Re: Sport is the new Budo
Maybe I misunderstood the purpose of this thread, but I did have the impression it advocated turning Aikido into sport by introducing competition.
I don't have much experience in Shodokan Aikido, I did train 2-3 times with Bob long time ago, but we were only like 3-4 people on the mats. Training was very basic. I also had the occasion of training a couple times during my travels abroad, and of course watching many footages on youtube and other internet sites. The impression that I had is that Shodokan Aikido was actually a mixture of Judo and Aikido. I never liked the Shiai because I felt it was too artificial (personal opinion) unlike Judo or other arts. It didn't feel realistic at all. We had to start from a fixed position which is uncomfortable to begin with, we had to keep this position until after Uke launches the attack, the distance between the 2 opponents was too close in my opinion.
However, as you said, it is a matter of personal choice to train in traditional Aikido or Shodokan.
I believe that at our dojo we have several exercices which resemble Shiai in a way by their realism and intensity (forgot the Japanese names), but the difference is that there are no points and no losers and winners, and most importantly there are no restrictions on stances and attacks (within reason). They are very interesting and fun, and executed in a very relaxed atmosphere.
But I like to re-emphasise here that I would train in Shodokan again if I had the opportunity, as I would with any other Aikido style, Yoshinkan or Ki or others. I am just not convinced that it presents any advantages over other styles because of the more competitive aspect. But this is strictly my opinion and others might and I'm sure will disagree.