Alex Lawrence wrote:
I've always found Aikido to be very ridgid in it's teaching too, each student basically ends up trying to be a carbon copy of the instructor which breeds a mentality that doesn't really experiment or test but that is quite happy to accept that what's been shown works and leave it at that.
I would say that's very much up to the individual teacher. Students start their aikido by copying, but then they are supposed to develop their own "style", according to their own body, mind and all.
A brilliant example of this teaching is Osensei, whose direct students became more different than one could imagine: Yamaguchi sensei, Nishio sensei, Saito sensei, Tamura sensei - the list goes on. What seems to be significant for Osensei's students is that they became very different, their aikido exploring all kinds of directions.
In my mind, that's one of the many signs of just how outstanding Osensei was as a teacher. A great teacher, Osensei
I feel that a teacher should encourage that - with the advanced students. The beginners do best to copy their teacher, during their initial learning period.