Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan
I think both sides are right here -- only both sides might be talking about different things. Of the two, I think Mr. S is more on a topic I am likely to agree with. Meaning, yes, there is stuff of many hours of practice and accomplishment here. That is obvious to anyone that also practices many hours subtle training -- meaning, someone of great dedication is going to recognize great dedication (vs. a two years of training MMA dabbler -- to him this would look like total crap, and be of no value whatsoever). However, and this is how I would understand what Mr. S is saying, we are pretty much looking at what can be called an exaggeration of what is martial. That is to say, great skill is here, many hours of practice, etc., but it is being used in an exaggerated sense, and to that degree it is not 100% consistent with what Mr. S is talking about and/or giving value to (which is something I also tend to give value to).
For me, folks have to learn how to look through exaggerations, particularly when it comes to demonstrations. However, one problem that comes with exaggerations is that folks often stop recognizing the exaggeration for what it is -- coming to accept it as objective representation. This is not only a problem for the viewer but also for the person doing the exaggeration him/herself -- as said person often comes to believe his/her own exaggeration.
What I hear Mr. S saying is that if you take away any of the exaggerated elements, particularly uke's own exaggerated elements, the whole exaggeration can be seen for what it is -- an exaggeration, a departure from or an extension of what is real. Sure, there are a few non-exaggerated throws in the demonstration, but this often only works to make the whole thing cloudy. Meaning, those few throws do not make the accusation of exaggeration any less accurate -- only harder to see through.
For example, take the first throw: the uke just circles around nage. Obviously, the martial tactic here is connection and redirection, etc., but the fact that uke goes around nage simply by having his arm touched thusly -- well, that never happens in real life. It cannot happen in real life -- not like that at least, not like that (i.e. that is not how you can get someone to be behind you on the spiral). It is something partial only to certain abstract training environments -- which tend to be very popular in Aikido. It is something happening here for the sake of demonstrating some other principle, etc. -- only, like I said, the problem is that folks often miss this point and expect to see folks running around them just like that when attacked for real and/or they come to believe that that is all one has to do to put an attacker behind them on the spiral, etc. If you look closely, the video is filled with such examples, all similar to the very first throw. I believe this is Mr. S's point of contention. I do not read him to be saying there is no posture or relaxation, etc.