I've studied very little Aikido, but I hope to amend this soon because someone is going to start teaching near where I live in a couple weeks.
Anyway, I figured I'd start to delve into the subject of Aikido more, and try to gain a better understanding of the different styles and organizations. As I half expected, I'm more confused then when I started and I was hoping someone would be kind enough to help me gain a clearer understanding.
So far, I found a website that provides some good information about some of the different styles, particularly from the early days of Aikido. I figure that any legitimate contemporary style can be traced back to the original ones, and all styles must go back to Ueshiba - could I be mistaken somehow?
Is there any information that anyone's willing to provide regarding different styles and their characteristics?
Most of my confusion arises from discovering some of the different organizations.
First, I was wondering if a teacher must be affiliated with an organization in order to be considered legitimate in the Aikido world?
The different organizations I've dug up so far are: USAF, ASU, AAA, and AAI - I'm sure there are more.
Do these organizations generally represent particular styles?
Perhaps someone could provide me with a short list of different organizations, and the styles they represent (if applicable), and if your ambitious, a brief history about when they were established and by whom.
The AAA seems to have fairly strict testing and instructor certification procedures, are all organizations similar in this matter, or do they differ substantially?
Regarding the Hombu dojo, everyone seems to want to follow their guidelines, was this the dojo established by Ueshiba? Is there a website for the Hombu dojo? Is this like the Aikido equivalant of the Kodokan? Are there some styles of Aikido that have no affiliation to the Hombu dojo whatsoever?
What is the history of the development of the Shobu style of Aikido and what are its characteristics?
What are the characteristics of the Aikikai style?
In what way should I address an Aikido teacher - should I call him sensei, or something different?
Are there any good resources on these topics that provide comprehensive and accurate information?
I know that my questions are basic and reveal the depth of my ignorance, but I would sincerely appreciate any responses to one or all of them.
Thanks for your time,