Re: Brawling with a friend
Across the forum, here and many other Martial Art forums, the argument against aikido is almost the same. It is not the problem with the technical repertoire of aikido but mainly with how aikido is trained. Many argued that aikido training lack aliveness.
I would be one of those KIHONOPHILE (TM) aka Kihon/Kata Nut-rider if not for meeting my current aikido teacher a few years ago.
What he did was to cut down on the low percentage moves from the syllabus but retain those higher percentage ones, where we use them repeatedly in jiyu waza and randori fashion. He is from the Yoshinkan lineage and the only Yoshinkan'esque flavour he retain from the old syllabus is the Kihon Dosa. He feels that the Kihon Dosa value lies in teaching student about tai-sabaki.
I have been an uke for my teacher many times, and what he is good at is not his fantastic kihon waza or strong static movement. What is so good about him is his ability to read my intention and energy focus. There are times I tried to resist him, and most times I do not go down on purpose... all he did was just change to something else and redirect my energy.
Aliveness among other thing is the ability to read your partners' intention and movement and react accordingly and kata / kihon is a poor methodology for accomplishing that.
So once again, the criticism about aikido is mainly about our training methodology, not about the art itself. Years ago, I would kill myself before saying such things, how ones' understanding of the art changes as one progresses.