Phillip Kirkan wrote:
Here's something to think about: Ueshiba and most of his top students had experience in other arts prior to training in aikido. Some trained judo, sumo, etc. Ueshiba himself trained in several styles of jujitsu before making aikido. I may be way off here (I've never trained in aikido), but to get to a high level of aikido where it can be applied easily, training in a harder style and experience with fully resisting opponents might be needed.
It's also true that thanks to his stringent entrance requirements, prior to world war 2, Aikido was mainly the province of a relatively small group of people in the upper echelons of Japanese society. When things changed such that anyone walking in the doore could learn it, this allowed for the art to propogate all over the world so that millions of people (including a lot of Aikiweb people) could learn it.
The surest way to kill off a martial art is to keep it secret. Systems have vanished from the face of the Earth because they were kept secret, or worse, not taught at all, and died with their last adherants. It's one thing to crosstrain in a harder system if that's your choice. But I role my eyes at any idea that smacks of restricting the pool of people who can take Aikido. Because that way lies killing off the art.