Re: Aikido vs....
Jean, I disagree that aikido cannot be understood. Any thing that can be coincidered an "art" constantly evolves with the artist. Skills, concepts, principles, philosophy and motivation are always changing, even daily as the artist changes anything from world view to mood to socks. On the technical side of aikido there are only X techniques that can be applied any number of ways. It is the understanding of how when and where these can be applied that keep you learning. On the philosophical side the evolutions are almost limitless. If you have looked at your O Sensei history book by western Christian views he made sense when he was young but got more than a wee bit senile when his hair turned white. From the Japanese perspective with the Shinto or Omoto Kyo background he made sense. The better one understands the culture the more insights one will have into what was going on in his head. The less one understands the culture the more you will have insights into other areas.
But just because what you know is changing does not mean you lack an understanding of the principles. It is like following an artist throughout life who's passion is drawing apples. When the artist is a child the drawing will be simple and flat but recognizable, as the artis grows and matures he will look back and shake his head at what he used to coincider good and now be drawing with depth and feeling, reflecting what life is giving him at that moment, as he goes into old age he will reminice about how naive he was and his drawing will become simpler but carry much more depth but less fire. At what point did the artist not understand the apple even though he said in his last years that he was just begining to understand the apple in his later years? And if he didn't understand the apple then what had he been drawing his entire life?