David, beautiful reply as always, but I'm afraid you're guilty of thinking I'm bright enough to explain myself correctly
. My question should have read - if someone never practices any physical aikido, can you claim they ever have done aikido? Being a rather simple person, this is how I read the thrust of the poll so amount/type/effectiveness of physical practice then happily falls out of the picture and prevents me getting confused again.
Thanks for replying.
You are right on target with what I'm asking, actually. I understand that we may want to keep amount, type, and effectiveness out of the picture, or beyond question, but my mind is wondering on what basis shall we justify their exemption when it comes to explaining ourselves when we are saying that training in waza is vital to something qualifying as Aikido. I think if we can answer that question we are going to get one thing at the cost of the other. Specifically, I think we are only going to be able to say that these things are irrelevant to the issues at hand if we reduce Aikido training to some very mundane and superficial elements. Alternately, from the other side of the same coin, it is going to be logically impossible for Aikido to claim spiritual aspirations at the same time that it wishes to say if you do not practice waza (i.e. train the body, be of the body) you are not doing Aikido.
Of course, many folks have their way out of this pickle. They say or lean toward the position that Aikido should have no spiritual aspiration or that said spiritual aspirations are not necessary for Aikido to be Aikido - but from my perspective this too is just another reduction. If we look at the Founder's practice, using it here since most folks here are more familiar with it than we are with each others' practice, we can see that he sought not to reduce the art via either of these two options, and thus that it is possible to have a different kind of Aikido that does not all open itself to either of these reductions and/or to what these reductions often try to fight against (e.g. being flaky, self-deluded, etc.). As Chris pointed out, in his main writings, Osensei never makes a reference to anything remotely close to either of these two reductions (which is why I call them reductions and not just "positions"). In fact, he is always suggesting otherwise. I'm not stating this because I'm saying "Osensei said." I'm saying this because, as I just said, it demonstrates that there is another possibility here. With that other possibility, the "obviousness" of the two reductions just isn't so obvious anymore.