David Valadez wrote:
I agree with Peter about the context. I am not sure how often these kinds of questions come up worldwide - though others in this thread have suggested that it should be widespread. I think why it came up for us (though it doesn't seem to anymore) is because our context is centered on independence - and that we are neighbored by three other Aikido schools that one could suggest are very much into federation alliance. For me, independence is part of a training ethic -- if one will allow, it serves a purpose much like hermitage might (in some ways) in some monastic systems. Independence is part of a practical "asceticism" that one undertakes to discover what one cannot discover when holding (or being held by) institutional support.
I think in part, this may be why for me this discussion seems a little strange or much to do about nothing. To me , you make way too much out of the idea of independence. A very American/western emphasis that is itself really a fiction also.
My experience with new students is the main concern is times and location. I often tell students watching a class about other schools in town, but most times they seem not terribly excited to find out the next closest school is 10 miles away. I always invite them to try a class and I welcome them to watch as many classes as they want. If I had the time and resources available to have people dipping their toes in the water for a month with no monetary commitment, it sounds like a nice utopian idea. Maybe it's not a problem in California, but in Texas I still get a lot of blank looks when I mention aikido. Students coming through nowadays generally have already looked through our website and others in town before they show up in person or call.
With prospective students that have had training experience elsewhere, I have never had questions about lineage rather it's about whether or not they can keep the rank they got in some other organization. And at that point, I am certainly trying to steer them to a school in town that could likely transfer their rank without any extra steps.