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Old 06-09-2006, 07:10 AM   #28
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: What exactly is an independent dojo?

Van Miranda wrote:
this thread is very timely...our dojo plans to be independent since we don't want to join any political war and that we simply want to practice in harmony but we hope to still be recognized and maintain our affiliation with hombu dojo....since being independent means we don't have any local affiliations anymore, will it not be possible for us to be recognized? if there's a way, i would appreciate exactly the steps as to how we can achieve this...I've read the regulations and just basing it on there, would be difficult to achieve this that's why I'm asking if anyone was able to achieve this and what exact course you have taken. thanks in advance ...
This is an interesting question. I don't know about anyone else but I do know of a way. If a teacher knows of a Shihan that lives in Japan and is willing to take you on as a student and make your dojo a branch dojo of the Japanese dojo, then you can be "independent" in the sense of not being part of a large organization and get your certificates from Hombu dojo. That teacher would have to come to the U.S. and test the students. I believe that Christopher Taw of Arlington Heights had this kind of an arrangement and I am know of others that have as well. The problem with this is the same reason that organizations rise up. That problem is that it is very expensive for a single dojo to pay to bring someone from Japan (airfare, hotel, meals and honorarium) and send them back twice a year. The other problem is that most dojos aren't large enough to have a major seminar in so you can't raise the money having a seminar in a dojo that fits 30 people like sardines because 30 people won't raise the funds you need. If you move to a larger venue, then you have to hope people from all affiliations will come to it but if they don't, then you are stuck with the bill of the place you rented, the advertising and all the other expenses involved. You could lose your shirt. As much as we like to think the "aiki" spirit is out there, the truth is that the organizations do privately discourage training across jurisdictional lines. Not universally, I know, but they do or the die hards in the hierarchy do. I know that by experience. I know some would disagree and will give me anecdotal evidence of their own Sensei and organization but this could make an interesting discussion. When we started having our Friendship Seminars, I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people and we have found ways to make it financially viable and even successful but it was a leap of faith. I am grateful that things have worked out but it's a job for an independent dojo to do all that so they just tend to go the low road and be isolated and save the expense and issue all their own certificates and keep then cash to pay the bills.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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