Re: The House of Pain
Great column - and not just for the subculture of aikido. The ethics of human interaction don't change when we enter the tatami. Mutual responsibility remains.
There's a lot of pain in aikido. More than other martial artists are aware of until they try it. We get used to it, up to a point. Beyond that point is excessive violence, which should never be allowed anywhere. Injury is always beyond that point, although it's often accidental. It raises the need of reform.
Unfortunately, I've seen many aikido practitioners - several of them high-grade teachers - who allow themselves recklessness, sometimes even seeking it willingly. Their uke is not a training partner, but a victim. I see no excuse for it, and I don't see how that can be of benefit for all of us progressing in aikido.
I think of Osensei's rules for training, where he states: "Never force anything unnaturally or unreasonably. If this rule is followed, then even elderly people will not hurt themselves and they can train in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere."
Anything else is not civilized, and definitely not aikido.
That doesn't mean we move around on the tatami like in a porcelain store, nor do we treat each other as delicately as we would nitroglycerin. Training strains the body as well as the mind. But it's for the purpose of mutual benefit. Excessive violence just means that one practitioner stopped caring about the other. If this becomes mutual, aikido will soon be extinct.