Independent Aikido Schools

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by Duncan McLeod, Oct 25, 2019.

  1. Duncan McLeod

    Duncan McLeod White Belt

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    Hi there, everyone....
    I am starting this thread in order to get some insight from anyone who would be kind enough to provide it...
    I have heard of Aikido schools that are independent, in the sense that they don't belong under an official "umbrella " like Aikikai....
    So, I was wondering, does anyone know how does this get officially done? I mean, how can you be a legitimately and officially independent Aikido ryu?
    I would like to thank in advance anyone who would take the time to reply...
     
  2. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    as far as i know you can set up an independent school teaching any martial art, as long as you don't claim membership of a body that's just fine.

    the question then is are they any good ? in answer there seems to be a lot of schools who are part of a governing body that are terrible and there seems no reason with out further exploration to assume they are worse
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think any of the ones I've met did anything official. They simply teach their Aikido, without being affiliated with an organization. I attended an interesting one in Florida a couple of months ago, where they had incorporated some decent ground work (one of the instructors has BJJ training), and some other bits. But they still practiced in what I'd consider a traditional Aikido approach.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, my experience with independent schools is they're exactly as reliable as affiliated schools. Meaning, they may or may not be any good.
     
  5. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Easy find a location and start teaching. Easy.
     
  6. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    It is possible that the instructor trained in one of the recognized organizations (aikikai, etc), but due to internal politics decided to leave the organization.
     
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  7. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    I knew a guy who opened an Aki-jutsu school about 20 years ago, then decided to cal it Aikido, and he was never under an organization
     
  8. Duncan McLeod

    Duncan McLeod White Belt

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    Ok, first of all thanks a million each and everyone who took the time to reply to my post, I really appreciate it...
    Every answer is valuable and it provides with a lot of insight...Yet, I still have one more question...Does anyone know how such a thing can be done? Is there any way to be independent, yet recognized by some specific procedure? Does one have to declare his school an independent athletic organisation or is there some more traditional, Japanese (or not) martial arts way...? Once again I thank you all and I'll be waiting for your priceless insight...
     
  9. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    you perhaps need to tell us what your trying to achieve, it sounds like your thinking of setting up a school/

    you either affiliated to a governing body or your not, some of these are very expensive. other than that any requirements are down to local laws, i9f they say you need some sort of registration, then you do, if not, you don't

    there are any number of people running ma clases out of their garage, church hall etc who have no more than put up a few posters.

    the ma way of course is to pay some head honcho a terrific amount of money for a honorary belt and to say you trained under him and then use that for marketing, true or otherwise
     
  10. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    I think Frank nailed it.

    Aikido history is replete with schisms in organizations, instructors coming up, then a difference of opinion about such-&-such comes up which can't get reconciled, and someone goes their own way.

    Is the "new" school/dojo less? Who knows, we'd need to stick our noses physically in and see if they've got some true ability to decide that on a case-by-case basis, I think. Is the new school "official," though? To themselves, I'd say certainly. They can control their own official-ness, if they decide to not associate with any larger association. The problem with that is that unless you've got some magical-ninja talent at advertising (I'm assuming that you're trying to run the thing at least so it doesn't bankrupt yu personally), you may well need to be associated with someone, something, some association or governing body which will lend you their authority (real or perceived). I did this myself when I opened up Wasabi. True to historical form, the main organization I/we were in was the Fugakukai under Sensei Karl Geis (now deceased). But, that organization was going through... drama, which some (most? All?) reported was caused at the very top, though examples varied. In the end, in spite of a martial arts genius behind all the higher-level instruction, the organization fractured. Actually, it sort of collapsed, splintering into its many regional portions.

    This was all going on while I was coming up through kyu grades and into the lower dan grades. At one point, I was learning my Tomiki-ryu from a single-person "organization, in Ray Williams over in Clear Lake. To my nosey point above, the instruction was top-notch, at least I thought so. I was learning cool stuff, and it was working the way it was supposed to the rare times I wanted/needed to do something, so i was content.

    Ray ended up tying up with some similarly-ranked coleagues and forming a nascent organization they called the American Tomiki Aikido Association, which sounds way more formal and organized than we/they were. I wrote up the organization documents for that thing, by the way. It still exists, too. Let me check... hold please.

    Sure thing, here's the FB group page...

    American Tomiki Aikido Association

    AND once again, organization drama reared its head.... and this one nearly died due to dojo-level drama here in Houston. My buddy & I got caught n the backlash, as we were head down on the grindstone working our way through the sandan testing/demo material. It sucked, being accused of "disloyalty," etc etc. It should have been aired on weekday afternoons between 1 pm and 3 pm there was so much soap in the drama.

    Anyway, scroll forward to 2010 and Wasabi opens up. I had an upline of instructors I could reference, like Ray, but no organization to get cred from, so I ended up asking Ray's advice and he suggested that I get in contact with Nick Lowry (now retired) in OKC, at Windsong Dojo. Nich was putting together his own Windsong Martial Society, loosely associating the fractured school who wanted to have the fellowship, group capabilities, and credibility of a larger association. That's what I did. In the WSMS each school is independent, but you can go to other schools and visit, train for a bit, send students to other schools to test (thus getting some feedback on teaching criteria and standards) and so forth. That's been working well.

    So, Wasabi was/is independent... but not. There ya go.
     
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  11. Duncan McLeod

    Duncan McLeod White Belt

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    Alright, thanks a lot guys, you surely gave me a lot of feedback about the way an independent school is perceived and some insight about the politics of the whole thing!!!
    Once again I'd like to thank you all for your time, all of your information and experience is really helpful and valuable!!!
    Domo Arigato!!!!
     

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