Asim Hanif wrote:
I've been to seminars taught by Yamada Sensei but I would not consider him my teacher. Suppose I attended 10 Yamada seminars a year, does that change things???
Hope that helps.
Ah, this happens quite a bit. Someone does some seminars and then they magically become this Teacher's student. I have heard of this with Angier Sensei, Dan Inosanto, and others, so it's not just Aikido.
It doesn't matter how many seminars you go to with that teacher until there is a MUTUAL relationship in which the teacher feels he has a responsibility to guide your training. Clint George Sensei told me of a fellow who bills himself as a student of Hikitsuchi Sensei. When this fellow wrote a letter to Hikitsuchi Sensei his response was "who?". The fellow had trained at Shingu for a short while and had decided, in his own mind, that this was his teacher! If you suspect the Teacher in question might have trouble remembering your name, you are not his student in the way that this question is asked. You can be as grateful as you want to this teacher for whatever instruction you received but don't bill yourself as his student.
Just because you train at someone's dojo doesn't make you their student. I am a student of Saotome Sensei. When I moved to Seattle Sensei told me to train with Mary Heiny Sensei. So then I was a student of Saotome Sensei training at Mary Heiny Sensei's dojo. When Mary wanted to promote me to Sandan, I got Saotome Sensei's permission before I accepted. I have trained so much with Ikeda Sensei at this point that I will usually mention him as "one of my main teachers" but that is different in meaning to what is meant when I say Saotome Sensei is my teacher.
It sounds to me as if you don't have anyone who fits this bill. That's fine, just tell people who the main instructors are whom you've trained with and leave it at that. If you have to think about whether someone qualifies as "your Teacher", they aren't.