Respectfully, I think people are (again) trying to mask what people like Mike and Dan have said with their own fears and prejudices. It is unfortunate, because this constant reframing of the discussions keeps folks away from the meat of the topic, in my opinion.
I'll just speak for myself, since speaking for others is usually fraught with danger. When I approached Dan in his barn, I was up front about not being interested in fighting. I'm simply not interested in being invincible, in being able to best other people. My life simply does not call for that (thankfully). I wanted to pursue the skills he showed because from what I felt, and from my limited understanding, Aikido is an empty shell without them. It's not that I haven't felt gradients of this power from others...just that Dan displayed openly more of it than just about anyone I can think of.
And I want to do Aikido, not an empty shell. Daito ryu is an empty shell without them. And when I visit a Daito ryu dojo, I want to do Daito ryu, not an empty shell. But more importantly, and Dan stressed this to me personally, I want to be the best person I can be, and I believe that pursuing these skills is part of that path. Dan said to me "I want you to be the best Ron you can be". He spoke of the open heart. He welcomed us into his training space, and while he had to power to destroy if he wanted, instead he set about trying to transform us. To simply be better.
I find that to be very unselfish, not at all about besting us or anyone else. And frankly, I must admit I do resent some of the insinuations, mis-characterizations, and barbs thrown his way.
But if you must foist your own fears and prejudices upon us, well...we can't stop you. Have at it. Enjoy. Look no further, don't go and see for yourself, close the door now.
I really want to stay out of this because I haven't seen anyone getting ahead by jumping into this. I appreciate George Ledyard venturing out once in a while because for any of the senior Aikido practitioners to say much is again, a losing situation but here goes.
Yes, there are misunderstandings. Yes, a couple of people are having fun poking fun and there has been bad behavior but I really don't see what you see. There have been some honest posters with honest disagreements and they have been civil and Mike and Dan have not been as polite in their responses thus evoking some heat. The "come feel these skills group" has not been without fault. I have been lurking and posting here for a while myself and I am not in anyone's "group". I never have been. Here on Aikiweb, we have people who know each other and talk privately and are friends. They are online friends and some just appreciate each others posts. They occasionally take sides on issues and have disagreements but it has been a while since have seen the lines drawn like this. Why all the hoopla? Where did all the commotion come from? Some have said it was because of an "old Guard" being defensive and all kinds of things that apply a pretty broad brush.
These guys may have the goods. They may be really nice guys in person and they may be sincere but there are a lot of things about their approach to helping Aikido that is abit much. Believe it or not, a different approach to all this on the part of those who "know more" probably would have made this all so boring, I never would have heard of them.Maybe we are no good. Maybe we are ignorant but I don't feel like any of my teachers lied to me and if they themselves don't know these skills and that's why they didn't teach me, then I hold nothing against them. I have a tremendous gratitude for my time in Aikido and I have always thought that the people I have met were the greatest on earth. There is a lot of Aikido I know is crummy and I have had friends in styles that I would never do but I would be a real jerk if I went over to their dojos and talked to them with some of the verbiage I have read here. I have never presumed to go and offer to help some of those people. When they have invited me, they have since invited me back and then a cross style communication started and we shared like friends. Many of thier students later came to my dojo with their Sensei's permission and I stayed friends with their Sensei. I hope that the internal skills guys do show everyone the way to improve because it will be a loss for us if they don't but I can't blame anyone for misunderstanding them or not liking they way they came across.