Re: Aikido Frauds
Personally, I don't have a problem with indepent dojos-I started my aikido in one but switched to the aikikai for the reason I wanted to be affiliated with the founding organization-that's just me. There are many independent dojos and organizations that split off the aikikai at some point. Although I think it is the aikikai's position that they are doing something other than aikido (not going to get into that debate on this thread) there are many that are very legitimate organizations. Why? Well, most of these break off senseis went to high ranks and trained many years before they split off to do their own thing-some with O'Sensei's blessings.
I also don't have a problem with people teaching mixed martial arts as long as they identify it as such and don't make outlandish claims and claims of rank that was self awarded or awarded by some bogus soke organization with no claim to any knowledge of aikido other than reading about it or seen a demonstration one time. Mixed martial arts are a popular thing and a lot of people like to pull in different things. I've done some other arts and when I show my students something that is not directly aikido I tell them where it comes from. I generally put an aikido flavor to whatever I show them but if it did not directly come from my aikido training I let them know.
I think overall this whole thing gives me the ethical heebie jeebies. I know a lot of it is ego and the feeling these guys have that they are better than they are ranked. However, the ethics end of it sucks. To me, it perpetuates a fraud and dishonors the art and the teachers and students who have dedicated years to its study. The unsuspecting public may go through years of training and thousands of dollars seeking training that is sub par or will not allow them to advance or be recognized other than by their own instructor. The publich will look at a "10th dan" and say wow he or she has to be better than the 4th dan or 5th dan because they are higher ranked. They have no way of knowing it is bogus. I know when I first started aikido right around the time of the split with Tohei and the formation of the Ki Society I had no clue there was other aikido out there.