Re: The MOST important technique?
Yea, I suppose having your own space and ability to train does influence my beliefs somewhat.
Disagree with you Michael? very minor I think!
Anyway, I do see your point, I guess since I have trained in a fairly traditional aikido dojo, and seem to have enough to work on within the sphere of what my instructors are teaching, I have no problem with the dynamic.
To be honest, I'd say that my level of aliveness depends on the abilities of the person I am working with. If I am working with a 6 Dan like Mike Lasky, or Jimmy Sorrentino, I certainly give them more of a fight than I would a brand new white belt.
When I was training with Bob Galeone, there was definitely a strong, strong martial intent. When Jimmy took over the dojo, a slightly different focus, not a bad one...just different (hard to discribe, but Jimmy knows what I mean!).
I think instructors have a responsibility to cultivate a proper atmosphere in a dojo. I think the goals of aikido are very challenging and hard to balance. you have to walk a fine line between conveying the principles and teaching fighting proficiency. A delicate balance.
On one part Aikido can be a healing art. Think of the woman that comes to class that has issues because of years of abuse, do you really want to start her out in a hard core way? She probably should be brought along slowly and gently.
Think of the knucklehead that wants to use anger, agression, and strength....do you really want to reinforce that it pays off to be this way all the time?
Anyway...enough thoughts on that for now!