Rich Stephens wrote:
A democratic Aikido dojo is also an interesting concept. If you have removed something as fundamental as the sensei - student, sempai - kohai relationships, is there anything still Japanese about your practice? Or has it been completely stripped of its origin and Americanized?
What sometimes is considered Japanese practice often bewilders the Japanese. Often the idea of student-teacher, junior-senior isn't so much expressed as is. The idea of a group training togeather led by someone only because they know a little more is actually quite common here. One needs only look so far as many university clubs and even my own.
Our group is very democratic even to the point of students coming up and asking to work on specific things during class. Depending on the person I get Peter, Peter-san or Peter-sensei, makes no never mind.
No need to be more Japanese than the Japanese.