Originally posted by Kat.C
Greg, you mentioned bogus titles and affiliations. This brings to mind another question. How do I check this stuff out. Hopefully without offending sensei? Which is never a good idea.
I'm not Greg, but the answer is sometimes you can't. When you walk into a dojo and the Sensei say's "I'm a 13th dan 7 times removed", you will have no idea if it's valid or not.
There's a Bay Area dojo which can tell you a nice lineage story. They talk about their teacher and how he's done this, done that and probably walked on the moon. Unfortunately, if his rank and title were real he'd be one of the most prominent Aikidoists in the USA, actually the world. At best, he's a nobody with a fake history, at his worst, well, it gets pretty bad if you know the story. Unfortunately, none of the neighboring dojos could tell you that truth without looking bad themselves.
If you've been in Karate you know the drill. You just can't tell.
Note: As far as I know this guy is no longer teaching but his students have gone on to open a couple of dojos. While their Aikido is almost certainly not up to my standards, which are not all that lofty, at least the pretty bad part seems to be gone.
I read in another thread about students asking to be graded! Do you really do this?! My sensei told us to never ask about when we would be grading next and if we did they would make us wait longer.
This is all over the map. Some dojos have sign up sheets and encourage the students to test once they have the hours. Some just wing it when the sensei has the urge to test and others are in-between. Having hung around at least one serious winger I've had to not only ask, but cajole, push and plead (threats were on the horizon) to get a test done.