Ok - had another read of this article.
Have to say based upon his writing and some film I've seen of him I'm quite a fan of Gakku Homma and would like to practice with him one day.
He's coming to Ireland soon I think but its a bit far for me.
I'm also a big fan of Suwari waza...It doesn't hurt my knees and on a good tatami I can happily practice all day.
I do have bad knees...but this is down to football and they were knackered long before I started aiki.
So I'll point out that Homma Sensei talks about "over practice".
Straight away I'll say this makes the theme of this irrelevant to my dojo and parent organisation..
We have instructors who are also qualified coaches, they are aware of the body and of dangerous practice and we simply don't do shed loads of suwariwaza or hamni handachi waza either.
Occasionally we have a good old session - I know I do and everyone who knows Sensei Bernard Harding - 6th dan (the nimble kneed ninja from neath) knows he'll do it too.
But then we'll leave it out for a while. So you don't get repeated strain on the same area.
Common sense I feel.
We apply the same common sense to anyone with an injury - we have coaches that been taught to modify classes to enable those with disabilities (or whatever the PC term is) to participate so getting the same people to practice standing up is not exactly stretching mental capacity of Instructors.
The culture of Sensei being a god and everyone else desperately trying to emulate them doesn't exist for us.
We don't make anyone sit in Seiza through another’s grading, we sit comfortably, if it’s cold we'll put a top on, whatever, but we are aware of the students needs and still maintain a correct and respectful atmosphere without making anyone suffer.
This application of common sense makes it much harder for anyone to be abused and made to wait in pain for their grading. I'm not denying it may have happened elsewhere the past, although I don't know for sure, but it doesn't happen in the NAF.
Interesting comments on instructors that adapted techniques to cater for injury - Our own Pierre Chassange has a knee injury on one side reputedly from the war, so he tended not to kneel on it, maybe we copied this sometimes too.
I'd suggest it’s a strong argument for constantly looking at everything with beginner’s eyes and not blindly accepting too much.
I can guess who it is, but does that make any difference?. It doesn't to me since if its the person I believe it to be then the many positives of his work far outweigh any negatives or implicit criticisms I feel.
Unless its me then I demand satisfaction Mister Homma
Also interesting comments about uke in partnership. I tend to agree, it’s all partnership if you are working together to unify mind body and ki.
If it’s not partnership and you fight, then it’s just a fight and you develop other skills but for me you don’t develop ki.
Bottom line - I'm a fan of Gakku Homma and also Suwari Waza, Hamni Handachi Waza, Aikido weapons training, Ki development and everything else.
You can practice aikido without suwari waza, without hamni handachi waza or without weapons but in doing so deprive your class of a range of interesting and challenging opportunities.
Moderation is the word! for me anyway....