Edward Karaa wrote:
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.
Not trying to make this thread personal or anything, but did you train in Shodokan with Bob after having a solid grounding in traditional Aikido? The reason I ask is because you echo the sentiments of many traditional Aikidoka who pass through my dojo. What I have found is that the Shodokan training methodology, basic exercises etc. are quite different to the training I have experienced in traditional Aikido also and folks tend to have difficulty adapting, especially if they are only doing a handful of Shodokan classes after having a solid muscle memory pattern developed from long term traditional Aikido practice.
The result of the above is that the traditional newbies and some of the yudansha (the higher the better) from the traditional method tends to fare better in my dojo than someone in the Nikyu-Shodan range, probably because of the still developing muscle memory wrt to the kyu grades and the already well developed muscle memory of the higher yudansha. Because of this these folks at the extremes tend to be able to adapt better because their bodies are either not programmed deeply yet or so well programmed that they can release from the programming and move differently when needed. I have quite a few traditional Aikido yudansha from different countries who come train every so often just to do resistance randori with unfamiliar folks. These are often the ones who welcome the challenge of the unfamiliar or have the confidence in their ability to even attempt a different randori format to their norm, but there are others who are so put off by the difference of certain aspects that they dismiss the entire Shodokan training paradigm (also sometimes to preserve their own egos, which randori has a way of destroying). I've had the latter as well and they did not stay very long.
Just an observation I've made over the years. As said earlier it's a matter of choice.