Dear Professor Goldsbury,
May I ask why you have mixed feelings about his teaching method?
Thanks very much
On the one hand, it is the only systematic attempt to teach footwork without holding a bokken or jo that I have encountered in aikido. It is also a new development, in the sense that when I first encountered Tada Sensei in Hiroshima in the 1980s, he never taught any individual training apart from his renowned sequence of breathing exercises.
On the other hand, the teaching method is very traditional, in the sense that (1) you have to master the exercises by constant repetition until they have been so internalized that you can do them without thinking, and also (2) you yourself have to relate them to aikido waza and the principles that lie behind them. Thus, even Japanese, who have many years experience of aikido, find the exercises difficult to master.
So, last year Tada Sensei himself observed to me that members of 'town dojo' (i.e., not students in university dojo, who practise more intensively), have difficulties with these ashi sabaki exercises. But he never questioned his own role of shihan as 'teacher as model', with only the necessary amount of explanation.