And another PS: After reading more of these posts, a question was posed about the rank of someone who would start their own aikido organization. Would they have no rank? If they were, say, a 3rd or 4th dan, could they promote past their own rank?
In every case where I've known someone who has started up on their own they've said they had no rank. In the case of my first teacher his last awarded grade was 2nd dan (his teacher died). But he awarded grades higher than this by virtue of having begun his own organisation. He never claimed to have been graded higher than nidan, and never hid that he was issuing grades higher than that. One of the difficult questions we had was when advertising seminars we had no way of knowing what grade to put on them because clearly he wasn't a nidan so far as his abilities went. So we just left the grade off, save for one occasion where somehow the rank of 8th dan got put down on a poster - I don't recall why now - only time I heard anyone ask who gave him the 8th dan or question what he was teaching was that particular seminar, and that was because of what had been put on the poster.