I was having a discussion with a fellow yudansha after training last night. He seemed a little down and said that the more he trained the more he realised he still had to learn and maybe it was pointless.
This got me thinking about something another aikidoka said to me once.
"At some point you have to become your own teacher."
Now, I think everyone has to be their own teacher at some level through their training. What I'm meaning here is there is a point when perhaps your sensei retires or moves on, or you even outgrow your sensei's teachings and you have to seek answers elsewhere. There seems to be a moment of transition for some people where they need to realise that to truely become comfortable with your own aikido you must look within for answers instead of continually seeking the next best teacher (in other words an external source).
Now, I'm not saying that you give up on good instruction but I think there comes a time when you must ask yourself some tough questions about what it is you are doing in your training.
I started teaching at a High School just over two years ago and during that short amount of time some of the questions the teenagers asked of me I found I couldn't answer (or at least not to a level that I was satisfied with). I had to go away and think about those questions and really pull apart my own training methods and reasons. It has been good for my training and I feel more invigorated than ever. I am quite satisfied by the discoveries.
I know of some cases where people have quit aikido because they didn't make that transition of becoming their own teacher.
What do others think?
I'm just throwing it out there