Re: What exactly is an independent dojo?
I can follow this - it appears to make sense - but only on the surface. However, if you really think about it, nothing supports it - even history doesn't support it. The greats, in whatever field, have done the exact opposite - adopting pure isolation or great spans of isolation - having these periods be the moments of their greatest growth and advancement. If we were dealing with a finite thing, then maybe. Like if Aikido had some sort of finite value like 100 - yes, seeing more of 100 gets you closer to 100. However, Aikido, like other arts, is infinite - it has no finite value. Having 10 of infinity is no different in terms of completion than having 20 or 80 of infinity. When it comes to infinity you don't gain by amassing more of anything - not even exposure. You only need one thing, and from that one thing, you pierce it until you find the infinity in that one thing. This is why depth is more important than breath when it comes to all art forms - especially a martial art like Aikido. If anything decreases one's chance for gaining knowledge (or insight or wisdom - which are better words here) it is to hold that knowledge is gained in the same way that finite and material things - like money - are gained. Broadness cannot help but to limit one's depth of understanding.
Of course I'm talking about a period in one's training - after a capacity for self-responsibility has set in. But even before that, I would not hold that broad exposure can lead to the kind of insight that isolation can. Of course, I'm not picturing some newbie that is going to discover "Aikido" for himself. However, I would I also say that some newbie that is trying to discover it via camps and seminars, etc., is no better off - that is to say, capable of only so much depth (i.e. superficial insights).
Another way of looking at this is this way: Once, Aikido training was very isolated. Many Aikido greats came out of that system. It was quite impressive - especially if you think of it in terms of ratios. Today, Aikido is taught very broadly - where are the greats coming out of that system?