Re: Standards of testing???
I need to get to an expo some day just to see what's going on with all the branches of the family. However, my overall impression is that, in the end, it's all more or less the same. We're just taking different paths.
The trouble with setting a single standard is I don't think that there's any sort of canon in aikido. As far as I can tell, most of the different styles arose from the students who studied with Ueshiba at different points in his life. So who's right? The guy who got the training when Osensei was a young man or the guy who got it when he was an old man? And who decides?
Further, as far as so many branches are concerned, other arts are the same. How many flavors of karate are there? I used to study Shotokan. I'd do fine in any other Shotokan club because the JKA has got things standardized to a freakish degree. However, I wouldn't even know the name of the first kata at an Enshin or Wado-ryu school. Yet it's still karate.
This is probably worth a thread in and of itself, but Mary, I'm curious. What is this style of ukemi that you speak of? I ask simply because I've always seen ukemi as something rather personal. Sure, you learn to roll and take high falls but at a certain point your ukemi becomes your ukemi. It's not what your Sensei taught you to do anymore, it's what your body is capable of, what you're willing to do, and, most importantly, what you have to do to keep nage from breaking you. As long as uke is maintaining a good and honest connection and no one's getting hurt, what difference do the details make?