Extremely well said David.
I think certain things are revealed about our inner selves via the vehicle of testing and chellenging, such as in the drills you gave and others. Imho a well designed test works to deeply examine what is known or seen in order to greater illuminate that which is unknown or unseen. This sort of training forces us to look deeper than our surface facades and what we allow ourselves to (sometimes falsely) believe. When we begin to see deeper and reveal the previously unseen, it may be a good idea to attempt to humbly understand and analyse what is revealed in order to learn and evolve instead of allowing the ego's protective response to reign and sweep things back under the rug or discontinuing the method which has gotten us to this new level of self realisation. Of course, not everyone can deal with self realisation and revelation in the same way. What is illuminating for one can be blinding for another so it is important for the Instructor and the individual to use these tools/drills with skill and in a measured way, based on the particular individual's needs.
I have also experienced in my own dojo what David spoke of regarding the student in his dojo who decided to discontinue training due to issues in other areas that needed addressing. It reminds me of the old adage about not breaking the mirror if you dislike the image, but to instead work on manifesting a better image. Often this marks the difference between the indivdiual who makes a breakthtrough in his/her training and moves to a higher level of understanding of the self through aikido practice and the other who is perpetually repeating form at the same level without any sort of development or insight into self or art.
This returns to the initial point of the thread regarding how one trains for certain types of highly stressful encounters e.g. quick, continuous attacks with intent. Without training the mind and body in a manner that allows it to gradually enter the realm of this sort of stress and experience the effects of low to high stress situations upon the self, then one never truly understands what is lacking, and hence what is required to deal with these situations.
I agree with Charles H. that Aikido is about expanding capabilites. But how does one expand something when one does not first test or check to find the limits of that which one is attempting to expand? It's sort of like learning to swim without ever seeing or touching water imho.
David: I just thought I'd let you know that your earlier posts on this thread regarding the psychological links to responses such as laughter, denial, quitting etc. has really helped me to make my own drills even more targeted and address certain previously unforeseen student needs. It has helped to add a whole new dimension and awareness to the feedback aspect of my teaching approach. Arigato Gozaimasu.
Keep those thoughts coming.
Happy training all.