I personally think it's important to train around. I still do go see different teachers from different organizations. I still travel and train whenever and wherever I can. I'm lucky in that all of my teachers, my current one included, have encouraged me to go out and see, feel, and experience different approaches to the art; if they didn't, I probably wouldn't have trained with them.
As for the original question of whether to merge two dojo or not, I think it's pretty much in the hands of those whose minds are more closed. If people are not willing to be open-minded, there's no way to make them so except, perhaps, by showing your open-mindedness (by having people in your dojo train in their classes or something). If they've already shut the door and thrown away the key on what you do, then so it goes. What's the saying? "Different strokes for different folks."
In any case, that's my personal experience. I hope others people have others!
PS: Welcome back, Tim!