Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
Hi Folks, I don't usually come around here, but things to have become interesting of late.
First off, I have to say thanks to Rob for a fun day. Specifically I want to thank him for his instruction in shiko 四股. Shiko is part of my dojo's tradition, but we didn't get the level of detail that Rob provided and had let practice lapse. Now it has been revitalized as a part of our kiso kunren. The rest was interesting too especially the stuff out of Yagyu Shingan ryu.
This all brings me George's post. Aikido is being critiqued from the inside, but it is a silent critique of practice. I happen to be in a line that descends from Takeda through Ueshiba to Shirata and to us. When we look at our curriculum we see several essential elements that we had little or no experience of in previous dojo's and organizations. A partial list would include: basic body conditioning and movement skills (kiso kunren), Daito ryu based (I say based because there are slight diferences e.g. hanmi from publicly available DR materials) kata, a high functioning sword practice that interfaces with and compliments the taijutsu (ours is Shochikubai Kenpo of unknown origin), similar jo practice, incorporation of various modalities of resistance training, and some form of mental/sprititual/psychological training (ours seems to be a syncretic mix of Shinto, Buddhism and yamabushi ideas i.e. Japanese Budo Mix). Anyway, it is a huge amount of stuff to work though and I know that quite a bit of the stuff we do and do to each other would not be tolerated in my former dojo.
So call it a silent critique. Our critique from the inside is to do our thing, look at whatever results we get, and evaluate them against our own criteria and whatever we can ascertain about the criteria in other dojos i.e. feeling it.
All I can conclude is that there was, at least at one time, a fairly complete curriculum in aikido. Maybe there are some nuances and nice tidbits that would be nice to know from sources such as Rob (ever know two martial artists to not talk shop when they get together), but it was all there. I believe that emphatically.
I used to think that O Sensei might not have taught everything, either holding back or leaving out what he thought wasn't important anymore. Well I don't think that any more. He must have, at some point at least, taught it or it wouldn't have survived.
As true victory is victory over the self then it follows that the individual is ultimately responsible for their own training and development. It is up to you to constantly evaluate the quality of your training and your performance in an objective manner and to act on the results of your evaluation -- that being the ultimate critique.