Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?
Aikido has been fundamentally an individual process from the very start. There is virtually no chance that is will come together in any coherent, organizational form. The desire for this to happen is simply the desire to simplify what can't be simplified, an attempt to fit the art into a comprehensible box... Can't be done.
What should happen, and there is no reason that this can't happen, is that we all simply treat each other with respect, stop maintaining that any of the Uchi Deshi had more of a take on Aikido than any other, start respecting our own home grown teachers as much as we respect the Japanesae teachers who come here to teach...
How many years in, in what, and with whom is the fundamental starting point to evaluate whether someone might be someone you wish to train with... Then you have to take their essential disposition and see if its a good match for you. As skillful as they might be, are they doing the kind of Aikido you wish to do? Finally, if you are looking for a Teacher rather than just deciding on what seminars to attend, is this Teacher modeling the kind of behavior you'd expect and will be happy with?
Given that these are the factors which people need to consider when deciding on who to train with and given that there are an almost infinite set of personal variabales on the part of the prospective students, there's no way that Aikido is going to come together eiether stylistically or organizationally... ain't going to happen. But we can all be open to each other's preferences and respect the fact that each of us will make his own choices about how and with whom to train. The more breadth of choice each student has, the greater the possibility that a large number of people will come to and stay in Aikido.