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Old 05-31-2006, 07:59 PM   #16
DevinHammer's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 90
Re: What exactly is an independent dojo?

Nafis Zahir wrote:
I used to go to an "independent" dojo. They did pay dues to the Aikikai in Japan, but that was only because they needed to be able to give you Shodan certification. For example, my old instructor never to anyone about the aikikai blue books, nor would he let you have it. That was because they do not associate with any other dojos or instrctors and do not want their students training anywhere else. They teach that the Iwama style is the only true style and that anything else you learn is garbage. The one thing they do say that I agree with, is that they got tired of all of the politics. When I left, I asked for my blue book. My shodan ranking was marked by the Late Toyoda Shihan with whom the had links to. Probably for this reason. But they didn't want us to do any techniques that Toyoda Shihan showed us and often ridiculed his style behind his back. What hipocrites! Anyway, independent means that they want to stay to themselves and not have anyone tell them what to do, how to test, how to grade, what techniques or weapons are required for this or that. That's cool. If you know your stuff, what difference does a piece of paper make anyway? It's only for show. They may not recognize your rank, but they will recognize your technique!

I disagree. I have heard of and experienced plenty of "affiliated" dojo that don't want their members training anywhere else, or claim that there's "one correct way" to do techniques. It has much more to do with the sensei's attitude than any affiliation or lack thereof. I come from a very well known and respected dojo that is no longer affiliated with any organization, and we are encouraged to "train around". We're also constantly bringing in guest instructors, from a variety of affiliations, and exploring different ways of doing things. As I understand it, our past affiliations were discontinued due to frustration with the politics.

"Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."
-- Jedi Master Yoda
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