Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido
Looking at Aikikai's Hombu Dojo's response (or lack thereof) to the Aiki Expo's, looking at Aikikai's Hombu Dojo's response in Iwama should make it clear to anybody that they are intent on trying to preserve THEIR version of the legacy of the founder. THEIR form of "orthodoxy" typically removed from almost all outside influences, is not the "closed" attitude that existed when the founder was alive. George's point regarding their website listing of shihans is another indication of THEIR desire to try and control a legacy that is far beyond their control.
If Aikikai would attempt to do what George has suggested (I would bet on that line as well), they would simply fail. The legacy of Aikido is beyond their control. The teachers that George speaks of (I would include his name in the list of future leaders) are seriously engaged in trying to further "Aikido" and it's legacy. Their students are the legacy of that aim and their students speak for themselves. The more that the Hombu dojo of Aikikai tries to exert control by insisting that people stay within the limits of their closed sphere, the more irrelevant they will become (my opinion only).
The teachers that George speaks of clearly are engaged in amplifying the "internal core" of the art that some have lost sight of through senseless repetition of movements (waza). If the Hombu dojo were to truly recognize the legacy of these sincere and gifted teachers, it would only serve to help the organization grow together. The Hombu dojo's actions (or lack of actions) simply reduces the influence and authority of their organization by not publically recognizing and promoting these gifted individuals. A "smart" organization recognizes true and gifted leaders and integrates them into the leadership structure. "Dumb" organizations stick to rigid, political hierarchies and typically become less nimble, effective and successful and time goes by. Aikido will continue to grow as an art, with or without, the relevancy of the Aikikai Hombu dojo. I can only hope that the growth of Aikido is a positive growth, and that the organizations lessen their dependency on political concerns.