Re: Benefits of the Aikikai
I think I and many people I know feel some ties to local organizations. E.g., my dojo belongs to the USAF, and I feel some connection to the teachers and students I meet at USAF seminars and do feel an interest in decisions the organization makes, care about what I see, etc. It's not a super strong tie but it's certainly there (e.g. if my teacher decided to leave the organization for some reason, I'd like to still go to seminars but beyond that I wouldn't care so much. As long as my teacher kept teaching, my dojo would continue as always and my training would continue as always).
But Aikikai Hombu dojo? That's yet another step removed and basically in my mind if it occurs to me to think of them at all (which is rarely) they feel like they exist as an office somewhere you get certificates from. There are few teachers there I've even heard of, which I know is due to my own lack of research, but still... I don't know, any connection I personally have to it feels pretty abstract and far away. I don't have any objection to belonging to it, and I have a vague sense that networking is nice and it's good to build connections between different people training, but I don't really care one way or the other.