Thanks again Giancarlo, for taking the time to respond my comments.
The problem I see in martial arts, including both aikido and almost every other art, is that just about anyone or any group can claim to be an "authority" and that claim is never questioned by the majority of the people.
I'd agree with that, which is why lineage is also important, although also no guarantee, then actually giving it a go is your next best indicator. I know that unlike the medical profession, people aren't usually choosing sensei as a matter of life and death. I think the thing that's grating with my analogy is this idea:
- Big Organisation = in safe, professional hands
- Small or unrecognised organisation = quack that will probably get you killed
Sorry, I didn't
intend to push that opinion, although I do think the equivalent of a quack is more likely to go unexposed outside of the collective knowledge bases. I was addressing ranking. I came from a small, unrecognised organisation myself and what I've noticed is:
- Big Organisation = Ranking usually recognised
- Small or unheard of organisation = no one believes your grade until they see you in action or hear something about lineage.
It's superficial, but true. The latter case is sometimes a good thing but some people do practise aikido professionally. You mentioned that you have students of your own. I'm not saying it would be fair if people didn't go to you because you weren't part of a larger organisation, but it would probably happen. It's a cross you would have to bear. It's in this aspect that I think organisations are important for ranking, but ranking isn't the be-all-and-end all and it's no big loss if you don't have the recognition, especially if Aikido is just a hobby. Lineage and ultimately actual skill are more important than rank for most people anyway.
I guess there are already enough threads on the combat effectiveness of aikido. I fall into the camp that believes in it, and this of course affects my opinion on professionalism within aikido too. I'll happily admit that it's not an exact science. Aikido is such a young martial art anyway (albeit with ancient roots). Some of the founder's direct students are still teaching the art and people who were born after Osensei passed away can still get to be his magodeshi
. We're still building the art and we're still trying to understand what Osensei created. I wouldn't write it off as a mere hobby.