John Riggs wrote:
I think aikido is continuing to evolve. The question is evolving into what. There is a definite issue in my mind with the soke/dokey organizations watering down the art. You can now get a nidan on line-don't know what its worth. You also get the so-called modernizing aspect. Whereby people claim to teach "modern" aikido or something they call "street effective".
The key to perpetuation of the art as we know it is the success those who studied with the founder have in teaching the next generation. If they are able to pass down the "secrets" or "essence" of the art to the next generation, we may see it continue in its present form. There is some intrigue and mystique with the ritual and culture which may wane with time.
I hope it succeeds in maintaining its culture as this to me helps make it aikido.
You make an interesting post John. I know of a dojo that left the Aikikai to go independent about two years ago. There was a person from that dojo that came to our seminar last year. On their June registration form, they were listed at 5th kyu. When that person returned in November, their form listed them at 1st kyu. That person this year is listed as a Shodan and was put on the instructors list of that dojo. In all fairness though, that person did have previous experience but restarted the ranks because that person lacked self confidence in the rank (which I believe was 3rd kyu) they had received from their previous dojo That is still a jump from 3rd to 1st in 5 months. By the way, I did observe the person and my opinion is that they really were at the 5th kyu level.
On the negative side, if you look at the list for promotions requirements for that dojo, it takes 300 days of practice to get a Shodan there with exams scheduled six times a year. Apparently, you can get a shodan in less than a year and become a teacher.
I was a student for 9 years before I started my own dojo and started teaching. The experience level between a 300 day Shodan and the thousands of hours a 9 year practitioner has is enormous. That is what we call the watering down of the art. Unfortunately, in the case I am describing, I fear the reason was for economic ones which I highly suspect is the same reason for doing that anywhere in the world it may occur, no matter where that is.