Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan
I am truly grateful for the contributions to this thread. It shows a large part of the full diversity of aikido. We have people posting here who have the experience and the right to their differing opinions through the dint of their hard labor, and they express those opinions thoughtfully and respectfully. Moving on...
This issue of collusion is a difficult one. I may catch some heat for this, but I'll go here anyway, because it is a worthwhile issue. Mr. S. used Shioda Sensei as a good example of someone who "surprised" his uke during demonstrations. I agree...but for me, surprising my uke during an aikido demonstration is not always a good thing...and sometimes leads simply to the appearance of brutality that some see when they see Shioda Sensei's demos. An occasional result of these surprises was a trip to a hospital with a concussion. Now there were several factors (from what I understand) that may have gone into this...Shioda Sensei was tiny and quite a bit older than many of his uke, so that may account for some leeway in application. His uke knew full well what his demos were...and they signed up anyway...so they "assumed any risk".
But to say that Shioda Sensei's demos were "real" vs Endo Sensei's demos being "unreal" (as David has noted) is really false. They portray some things in what may be a more real light if you accept a certain paradigm. In other words, no training or demonstration is real in the first place. They simply are based in different abstractions...and we as adherents simply value some abstractions over others. And this is normal and to be expected to a certain extent. After all...any demonstration is "showing a lie to the Emperor"...because (hopefully) at the end, everyone walks away. And in combat, that is a lie.
But in my opinion, to get to grasp the entirety of aikido, we need to expose ourselves to these differing abstractions. We need to peek behind the veils, strip away some of our assumptions, and try to expand our minds, because this opens us up to a whole new world of possibilities. And to my way of thinking, these possibilities are in fact the future of aikido. And what I see in Endo Sensei's demo is one example of reaching for some of those possibilities (even at the expense of some of the martial qualities David and Szcepan speak of).