Re: Aikido vs....
I understand your frustration with such discussions but I think the approach you're taking in your response is flawed.
I didn't plan on responding...but, I see where the thread went off, and I don't think it's necessary to respond to the last post (I figure I went off track responding to the first one).
The above quote is where your entrance in the thread began, so, I'll respond where I got off track...
Would you agree that a MA is a group of techniques that demonstrate principles. If you understand those principles, can you apply them in a way that may appear to be outside the technical realm of that art? If so, and Aikido exercises all principles, wouldn't it be accurate to say that Aikido encompasses all techniques?
Regarding the 20yr vs. 2yr practitioner: I think the only relevant conclusion you can make from an example like that is the method of training might be poor...but there's still no way to make conclusions about the art as it represents principles.
Finally, you say that (I think in the last post, but I think the idea was interesting) you can't sit at a desk and make up an art without testing it and say it's the most effective.
I think you're right, in a sense. It'd be falling into the same trap I fell into that you pointed out: That you can't prove it.
However, I think all of what we call "physical laws" are theories that have proven everytime to be true...unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure that they'll hold true everytime...we just take a leap of faith...that's what I do with Aikido.
The principles have held true on occasions I've experienced. The folks who have followed the path before me say that they were still coming to understand after decades of training. For me, that's empirical data being used to make general conclusions.