Michael Gallagher wrote:
The "system level" means one should be carefull in how one propgates the system when it is time to teach it to other people. Even if we agree, for the sake of argument, that O Sensei was laboring under a misconception when he banned sparring from Aikido, does this mean we should just put it back in because we want it?
It's not clear sparring as a teaching tool was banned by O Sensei.
Free sparring was not a tool he used, well...; at his times Aikido was an especialization art for Judo and Kendo practitioners, O Sensei students didn't need to learn from him how to use Aikido in an "alive" manner, they had a MA background in arts with sparring (like you with Kali-Jun Fan/JKD). They had enough knowledge to do the "integration" phase by themselves.
Today things are a bit different, there are a lot of Aikido practitioners without previous experience in MA who are unable to understand the technique (even if they can repeat what they see like parrots repeat what they hear) and need a different teaching approach (like people with special needs).
And, btw, i don't know about anyone who is training like in the Kobukan, maybe that's what we should put back (like it or not) because it was "the system".