Re: Love to hear your oppinions on this video.
Training is all about imprinting. If you start with chaos you end with chaos. Exercises which teach hesitation, back away, excited emotional state. etc are not what you want to be imprinting.
The use of "aiki" to describe what is happening in these exercises is not how I would use. I often find that folks doing Aikido have little understanding of what "aiki" actually is. It is not avoidance. Many people feel that getting out of the way of the power of an incoming strike is "aiki". I would not consider that to be true. Neutralizing the attack and taking the attacker's center involves "aiki" if done according to certain principles.
The debate about terms is relevant here. I subscribe to the idea that "aiki" is better translated as "joining" than "harmony", at least where we are talking about waza. It involves a method of projecting ones attention and neutralizing that attacker's power at the instant of physical contact. Waza done with "aiki" is largely about moving the mind of the attacker in order to get him to move himself. Technique which is merely operating on a physical basis is simply jiu jutsu rather than aiki.
People need to be very careful about how they design their training exercises because they imprint mental and physical habits with every repetition. As far as I am concerned, the absolute first priority in Aikido work should be physical relaxation and mental calm and projection. The Systema folks accomplish this quite well. They have the lack of any prearranged form which Chris seems to want but they train slow to medium for a very long time. Even the advanced people largely train this way... it keeps the injuries down. Aikido randori practice should also do this if it is done properly.
I'm not criticizing an attempt to develop better practice. I am just pointing out that the exercises used as presented do not necessarily imprint the right things. Students training this way will get very good at avoiding but will not develop high level skills using the principles of "aiki".
The earlier comment about Shu Ha Ri was quite apt, in my opinion.