Re: Senshin Center's Exchange "Arriving"
Thanks for answering my question, and explaining the purpose of this particular exhcange as critique against the idea that paperwork makes the aikidoka, the teacher, or the dojo.
This idea reflects, in my personal experience, a desire of the prospective student to belong to a "established" or "recognized" group and this desire weights more than his desire to learn the art.
I understand the concerns of an instructor if faced with a prospective student who, as you said, after seeing the quality of the instuction available puts more weight in the paperwork, lineage issues, political affiliation of the dojo or another type of cultural fiction than in the skills (both in technical performance and in didactical approach) he/she has witnessed.
However, i don't think the only truly relevant attributes to a sensei/deshi relation are the sensei skills as these are perceived by the prospective deshi.
Things like "paperwork" are relevant also to determine not if the prospective student can learn but hif he/she should learn. With this i'm not trying to say "paperwork" is more important than the skills (for me "paperwork" is unrelated to learning, i have learned with independent instructors, but i also have learned with instructors who were very involved in "paperwork"), but it has some value as data to grab a wider perspective about the sensei, the dojo and how they are related to the real world.
In the real world things like organizational politics, lineage wars, insurance companies and so on are also real and could have some weight in the decision making about joining a dojo. For instance (but exaggerating a bit), if the sensei was the former responsible of treasury in an organization, and was fired for bad practices, don't you think this fact gives some relevant data about the sensei. Of course the prospective deshi has to balance this data with the witnessed skills and make his/her decision about the relevance of past events confronted with the actual events he/she is witnessing.
In my opinion, we should also be skeptical when a sensei hides or avoids, even if it's done with the best intentions for the prospective student and the possible relation sensei/deshi like in the exchange, the "paperwork" issue because "paperwork" is also real.