Re: aikido w/o any of the trappings
It works about as long as the group stays that small and no one moves anywhere else. of course the Nidan obviously did go through a ranking system in training and one could think that he just has no interest in growing up and taking on some responsibility for his students.
I have seen something like that before, it lasts for a while, it might last for a good long while if that one teacher stays there. It goes away pretty quickly if that teacher moves on. It's more of a ready made social club for the teacher.
not unlike a parent who wants to be their child's friend rather than a parent.