I agree, I call it out-and-out abuse and brutality. I've seen it for many years, in many different Aikido demonstrations and dojo etc. After 25 years of teaching Aikido, I've experienced many different styles and teachers. Abuse perpetrated during the demonstration and teaching of Aikido is rampant, well-known among people who are willing to see it and admit it's existence, and completely unnecessary.
I know it's divisive to say this, because it appears to be a direct attack on either a teacher or a style etc. But there's no way to discuss it openly other than being honest about one's perceptions and experiences. In my experience, a lot of what is called Aikido is simply a demonstration of Aikido techniques, which I've seen a lot of instructors take advantage of to make themselves look powerful etc. In the end, it's the uke who pays, unfortunately, and the many people in Aikido who think they are learning something that they're not necessarily really learning.
I remember talking with Terry Dobson once many years ago, he was saying that he believed that a lot of why he got sick was because of all the hard falls he took all those years at Hombu dojo. He died a while ago.
Of course there are a lot of people who have a different experience. They're lucky.
I have nothing against "hard" Aikido, although it's not my style or preference. But there's a limit to what is acceptable. Nor does "hard" mean effective, in fact often it can defeat it's effectiveness, especially in "real life."
Agreed...I have had way too many injuries over the years taking Ukemi from Demonstrators who wish to polish their "teachnique" showing the aiki-audiance it's 'effectiveness" and they're not honest about it.
They will start out accepting Uke very softly and then "finish" hard. Uke nevers see this coming trusting Nage and ends up on the mat in pain.
Once I had to protect myself during an demo with an Yonshikan/Shodokan style Yudansha as he tried Shionage and partially separated my shoulder with his hard technique. On the second try I had to hit him very hard in the ribs (knocking the wind out of him) to "persuede" him not to hurt me again (also suggesting he was way too open.
). I deeply regret it to this day not because I protected myself but because I got angry and, reacted way too strongly.
I don't mind hard technique... but Nage be he/she be a Yudansha Big Shot or not should be HONEST about it wih UKE.
My Sensei Michael Fowler also fired me a few times in my early days to emphasize that Aikido is not about fighting, or winning, or hurting someone out of proportion to thier attack, especially during practice.