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I'm returning to Aikido from a ten year layoff inwhich I practiced a traditional Okinawan style karate. I only left Aikido b/c the school I was attending closed. I now have moved and have found a few Aikido dojos none of which are really close but two or three are within an hour drive. The question I have is this what is the difference between a USAF affiliated school and a AAA affiliated school? My old Aikido instructor was a student of Yamada Shihan in NY, so I believe he was affiliated with USAF. I have visited the schools around me and the one I'm leaning towards is AAA affiliated. Is there a significant difference? Is it testing requirements? I'm under the impression that they are both Aikikai style. Anyway I'm excited to get back into Aikido training, I almost can't wait to get to the Dojo on Monday.
They are both aikikai style-whatever that means. Different shihan had or have different ways of teaching and executing technique. You are likely to find considerable differences in how techniques are performed depending on the shihan and when they trained. AAA-will tend to have more of a Ki Society flavor given it's history-Toyoda sensei spent many years in the Ki Society and only returned to the aikikai in I believe 1995. Testing requirements are likely to differ as well based on the shihan. Although it is my impression that most organizations use the aikikai testing requirements as their boilerplate. Dan ranks are awarded through the aikikai from both organizations.