Craig Hocker wrote:
Someone who doesn't have much interest in teaching, but just wants to train likely leaves something out of aikido more than just trappings.
I think there is room for both. Certainly there are advantages to formalized instruction, legitimacy being one of the foremost, but it all comes down to personal choices. If you just want to know the art without the belt system overhead and you are ready to accept the repercussions of not progressing in rank, go for it!
The repercussion that will have the most impact is what will happen if you want to someday switch from being an Aikidoka to being considered a leader in the Profession of Aikido. You will have to basically start over and will be locked out until you legitimize yourself via formal instruction with a recognized sensei. Believe it or not this is a good thing and is healthy for Aikido!
I know that this professional path regarding Aikido is not mine. It is just something I do not want to pursue. Subsequently I walked away from my rank, so to speak, nearly a decade ago. That choice has limited where I can go in the Aikido world and I accept that. Not too bothered by it, really, because that is not where I wanted to go anyway.
My point is that where and how you learn is not as important as the fact that you are learning. From that perspective, I am lead to question the quote I have included here. I was instilled from my earliest days of Aikido that it is the responsibility of all of us to pass on what we have learned to anyone who seeks to know it. Even a person who is in class for his second day has something to offer someone for whom it is their first night! I don't see what can be left behind if someone humbly wants to train and gathers like minded folk to him for that purpose.
On the other hand, if this person wants to pull together a band of followers to satisfy his own ego, then yes, that leaves a lot to be desired…and it is not Aikido!