Re: What exactly is an independent dojo?
Just to agree with Mr Ledyard.
"I don't agree with the politics" usually means "I'm not getting what I want from the association"; be that rank, position of authority or financial support.
Being independent is often an easy route to follow because you have complete freedom.
I remember a conversation where an aikido instructor said his dojo's teachers shouldn't be questioned because "I'm a Shihan [self appointed] and nobody tells me what to do"
In saying that I do know some independent dojos who are not concerned with rank etc.and are none the worse for that, but they are the exception.