My dojo cho is trying to get me the teaching hours I need for shodan, and I am now teaching one class a week at our dojo with him completely out of the picture (although I have caught him listening in a darkened hallway a couple times to listen in.
We usually chat a few days on the phone after class to discuss how it went, and if I had any questions for him.
A lot of my questions are winding up in the philosophy of style aspect. I have been fortunate enough to train semi regularly with our soke, as well as several shihans. So while we all do the same style of Aikido, each instructor clearly has things he or she prefer to focus on, and certain styles of doing things. So now I am trying to keep my dojo cho's specific style, (He's law enforcement, so we are very heavy on katame waza and always finishing the technique).
My question is, at what point do I start branching out and focusing on my own preferred style of doing the technique? He and I are very similar, naturally, but there are some things that I have noticed I focus on that he doesn't address often. Also he is good at giving me the answers to my questions that force me to think through the question and answer more thoroughly than just, "Do it this way because that's how I was taught to do it." The simplistic answer would be shodan, but that doesn't seem to encompass it enough, although I don't feel it is proper to introduce waza at my level with anything other than, "This is the way I learned this from Sensei/Shihan whomever." At what point is it appropriate to simply do the technique my way without that sort of explanation as to where I am getting my information and why it may or may not differ from how our dojo cho does it?