I really am enjoying the thoughts and discourse that have been in this thread. I have a few I'd like to offer. Many of them were inspired by the posts involving George. Thanks George.
One thought is in regards to who is a 'lineage holder' . The short answer would be me. The long answer is that, in my case, this distinction comes from an experience that occurs between a teacher and a student; energetically from human to human, i.e. 'transmission'. The heir of a lineage may not only be the person who most directly carries the style, form of a lineage. It is a, sometimes, silent relationship in a chain of exchanges. It may be the person who carries the energy, essence, or heart of that teaching. I believe there are examples of people like this in every 'system' I've met. Both technique,spirit, essence.
This is my relationship with Motomichi Anno Sensei of the Shingu Lineage. I have trained extensively with him and it has been an amazing communication of spirit, training, guidance and heart.
I think that it is very hard for most people to understand this. Most have never trained with anyone like Anno Sensei or Saotome Sensei. Even those who have don't necessarily form this type of "lineage" relationship. Peter Goldsbury wrote a great article about not finding ones teacher... and he trained with many of the greats.
For people who have not experienced this type of relationship, Aikido is mostly about the technical. Just look at the crisis many folks have in their training when they run into teachers from outside the art like Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa, V. Vasiliyev, etc. I know a number of students who have simply quit Aikido to pursue training with one of these teachers. It's a simple matter of these folks being able to offer a type of technical instruction that fits with what these individuals want to be able to do.
For those of us who have had this type of relationship, quitting is inconceivable. It's not that I don't train with people who can help me get better any chance I get, I do. But for me its strictly a matter of bringing higher level skills into my Aikido. I listen to a lot of the discussions and I can see that many people just don't understand the art or their place in it the way I do.
Saotome Sensei recently created a group within the ASU of students who were his personal
students. He called it the Ueshiba Juku
after the Founder's first dojo. This was his way of expressing his idea of the transmission, his overt statement that we are lineage holders in the transmission from the Founder to Saotome Sensei, to us, and eventually to our students.
What has been transmitted has been so far beyond mere technique that it would be difficult to express. I think you did as good a job as any could. For us, Aikido as an art can't be separated from all of that, it's totally connected. The idea that one would quit because he had found someone who had better aiki skills, who had explosive power, or who could fight better is incomprehensible. And we are pretty much incomprehensible to them I think. That's why so much discussion is at cross purposes... we have completely different ideas about what the art is and should be. We got our ideas over years and years from our teacher(s). Folks who never had that type of relationship have a hard time understanding why we do what we do.
Anyway, I liked your post very much...