Ted Ehara wrote:
This situation reminds me of the practice of using family to pass down sword instruction within clans. Just because the father was good at the sword, doesn't mean the son would be. Soon it became standard practice for the samurai to travel around to find the best teachers, since the ones provided by the clans were not always adequate to someone who really wanted to improve.
The legacy of the Chief Instructors are their students. The organizations they left are the medium that they used to develop those students. It's proper that those organizations honor their memories, but you've also got to move on.
Anyone who is really a Chief Instructor will have their own way of doing things. It doesn't matter who they studied with. This is seen in the direct students of the founder. All his students have different styles because they are different people.
Some organizations do not want innovation, they want preservation. Preservation of the status quo. Unfortunately the world is a place of change and those who do not keep up, are left behind.
That's excellent Ted. The Aikikai practice of passing the leadership from father to son is more of a symbolic feature that gives some authority within certain parameters although not absolute. Clearly, there is no intention to force one style to be the only way things are done whereas in the case John Riggs mentioned, the hope is that one style and methodology will be preserved and I think that Ted's comments indicate that trying to do that probably isn't the best idea. I think that the freedom to do it the old way is better than the rule that you must do it the old way because future generations won't have the same loyalties to the dead instructor that those who saw him had (as far as technique goes). I do my techniques like my instructor taught me, I never trained with O Sensei although we all hope they are passing on the best of O Sensei, it will still change as it goes from one person to another.