--- completely off topic --- just my personal story ---
I guess one of the things about me is, I prefer following systems to following individuals. I have loyalties to individuals - but I seem to prefer training with individuals who offer me a path to a system that I can convince myself is "legit."
Thank you very much for these words! They struck me deeply.
You touch, how the way of my own development changed during the last years.
And you touch, how may teaching and the relation to the people who train with me in my classes changed.
When I met Endo Seishiro, I met someone who is teaching his own aikidō. His aikidō is different, he himself refers to it as "strange". And he is known for making clear, that what he does is singular.
Not everybody likes this singularity and this strangeness. Because you can't go and follow his stuff and then come back and integrate it to what you have allways done and what the people in your dōjō at home are allways doing. I ditn't realize immidiately, but only over time: I wasn't longer following a certain system, but was following an individual.
This has consequenses for teaching: "Why do you change our regular way of doing ikkyo?", "Why do you change the footwork?" "Why do you stay in the line of the attack???" And - most important: "Where does this come from?!?!?"
I could not longer refer to what was done by a lot of teachers in our "system".
I could not longer refer to the system of what we do, how we do it and how we will learn it over time. I could only say: "This is what I (individual) understood and brought with me from practicing with Endo sensei (individual)."
I was very lucky - and I am happy - and thankfull in a very deep way that the people praciticing with me in my classes followed this change.
I think a system (whatever that really is) can be important to give safety, confidence, security. But if we ourselve want to become an individual a next step can be to follow another individual, i.e. a teacher.