It is great to see you participating on Aiki Web, and continuing your personal quest for excellence in Aiki. It has been years since we trained at Frank McGouirk Sensei's dojo. As far as I can see, you are achieving your goal of pursuing the Aikido ideal in your own fashion, as well as most of the others I know. This is the message I have been attempting to convey, one I believe in fully, and consistent with the Founder's oft stated wish and admonition to all his direct students.
I have never advocated, nor ever championed any logic behind placing Aikikai's version of Aikido training, historical legitimacy, and pre-eminent identity with the Founder's mission and purpose as being necessary or even realistic. Their's is but one of many legitimate and critically vital attempts for the entire Aikido membership to continuously research, develop, enhance and make more clear and accessible, the Founder's Aiki, and his Aikido to the current generation, and to future ones as well.
Yes, I have continually been identified with Aikikai Foundation, due to my special relationships with the Ueshibas, Osawa Sensei, Fujita Sensei, and other direct students of O Sensei. I have never advocated that the aikido sponsored and taught by Hombu Dojo, both Doshus, and the full spate of uchideshi instructors over time, is, or has ever been intended to be the blueprint or even the best template for all others to follow. I have repeatedly echoed the Founder's admonition that we should all develop our own aikido, from whatever resource we choose, and I will never cease doing so.
When I speak of aligning one's training with "the teachings, techniques and unique philosophy" of the Founder, I meant it as a starting point, for isn't this where any legitimate study of his creation would begin. From there, I recognize no restrictions on anyone to seek out and incorporate teachings, techniques and unique philosophies of other masters of their own choosing, to either augment, to replace in part, or even to reconstruct the entirety of their programming. This said, there should also not be any demeaning or disrespectful rhetoric and slander against those who choose to stay true to the Aikikai Hombu agenda, or to base their foundational authenticity on such a provenance and association. We must find ways to emphasize those aspects we all have in common, and not dwell on those negatives, primarily false, that strive to keep us at odds, and quibbling over dubious definitions and useless delusions of entitlement.
I do believe, as do other significant leaders, that true leadership and paradigm shifting efforts will come from the West. Being an American, I am biased towards the immense talent pool and proven capabilities we have home grown over the decades.