Re: Succession Planning
This is great! Thanks for the opinions. I would not be too worried about someone with less skill and better administrative skills taking over a dojo. It does no good to have an instructor who has good technical skills who can't keep the dojo open.
I've been in some places longer than five years but I don't find that time changes the nature of the dojo very much. In fact, the more self-sustaining a dojo is, the more I find that it is important to break up the dojo and make people start fresh than a dojo that is not as self-sustaining. The ones that are not quite self-sustaining, I don't worry about because they will self-destruct anyway. It is the ones that will continue that I am more worried about. There are still ones in existence that I have left and I have not been happy with the results because they still seem to have some umbilical cord attached to me, more than as the instigator of the dojo.
I suppose if I were trying to build up a large group of dojos that were all studying under me, that would be different but I am more interested in developing instructors that can stand on their own and deal directly with the Shihan for that area or the one under whom I developed the dojo. I would rather not see their loyalties split between me and someone else, or to have to deal with learning two different styles.
I know that I have fundamentally different views on Aikido than the Shidoin (used here in the general Japanese meaning of just leaders) of the Federation to which some of my old dojos belong and for them to try my Aikido and also the Aikido of that Federation would only confuse them. I let them evolve and change their Aikido away from mine and to that advocated by the Shidoin of their Federation.