Re: Poll: How necessary are organizations in aikido?
The instant you have students not training under the immediate supervision of a teacher, you have an organization, even if it hasn't yet been given a name.
Aikido has alway had an organization of sorts but originally it was quite loose made up of the uchi deshi who trained under the Founder on a daily basis in his home dojo and the soto deshi who had their own dojos which the Founder would periodically visit, usually for some extended period of time. The head of the "organization" was O-Sensei. The small number of "members" made it possible to maintain the direct transmission from the Founder.
The moment the decision was made to take Aikido "public" larger, formal organization was inevitable. It is the organization's job to define what the art is and will become, to maintain standards etc. It is the job of the organization to put forth the ideas of the leadership via organizing training such as camps and seminars which allow the people out in the hinterlands who never otherwise get a chance to train under one of the high level instructors to do so.
There are certainly individuals who don't have any need for an organization. Those who can train directly under a high level teacher or one of his personal students get the transmission directly. But the rest of the folks need some mechanism whereby someone is looking out for their insterests, keeping their traiing on track, certifyiung instructors so that new people can better decide who they should train with, etc.
The problem with most organizations is that they are used, not to bring their members along in the optimal manner but rather to bolster the status of the head of the organzation, promote blind loyalty to the leadership, restrict the members exposure to any ideas that might come from without, etc.
Organizations are necessary to structure the training of tens of thousands of practitioners. When they are properly constituted they exist for the benefit of the members. When they are run by little minded, paraniod teachers they serve only to keep the membership in line. This type of organization exists to control the membership, not optimize their training. One can see examples of all of these types of organizations if one looks around the Aikido world...