I have not yet had the opportunity to learn from you in person, so I take this time now. I highlighted a part of your statement. I use a word all the time in class "Suikomi" Which if I am not mistaken
means "to lead or to bait" which is a common aikido practice.
My question to you is, Would the forward thinking and not backing up apply to that, or are they two seperate things?
Are you saying "Mentally backing up" and moving forward?
I agree with your statements about the video and am just asking for more of your opinion.
Personally, I don't have more than a smattering of Japanese technical terms, so I pick up descriptive terminology all over the place. The one I like for this is "zoning out" which I got from the Jeet Kun Do folks. It basically refers to the act of increasing space or moving out from the opponent.
I use the term to make a distinction between "backing up" which I take to mean not only backing away or escaping physically, but also mentally retreating. It's a collapse of your energy field, if you will.
"Zoning out" is different in that it does not entail any change in your forward attitude. To have any hope of achieving technique using "aiki", you must have your Mind "inside" the attack. Mentally retreating usually involves a change in focus from the attacker's center to the attack itself. This makes "joining" impossible.
I would highly recommend getting Ushiro Kenji's book:
Ushiro sensei's Book
Also, Ushiro Karate is available on two DVD's in which he explicitly explains this principle.
Ushiro Karate Videos
Also, if anyone's interested, I did a seminar on this topic and it's just been released on DVD. It's called Aikido - The Power of the Mind (Putting Content into Your Technique).
Aikido: The Power of the Mind
Anyway, proper "leading" or "drawing in" in Aikido involves a yin movement with a balancing yang mental projection. In this manner the opponent gets drawn in a bit more than was intentional. That is my primary objection to the exercise in the original video in that it is not really teaching or making the practitioners aware of this principle. "Escaping", while definitely a valuable martial skill in certain situations is not "aiki". It does not result in the joining which the Japanese call "ittai ka" or "single body" which is required for technique to be done with "aiki" principles.