Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?
Hello everyone, this is my first contribution.
When I started aikido, a dan grade said to me "If you want to know what aikido is all about, ask a blue belt!"
More practically, like what (I think) Ledyard Sensei said in an interview - about moving someone's mind in order to move their body. This isn't a definition, but I sometimes find that philosophically-loaded technical points are more enlightening.
For me, I like how the techniques have opportunities where you COULD do something quite nasty, usually an atemi, but you don't, and the end result leaves both partners buzzing and unharmed. Naturally, in a live situation, you might not feel that you "have your partners mind" to the extent that you don't have to hurt him, but the fact that we physically train this ideal strikes me as beautiful and possibly unique. The rough stuff's fun too, but lets face it, making the loving-protection stuff work on a committed uke is more difficult, and perhaps a defining quality of aikido.