I like the way George puts this, and I would argue that it is still true today.
For those people who have "no connection" to hombu today, and whose teachers have no connection, you would probably only have to walk back one or two more generations of teachers to get to someone that was an original student of O-Sensei. So even though there is no current interaction, there is still a connection indirectly through the lineage of teachers. I think this is very important and it is disingenuous to disregard it just to make a point.
Of course, the aikikai isn't the only game in town with a connection to O-Sensei, it's just the largest. Being in the aikikai or another well-respected aikido organization (Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.) means that you are part of a lineage and your skills and teaching align (at least a little bit!) with what the rest of the lineage is doing. It's not just paying a bunch of money for a certificate from someone who doesn't care who you are (BTW, my certificates are all beautifully hand-painted - is that not standard?).
If you get an aikido rank from this guy
, you might have a more difficult time convincing people you are legit.
I think there is something really enjoyable about being a part of a lineage and a tradition that has spread all over the world. If you read the original post (or the thread title), I was interested in benefits
, but I guess aikiweb is more interested in complaining this week.