Maybe.I think the basic idea here is to get several opinions and distill what you ultimately like/want/need/whatever. There's always more than one way to skin a cat, and I think most people want to know what the options are, especially as opposed to being told what to do. This is a whole lot more art-leaning than horticultural-leaning. We have artists that want hort advice and hort's that want art advice, and everything in-between. All should be taken with a generous sprinkling of salt...
If someone needs a stated pedigree to add gravitas to their words, then maybe the time spent "earning" that pedigree was wasted?
Of course, it doesn’t matter how good your “art” is if you kill all your trees. Likewise, your trees may be as healthy as can be, but if they all look like a piece of landscape hedging, that’s no good either.
As for being “told what to do”... individualism is an American characteristic. The Japanese are more conformists. I’m speaking in broad generalities, of course. It’s a cultural thing. Japan is a small country, they’ve been crowded together for a long time. They’ve found that conformity is beneficial to their society. America is a much larger place. More space. We all have more space, thus more freedom to “do our own thing” without infringing upon others.
So, here we have Bonsai, a Japanese art form. We Americans, individuals all, trying to perform a conformist art. Some try to understand the Japanese cultural influence of the art, others try to rebel against it.
About learning techniques: the Japanese have learned the horticulture and training techniques over decades and centuries of continued trial and error. These best practices are passed from generation to generation of bonsai artists. They kept all that knowledge to themselves in the past. Now, however, they are accepting students (apprentices) from all over the world. It’s foolish not to take advantage of the knowledge the young apprentices are bringing back home after their years of study in Japan.
Now, I’m not going to say that bonsai can’t be done better than it is in Japan. I don’t know, maybe someone can exceed the Japanese? Using entirely different techniques? I haven’t seen it done yet. Until I have, I will continue to try to emulate the Japanese.