David Orange wrote:
I think these things can be developed in a natural lifestyle without their being experienced as "grueling" if the child is never led away from his natural mode of movement.
This quote was in reference to "...clearly most people never learn such a mode of movement, nor develop their bodies for it. Exercises for this development exist, as Mike Sigman, Robert John, Dan Harding and others have in several cases explicity described, and their practice is gruelling, exactly because the hostile environment I described above (or a vastly more complex superset thereof) is being mentally duplicated and simulated."
Having spent a couple hours with Rob and the Aunkai and a few weeks working on their basic exercises (in addition to some of our own compatible solo work that I'd already been working on) I can say that in my own experience neither the teaching methodolgy nor the skills themselves are natural or intuitive. In the interest of full disclosure, I don't think the skills they're teaching exist anywhere within mainstream Aikido, but they would go a long way towards explaining people's reactions to OSensei should he have picked them or something like them up along his path. (Ellis' blog over on AJ about solo spear work is a good related read). It was also obvious how the skills/abilities that they're working on would be immediately applicable to ones Aikido in a very beneficial way.